Strength Training and Hypertension Strength Training and Hypertension

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Thread: Strength Training and Hypertension

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007

    Default Strength Training and Hypertension

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    This is a question I am going to bring up with my doctor in a couple of weeks, but I was wondering if you had any feedback based on your coaching experience:

    I'm a 35 year old male diagnosed with mild hypertension, but had it under control prior to beginning the Starting Strength program. Now, a few months into the SS program, I noticed that my blood pressure and pulse readings have risen considerably.

    Obviously, I don't know for sure if the training routine and diet (addition of 1 gallon of whole milk per day) are the cause, but it's likely that my doctor is going to tell me to stop. It's disappointing if I have to stop because I'm on a good linear progression and had the specific goals of a 300 pound squat, 400 pound deadlift. After hitting those marks, I was going to switch to a crossfit or olympic weightlifting program.

    Here are my stats:

    35 years old (36 on Jan 25)
    When I began SS, I weighed 173, I am now at 187.
    These are the numbers where I'm training at now and require 4 to 5 minute rests between sets:
    Squat : 3 sets of 5 at 220 pounds
    Deadlift : 1 set of 5 at 258 pounds
    Press : 3 sets of 5 at 132 pounds
    Bench : 3 sets of 5 at 198 pounds
    weighted chins, pull ups, dips; doing cleans at 60kg, but need to find coach

    prior to SS : 132/70/46
    today : 149/80/58

    I'm thinking the BP may have went up due to the weight gain. I don't have
    measurements, but any eye can see that I have more fat around the mid-section now than prior to the program.

    So, I was thinking that I could try to stay on the SS linear novice program, and just halt or reverse the weight gain (reduce milk intake, or use lowfat variant), but this seems to go against the principles of the program.

    What do you think? I'd hate to have to stop and reduce myself to some enduro-runner homo, but I guess it's better than the alternative.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    North Texas


    There are about 900 reasons why this is of absolutely no concern. To wit:

    You've only gained 14 lbs., and you did it on a weight-gain program with a strength increase.

    148/80 is not terribly "hypertensive".

    What size cuff did they use?

    How tall are you? You'd have to be shorter than 5' 6" to be considered overweight. Your strength doesn't look like that of a short muscular man, so I assume you're fairly tall, and therefore not "overweight".

    On how many separate occasions have you been checked at 148/80? have you been checked by several different testers/nurses/doctors and have been consistently hypertensive?

    Is there hypertension in your family, and have you had problems with it before? Would this cause you to be apprehensive about having your BP checked?

    Do you realize that a RHR of 58 is still below average?

    Had you been in pain before the test/were you nervous about the potential results/were you pissed off about something/were you tired or overtrained/had you trained in close proximity to the test/had you drunk a bunch of coffee or taken any medications or supplements that might affect BP/were there any other explanations for a transient elevation in blood pressure?

    Why do you think belly fat elevates blood pressure?

    If you want to lose some weight, go ahead. Certainly not everyone needs to be drinking a gallon of milk/day, and not everybody needs to gain weight. I think you're overreacting to this, but then again, I'm not a doctor. However, I would say that anybody that diagnosed you with hypertension without evaluating the above questions is not much of a doctor either.


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