Sylvie M. Gray1, Amanda M. Cuomo1, Miranda K. Traylor1, Ethan C. Hill2, Joshua L. Keller1. 1University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL. 2University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL.

Background. Resistance training with blood flow restriction (RT+BFR) has emerged as a relevant and popular exercise prescription in nearly all populations engaging in physical activity (e.g., athletic, clinical, older, etc.). However, there is limited data related to the influence of various cuff pressures on the exercise pressor reflex (EPR) and resulting blood pressure (BP) increase, especially in women who have previously been excluded from several prominent lines of biomedical research. Therefore, our purpose was to investigate the cuff pressure- and sex-specific hemodynamic responses to RT+BFR. Methods. 33 healthy college-aged (24 ± 6 yrs) adults (16 male, 17 female) completed 2 randomized, experimental visits. These were randomized such that one day the participants completed the RT+BFR with 40% of the minimum pressure to occlude each femoral artery (AOP), whereas the other day participants exercised with 60% AOP. The exercise consisted of 4 sets (1x30, 3x15) of bilateral leg extension with a load corresponding to 30% of each respective one-repetition maximum (1RM). Following each set, heart rate (HR) was recorded, whereas BP was recorded only at baseline and after the last set. Percent change from baseline was calculated for HR and BP. Two, mixed-factorial ANOVAs were performed to examine mean differences in percent change of mean arterial pressure (MAP) and HR. Results. The mixed-factorial ANOVA for MAP indicated that there was no Sex × Cuff Pressure interaction (p=0.480) or main effect for Sex (p=0.481), but there was a main effect for Cuff Pressure (p=0.028). The 60% AOP provoked a significantly greater percent increase than 40% AOP (23.2 ± 11.5% vs. 17.4 ± 10.9; Δ=5.8%, CI95%= 6.5 - 11.0). For HR, there was no significant (p>0.05) interaction or main effects, but every value was positive suggesting HR increased indiscriminately across the exercise bout. Conclusions. Our results indicated that an acute bout of RT+BFR likely elicited an augmented EPR such that the typically observed sex difference in increase of MAP was not observed. That is, men and women increased MAP to a similar extent in response to RT+BFR with a cuff pressure of 40% and 60% AOP. Thus, prescribing a cuff pressure on the basis of sex is likely not needed based on the current findings. Also, our results may be useful to clinicians concerned with an augmented EPR such that 40% AOP may be the safest in terms of BP.

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