JOURNAL ARTICLE

Isometric handgrip training reduces arterial pressure at rest without changes in sympathetic nerve activity

C A Ray, D I Carrasco
American Journal of Physiology. Heart and Circulatory Physiology 2000, 279 (1): H245-9
10899063
The purpose of this study was to determine whether isometric handgrip (IHG) training reduces arterial pressure and whether reductions in muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) mediate this drop in arterial pressure. Normotensive subjects were assigned to training (n = 9), sham training (n = 7), or control (n = 8) groups. The training protocol consisted of four 3-min bouts of IHG exercise at 30% of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) separated by 5-min rest periods. Training was performed four times per week for 5 wk. Subjects' resting arterial pressure and heart rate were measured three times on 3 consecutive days before and after training, with resting MSNA (peroneal nerve) recorded on the third day. Additionally, subjects performed IHG exercise at 30% of MVC to fatigue followed by muscle ischemia. In the trained group, resting diastolic (67 +/- 1 to 62 +/- 1 mmHg) and mean arterial pressure (86 +/- 1 to 82 +/- 1 mmHg) significantly decreased, whereas systolic arterial pressure (116 +/- 3 to 113 +/- 2 mmHg), heart rate (67 +/- 4 to 66 +/- 4 beats/min), and MSNA (14 +/- 2 to 15 +/- 2 bursts/min) did not significantly change following training. MSNA and cardiovascular responses to exercise and postexercise muscle ischemia were unchanged by training. There were no significant changes in any variables for the sham training and control groups. The results indicate that IHG training is an effective nonpharmacological intervention in lowering arterial pressure.

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