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  1. #1
    Registered User Uncle Peppi's Avatar
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    Weight Lifting and High Blood Pressure

    Not sure this is the most appropriate forum, but I figured it's the closest to it.

    I'm a medical student and today we learned something a bit controversial. Apparently weight lifting can cause long-term hypertension. The mechanism is that transient increases in blood pressure during weight training can cause hypertrophy of vasculature over time, which increases resistance, and causes hypertension.

    I flat out did not buy it and I actually got into a little bit of a debate with the professor. I finally got him to concede that there is no data supporting this and that it takes isometric weight training to do it (which means you don't actually move the weights through the air, but rather, they are stationary - sort of like if you were to push against a wall).

    My question is, have any of you noticed any increases in your blood pressure after you began lifting weights?

    Does anyone actually do isometric weight training?
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  2. #2
    Bob Wills wannabe cowboyathlete's Avatar
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    There are two other things going on that may support hypertension and weightlifting as I see it.

    1. A huge number of supplements - ephedrine is at the top of the list - can spike blood pressure.

    2. Many bodybuilders probably do not get enough aerobic/cardio training, which could help lower blood pressure.
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  3. #3
    Registered User dirtpool's Avatar
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    I know my face gets really flushed and I'm warm all the time, + I had a killer headache today...I don't know if that's an indication of high blood pressure is it?
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  4. #4
    Registered User LatissimusDorsi's Avatar
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    Yes my BP is higher than it should be. It's more related to lack of aerobic exercise... anaerobic doesn't do much for BP :-/
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  5. #5
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    I have borderline high BP. I have been vistiting a heart and kidney specialist every summer since 17 years old. I am the only bodybuilder type he has ever dealt with. From what he and I have noticed my BP has been high even before bodybuiliding became a big part of my life. Obviously this is from genetics as my dad and grandpa dealt with high BP in there early twenties.

    Anaerobic exercise has not shown to increase BP in the long term but studies have correlated high BP and artery stress with max effort type of lifts. It was recommended by my doctor to never do max effort (1RM) lifts. Even going lower than 5 reps or so is potentially dangerous. Proper breathing is a valuble part also. Holding your breath while lifting can cause even more strain on blood vessels as this spikes BP even higher.

    Aerobic exercise if really recommended for treating BP. And as another post said this could be why BP in bodybuilders is high, because during bulking phases cardio is usually left out.
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  6. #6
    Registered User unclejeff's Avatar
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    my blood pressure ranges from normal to slightly high. i have no idea if it is from lifting or not.

    fyi: during lifting and immediately after lifting your bp will actually be lower because your muscles will be engorged with blood as opposed to your arteries.


    ^^^
    this is to the guy that says low rep range will increase your bp.
    Last edited by unclejeff; 09-26-2006 at 11:53 PM.
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  7. #7
    Registered User colubrid's Avatar
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    I have had high blood pressure for years. When I saw a cardiolagist last year and asked him if it would be ok to start lifting weights, he said "go for it". Since I have started lifting there has been no change in my blood presure for whatever thats worth.
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  8. #8
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    Originally Posted by unclejeff
    my blood pressure ranges from normal to slightly high. i have no idea if it is from lifting or not.

    fyi: during lifting and immediately after lifting your bp will actually be lower because your muscles will be engorged with blood as opposed to your arteries.


    ^^^
    this is to the guy that says low rep range will increase your bp.
    I think he means the effort that you actually put in creates stress in your body + behind your eyes and not the position of the blood itself.
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  9. #9
    wow strong MCAT tweaked17's Avatar
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    mine has gone down.
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  10. #10
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    If you work out regularly, eat right, don't carry a lot of body fat, then I wouldn't worry about an elevated blood pressure reading. Its not an exact science anyways.

    People that work out live longer, so if working out causes high blood pressure, so be it.
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  11. #11
    wow strong MCAT tweaked17's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by IraHays
    If you work out regularly, eat right, don't carry a lot of body fat, then I wouldn't worry about an elevated blood pressure reading. Its not an exact science anyways.

    People that work out live longer, so if working out causes high blood pressure, so be it.
    you're pretty anti-modern-medicine aren't you?
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  12. #12
    Goodbye CC IraHays's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tweaked17
    you're pretty anti-modern-medicine aren't you?
    haha, no just certain things. If I ever got in a bad car accident there is no place I would rather be then right here in America.

    My problem is with drug companies and doctors pushing all these pills that do more harm then good.
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    I have been on blood pressure medication for several years. I try to lift as heavy as I can tolerate, and rotate through light, medium and heavy days, sometimes to failure. I also do aerobic exercises and yoga. Can't do the yoga well, but that's a flexibility story.

    Over the years, the combination of medication and exercise has lowered my bp and resting heart rate. In fact, if I take more than a week off from exercising, my bp will creep up a few points.

    The exercise I don't do is anything on the decline, such as decline bench press, as the blood rushes to my head and increases my bp too much. I do hyperextensions on the hyperextension bench, and decline crunches on the decline bench, but that's about it.

    Yes, lifting and cardio increase your bp temporarily at the time of exercise, but as long as it comes down quickly, one is not overdoing it. For someone with severe uncontrolled hypertension, I would suggest supervised exercise with a slower progression. But as a way of lowering hypertension over the long run, you can't beat exercise.

    Flushing of the face during exercise is not indicative of high blood pressure. That is simply the capilliaries near the surface filling with blood.
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  14. #14
    Registered User unclejeff's Avatar
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    i just palpated my systolic blood pressure directly after leg training and it was 98. keep in mind that my normal systolic number is never below 120.
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    Registered User Struct09's Avatar
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    My blood pressure is lower since I started lifting, I had it checked recently.

    98/62
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    Registered User SuperbHerb's Avatar
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    My Blood pressure a year ago was around 150/88

    I completed Insanity last year and my blood pressure was 145/85

    Since I started lifting weights compound movements squat deadlifts OHP, Bench. for about 12 weeks now. cardio after work outs,

    and on off days. 3 mile run.

    I had a doctor appointment on sat and my blood pressure is now 110/75 it has been that way for the last 3 visits to my doctors.

    Whey Protein is the only supplement I take.
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