Objective We aimed to compare the efficacy of isometric exercise training (IET) versus high-intensity interval training (HIIT) in the management of resting blood pressure (BP).
Design Systematic review and meta-analysis.
Data sources PubMed (MEDLINE), the Cochrane library and SPORTDiscus were systematically searched.
Eligibility criteria Randomised controlled trials published between 1 January 2000 and 1 September 2020. Research trials reporting the effects of IET or HIIT on resting BP following a short-term intervention (2–12 weeks).
Results 38 studies were analysed (18 IET and 20 HIIT), including 1583 (672 IET and 911 HIIT) participants, of which 612 (268 IET and 344 HIIT) were controls.
IET produced significantly greater reductions in resting BP compared with HIIT with systolic, diastolic and mean BP effect sizes of 8.50 mm Hg vs 2.86 mm Hg (Q=17.10, p<0.001), 4.07 mm Hg vs 2.48 mm Hg (Q=4.71, p=0.03) and 6.46 mm Hg vs 3.15 mm Hg (Q=4.21, p=0.04) respectively. However, HIIT reduced resting heart rate significantly more than IET (3.17bpm vs 1.34bpm, Q=7.63, p=0.006).
Conclusion While both modes are efficacious, IET appears to be the superior mode of exercise in the management of resting BP. However, HIIT may achieve wider physiological benefits, with greater reductions in resting heart rate.
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Contributors JE, ADC and JO’D contributed to the conception and design of the study. JE and ADC contributed equally to this work. JE, ADC and JO’D contributed to the development of the search strategy. JE and ADC conducted the systematic review. JE, ADC and JO’D completed the acquisition of data. JE, ADC, JD and JO’D performed the data analysis. All authors assisted with the interpretation. JE and JO’D were the principal writers of the manuscript. All authors contributed to the drafting and revision of the final article. All authors approved the final submitted version of the manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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