Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Health and Kinesiology


Health, Exercise Science, and Recreation Management

First Advisor

Jeremy Loenneke

Second Advisor

Todd Smitherman

Third Advisor

Mark J. Loftin


The muscular response to low-load resistance exercise in combination with blood flow restriction (BFR) is well studied but less was known about the cardiovascular response. It was also unknown what impact resistance exercise at 15% 1RM with or without BFR would have on the acute and chronic cardiovascular adaptations and how that compared to high load resistance exercise. Examining the perceptual responses across a training program is also important as this may dictate overall compliance to an exercise protocol. The purpose of this study was to determine the acute and chronic cardiovascular changes following very low-load (15% 1RM) resistance exercise with or without BFR and how it compares to high load (70% 1RM) resistance exercise.

Acute: An interaction occurred for systolic blood pressure. 15/0 [Pre-Post Δ: 19 (10) mmHg], 15/40 [Pre-Post Δ: 16 (12) mmHg], and 70/0 [Pre-Post Δ: 18 (12) mmHg] were higher compared to 15/80 [Pre-Post Δ: 5 (10) mmHg] post exercise. All conditions increased similarly from pre-post [overall average change of 3 (6) mmHg] for diastolic blood pressure and heart rate [overall average change 15 (10) bpm]. Only 15/0 [Pre-Post Δ: 4.5 (-1.4, 8.2) ml˙min-1] and 15/40 [Pre-Post Δ: 2.7 (0.29, 6.6) ml˙min-1] increased blood flow.

Chronic: There was an interaction for calf blood flow. 15/80 [0.613 (0.232, 0.995) ml per 100 ml-1 min-1] and 70/0 [0.544 (0.162, 0.926) ml per 100 ml-1 min-1] increased following 8 weeks of training. Further, 15/80 [7.9 (3.4, 12.3) flow *10 2 mmHg] and 70/0 [7.2 (2.7, 11.7)] increased calf vascular conductance. Calf venous compliance did not change. An interaction occurred for RPE. Condition 15/40 [-1.4 (-2.3, -0.431)] decreased from Visit 1-16. There was an interaction for discomfort where 15/80 [-0.479 (-1.3, 0.304)] did not observe any changes over time while all other conditions decreased. The current findings suggest that lifting a very low-load with a high pressure attenuated blood flow acutely, but long term produced similar adaptations compared to high load exercise; albeit with greater discomfort. Very low-load exercise with and without moderate BFR increased blood flow acutely but did not produce long term changes in the cardiovascular measurements.

Available for download on Thursday, July 23, 2020

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