Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Health and Kinesiology

First Advisor

Jeremy Loenneke

Second Advisor

Mathew B. Jessee

Third Advisor

Paul D. Loprinzi


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



Purpose: To investigate the effects of high intensity exercise and low intensity exercise with and without blood flow restriction on changes in blood pressure and discomfort.

Methods: 179 participants (18-35 years) were randomly assigned to one of four groups. The control group (CON, n=44) only completed the two testing sessions. The training groups completed only one of the following conditions: 1) 4 sets of a two-minute contractions at 30% maximal voluntary contraction (LI, n=47); 2) 4 sets of a two-minute contractions at 30% maximal voluntary contraction with a 12cm cuff inflated to 50% of arterial occlusion pressure (LI + BFR, n =41); or 3) 4 maximal contractions lasting 5 seconds (MAX, n=47). All training groups had 1-minute rests. The training protocol lasted 6 weeks (18 sessions). A Bayesian ANCOVA was used to detect changes in systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP). A 3x3 (group by time) Bayesian repeated measures ANOVA was used to analyze changes in discomfort ratings from pre to post training. Pre-values of blood pressure was used as the covariate and data were presented as means (SD).

Results: There was no evidence that handgrip exercise changed SBP (BF10: 0.066) or DBP (BF10: 0.057). Pre-post change scores for SBP were 1.1 (6.7), 0.7 (5.8), -0.4 (6.5), and -0.9 (6.3) mmHg for CON, LI, LI + BFR, and MAX, respectively. DBP change scores were 1.5 (6.6), 1.5 (7), -0.7 (5.9), and 0.3 (6.3) mmHg for CON, LI, LI + BFR, and MAX, respectively. The change in discomfort from pre to post was greater in the Standard of care (BF10=6952.769) and BFR (BF10=404.996) compared to Max group. There was no difference between Standard of care and BFR (BF10=0.241). The change in discomfort was -1.7 (1.7), -1.5 (1.9), and 0.04 (1.5) arbitrary units for LI, LI + BFR, and MAX, respectively.

Conclusions: Isometric exercise with or without BFR did not lower blood pressure. Despite the greater discomfort in the low intensity training groups, there was a similar proportion of individuals in each group, who said they would rather continue with the same exercise rather than try a different exercise.

Available for download on Saturday, September 13, 2025