Arterial compliance of rowers: Implications for combined aerobic and strength training on arterial elasticity

Jill N. Cook, Allison E. DeVan, Jessica L. Schleifer, Maria M. Anton, Miriam Y. Cortez-Cooper, Hirofumi Tanaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Regular endurance exercise increases central arterial compliance, whereas resistance training decreases it. It is not known how the vasculature adapts to a combination of endurance and resistance training. Rowing is unique, because its training encompasses endurance- and strength-training components. We used a cross-sectional study design to determine arterial compliance of 15 healthy, habitual rowers [50 ± 9 (SD) yr, 11 men and 4 women] and 15 sedentary controls (52 ± 8 yr, 10 men and 5 women). Rowers had been training 5.4 ± 1.2 days/wk for 5.7 ± 4.0 yr. The two groups were matched for age, body composition, blood pressure, and metabolic risk factors. Central arterial compliance (simultaneous ultrasound and applanation tonometry on the common carotid artery) was higher (P < 0.001) and carotid β-stiffness index was lower (P < 0.001) in rowers than in sedentary controls. There were no group differences for measures of peripheral (femoral) arterial stiffness. The higher central arterial compliance in rowers was associated with a greater cardiovagal baroreflex sensitivity, as estimated during a Valsalva maneuver (r = 0.54, P < 0.005). In conclusion, regular rowing exercise in middle-aged and older adults is associated with a favorable effect on the elastic properties of the central arteries. Our results suggest that simultaneously performed endurance training may negate the stiffening effects of strength training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H1596-H1600
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Arterial stiffness
  • Cardiovagal baroreflex sensitivity
  • Rowing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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