Twenty novice male weight lifters performed resistance exercises using three different breathing techniques to determine the effects on blood pressure. Systolic and diastolic blood pressures were measured by an automated non-invasive method while subjects performed the single arm curl and double knee extension using the different breathing techniques. Performing the Valsalva manoeuvre (breath-holding) during either the single arm curl or double knee extension produced the highest blood pressure responses. Inhaling during the concentric phase of the exercise was associated with blood pressure elevations that were similar to the elevations observed with exhaling during the concentric phase. The heart rate response was slightly higher with inhalation. These results suggest that performing the Valsalva manoeuvre exaggerates the blood pressure response to resistance exercise. In addition, coupling inhalation with the concentric phase of the lift offers no cardiovascular advantage over coupling exhalation with the concentric phase of the lift.
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