Isometric HG (handgrip) training lowers resting arterial BP (blood pressure), yet the mechanisms are elusive. In the present study, we investigated improved systemic endothelial function as a mechanism of arterial BP modification following isometric HG training in normotensive individuals. This study employed a within-subject repeated measures design primarily to assess improvements in BA FMD (brachial artery flow-mediated dilation; an index of endothelium-dependent vasodilation), with the non-exercising limb acting as an internal control. Eleven subjects performed four 2-min unilateral isometric HG contractions at 30% of maximal effort, three times per week for 8 weeks. Pre-, mid- and post-training resting ABP and BA FMD (exercised arm and non-exercised arm) were measured via automated brachial oscillometry and ultrasound respectively. BA FMD (normalized to the peak shear rate experienced in response to the reactive hyperaemic stimulus) remained unchanged [exercised arm, 0.029±0.003 to 0.026±0.003 to 0.029±0.004%/s−1 (pre- to mid- to post-training respectively); non-exercised arm, 0.023±0.003 to 0.023±0.003 to 0.024±0.003%/s−1 (pre- to mid- to post-training respectively); P=0.22]. In conclusion, improved systemic endothelial function is unlikely to be responsible for lowering arterial BP in this population.

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