Objectives The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether arterial stiffness was different in aerobically trained elite athletes than in anaerobic/resistance trained elite athletes. The cohort comprised 36 healthy male volunteers, aged 17 to 32 years. All subjects were basketball players (n = 10), weight lifters (n = 11) or sedentary controls (n = 15).
Methods The Pulse Trace System (Micro Medical Ltd., Rochester, UK) was used to record central and peripheral arterial stiffness. Echocardiographic images were taken by the use of a commercially available machine (Vivid 7 GE-Vingmed, Horten, Norway) with a 2.5 MHz transducer.
Results Aortic elastic properties derived from echocardiographic measurements did not differ between the groups (p > 0.05). Pulse wave velocity measurements reflected significantly lower values both in the basketball players and weight lifters compared to controls (p < 0.001–0.05). No significant differences were found between the basketball players and weight lifters (p > 0.05).
Conclusions Many studies found increased central arterial stiffness in athletes performing chronic resistance exercise when compared to aerobic exercise (Miyachi et al. 2004; Cortez-Cooper et al. 2005; Kawano et al. 2006). Our study did not show any increased arterial stiffness in weightlifters. On the contrary, we found reduced stiffness. The reduction was not statistically significant and it was lower compared to basketball players. The aortic stiffness index of weightlifters was the same as sedentary controls unlike basketball players. These results show that arterial stiffness may be affected independently from cardiac parameters as reported in literature. Moreover, this may be caused by aerobic exercise that is part of the training programme of weightlifters. Different from the existing knowledge, arterial stiffness of athletes that perform more resistance exercise such as weightlifters, improved significantly.
Acknowledgements We would like to thank Erciyes University Scientific Research Project unit for their financial support for this study (TSA-08-467).
Miyachi M, Kawano H, Sugawara J, Takahashi K, Hayashi K, Yamazaki K, Tabata I, Tanaka H2004. Unfavourable effects of resistance training on central arterial compliance: a randomised intervention study. Circulation, 110:2858–63.
Cortez-Cooper MY, DeVan AE, Anton MM, Farrar RP, Beckwith KA, Todd JS, Tanaka H2005. Effects of high intensity resistance training on arterial stiffness and wave reflection in women. Am J Hypertens, 18(7):930–4.
Kawano H, Tanaka H, Miyachi M2006. Resistance training and arterial compliance: keeping the benefits while minimising the stiffening. Journal of Hypertension, 24(9):1753–9.
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