T Nation

Bench Press and Blood Pressure

For the background, I have borderline high blood pressure. It usually bounces around between 140/70 and 160/80. It usually bounces around due to work. I mentioned this to my trainer, who I actually have great faith in and he got real upset. Now he refuses t o work with me on flat or declined bench presses, only inclined or the machne. I hate the press machine, but that is a whole different story.

My trainer said with my “high BP” I can not longer do flat presses and declines or I may blow a blood vessel. This guy is an old friend and may be over protective. But it is making me crazy not doing bench presses the old skool way. I don;t know what I’m asking probably just bitching, but any comments?

Ask him why the momentary increase in BP from the flat bench is any different than the increase from machine benching.

Hint: there is no difference.

I realize you said he’s an old friend, and I don’t mean this to be insulting, but if he really thinks what he’s doing makes a difference, you may need to find a competent trainer. It’s your health, not getting drinks after the game.

-Dan

I’ve heard this said before and the thinking is that when you’re flat, it reduces blood pressure and so the difference in blood pressure caused from exertion is greater. You’re starting from a lower base point. While this may or may not be true, I’ve never found any science to back this up or show that it really is an issue. Holding your breath while lifting is the one thing that spikes your blood pressure the most.

Here are some guidelines from the Mayo Clinic:

are you squatting? Those numbers are not terrible. Could be better. How are the two of you addressing lowering your blood pressure?

Hi,

Not to be a doomsayer, but I disagree with the guy who said those numbers are not that bad.

Pulse pressure is defined as the difference between systolic and diastolic pressure (the first and second numbers in your reading). A pulse pressure of 40 is normal. You seem to be quoting pulse pressures of 60. This most likely indicates one of two things:

1)You are measuring your bloodpressure without relaxing for long enough. This results in a systolic reading which does not reflect your resting pressure.

2)Calcification of the blood vessels.

At your age, the second is just as likely as the first. Get it checked out.

-Cloth

PS If you have any questions please PM me.

What if the bottom number is high. Mine is always hoovering around 100. Last time it was 140 over 100.

[quote]devildog88 wrote:
What if the bottom number is high. Mine is always hoovering around 100. Last time it was 140 over 100.[/quote]

That is not good:

[quote]devildog88 wrote:
What if the bottom number is high. Mine is always hoovering around 100. Last time it was 140 over 100.[/quote]

To preface my answer : the most important part of my post is this - go get your doctor to approve your weight training before you continue.

A diastolic pressure of 100 is not good. The rest of my post is concerned with what a high diastolic pressure means. Keep in mind that all I am is a first year student doing a dual degree of science and medicine, with a keen interest in cardiovascular disease (because I have mild hypertension at my age).

Here is what the two numbers mean. Systolic pressure is a measure of the pressure within the arteries whilst blood is being pumped through your body (heart contraction). Diastolic pressure is the measure of the pressure within the arteries whilst that blood is refilling into the heart (heart relaxation). Simply put, systolic is the highest experienced pressure on the arteries, and diastolic is the lowest.

So, what does a high diastolic pressure indicate? Simply, it means that the arteries are not reaching as relaxed a state than in a non-hypertensive person. Why? Because your arteries are more rigid than they should be. A few common causes of this are calcification of the arteries, and hypertrophy (excess growth)of the blood vessels. This is a serious problem.

I stress that you should get this checked out by a doctor, and not by anyone on an internet forum.

-Cloth

Can agree with Cloth in the if you BP is XXX/100 you need to see the doc. If you are there normally, under stress physical and emotional, you could be hitting stroke numbers.

Let me give everyone an update. I did talk with my buddy about this. Due to my history with a blown shoulder, blown knee, and some other things, he admitted that he has been babying me. He purposely has taken it easy to “ease me back in”. His comment was “Your like a bull, you go right after it and may get hurt again then you won’t be doing nothing”. This week he let me set my limits, and boy am I sore. Feels good. :sunglasses:

One more thing. I have been taking ZMA for about six weeks. My BP has dropped 10 points straight across the board. I spoke with a woman knows her shit about this sort of stuff. She said that there is a bunch of interesting stuff about magnesium and zinc for lowering BP online. It could be that magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer or we aren’t getting enough of the minerals because our food sucks. Don’t know and don’t care. It has done nothing but good stuff for me.

DS, that’s good that you’re taking meds for your bp. Frankly, when you hit midlife, at least according to my doctor, you should look at taking cholesterol and bp meds just for preventative maintenance.

I have perfect bp and cholesterol and still take these meds.

Anyway, they both work hand in hand and it’s important to get your blood pressure down to 120ish range. If you’re not doing some cardio, you may want to add this to your routine. Yes, I know, lifting weights can raise your pulse rate nicely.

But 30 minutes a day on the treadmill…dunno, it’s different. Most people tend to respond very well to it.

Good luck!

[quote]dogsoldier wrote:

One more thing. I have been taking ZMA for about six weeks. My BP has dropped 10 points straight across the board. I spoke with a woman knows her shit about this sort of stuff. She said that there is a bunch of interesting stuff about magnesium and zinc for lowering BP online. It could be that magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer or we aren’t getting enough of the minerals because our food sucks. Don’t know and don’t care. It has done nothing but good stuff for me.[/quote]

You’re missing my point. I’m not saying that you’re in trouble because your blood pressure is too high, I’m saying you’re in trouble because the difference between your systolic and diastolic pressure is too large. This is more serious than talking to some woman who ‘knows her shit’.

You quite possibly have calcifcation or hypertrophy of your bloodvessels. This isn’t something to fuck around with. Go see a cardiologist.

-Cloth

Cloth, I am not disagreeing with you but have some serious questions. You say that pulse pressure, the difference between the systolic and diastolic should be around 40. Ummmm, the AMA and the Mayo Clinic websites both state that 120/60 is where BP should be. That is a 60 point difference.

I just took my BP and it is 130/70, a 60 point spread. My wife who is a runner has a BP of 110/55, again a 55 point difference. To meet your criteria of a 40 point spread, you would need a normal BP of 120/80. The diastolic is borderline Hypertensive.

For the record, when I stated that the gal at the store where I get my vitamins and stuff from knows her shit, I meant with her products. Only a fool would take medical advice from a cute chick with great knockers at a vitamin store.

Although antidotal, I still stand by my statement that the addition of the magnesium from the ZMA to my diet help lower my BP. Magnesium supplements have been used to lower BP in Europe for years.

Magnesium is a muscle and vascular relaxer. If you are running real high numbers, it will not help. And could be dangerous. But for us borderline types it may help. The best thing we can do to lower BP is still lose weight if fat, don’t smoke (like me and my half a pack a day habit) and work out. Yes, I need more cardio, but I find it boring as hell.

Also, that guy who was calling out a diastolic of 100+ needs to have attention fast. If his systolic is in the 180+ range, he is heading down the road to a stroke or heart damage. I agree that he needs to get a stress test and some good medical advice/attention.

Interesting thread.

[quote]dogsoldier wrote:
Cloth, I am not disagreeing with you but have some serious questions. You say that pulse pressure, the difference between the systolic and diastolic should be around 40. Ummmm, the AMA and the Mayo Clinic websites both state that 120/60 is where BP should be. That is a 60 point difference.

[/quote]

You’re either misquoting, or both websites are embarassingly outdated. Or more likely still, Mayo Clinic simply copies from the AMA, and the AMA site is outdated.

I apologise for not being able to link to any proper studies at this time, but my university website isn’t letting me access journals. However, if you have a way to access, there is a reference at the bottom of this link to get you started.

-Cloth

PS - Please, again, go see a doctor. I can assure you with certainty a healthy pulse pressure is 40mmHg. It is very foolish to not at the least get it checked out.