Heart Rate and Blood Pressure Responses to Static Handgrip Exercise of Different Intensities: Reliability and Adult versus Child Differences

in Pediatric Exercise Science
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To determine the reliability of cardiovascular responses to isometric exercise of different intensities, and to compare adult versus child responses, 27 boys (7–9 years old) and 27 men (18–26 years old) performed static handgrip exercise at 10, 20, and 30% of previously determined maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) for three min each on different days, while heart rate (HR) and blood pressure (BP) were measured. HR reliability was moderately high at all intensities in both boys and men ranging from R = 0.52–0.87. BP reliability was moderate in men and boys at 30% MVC while at 10% and 20% MVC reliability was very low for boys and only moderate for men. HR response from pre- to 3-min of static exercise was not different between boys versus men at any intensity. At 30% MVC diastolic (20.2 vs. 29.3 mmHg), systolic (17.4 vs. 36.2 mmHg) and mean (19.2 vs. 31.6 mmHg) BP responses were lower in boys versus men, respectively. At 20% MVC SBP (6.8 vs. 14.3 mmHg) and MBP (8.4 vs. 12.6 mmHg) responses were lower in boys versus men, respectively. In conclusion, the reliability of cardiovascular response to isometric exercise is low at low contraction intensities and moderate at higher contraction intensities. Further, BP response in men at 30% MVC is higher than boys, while responses are similar at lower contraction intensities.

The authors are with the Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology at Harding University, Searcy, AR 72149.