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Cardiovascular stress reactivity tasks successfully predict the hypotensive response of isometric handgrip training in hypertensives


  • The IHG dynamometers used in this study were donated by Zona Health (Boise, ID). This work was supported by the University of Windsor (Grant # 808316; CLM), a Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Postdoctoral Fellowship (PJM), and an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (MBB).

Address correspondence to: Mark B. Badrov, MHK, Department of Kinesiology, University of Windsor, 401 Sunset Avenue, Windsor, Ontario, N9B 3P4, Canada. E-mail:


This study aimed to determine whether: (a) isometric handgrip (IHG) training lowers resting blood pressure (BP), (b) cardiovascular reactivity to a serial subtraction (SST), IHG (IHGT), and cold pressor (CPT) task predicts this hypotensive response, and (c) cardiovascular reactivity is attenuated posttraining. Resting BP and cardiovascular reactivity to a SST, IHGT, and CPT were measured in 24 hypertensives (51–74 years) before and after 10 weeks of IHG training (n = 12) or control (n = 12). IHG training lowered resting BP (Δ8/5 mmHg), whereby the decrease in systolic BP was correlated to pretraining systolic BP reactivity to the SST (r = −.85) and IHGT (r = −.79; all ps < .01), but not the CPT (r = .34; p > .01). Furthermore, following IHG training, systolic BP reactivity to the SST (Δ7 mmHg) and IHGT (Δ8 mmHg) was reduced (all ps < .01). The results offer promising implications for hypertensives and may provide a tool to identify IHG training responders.