T Nation

High Blood Pressure?


Been lifting for 2 years went from 20 % body fat to about 8% now about 12% blood pressure has been climbing since i started lifting was around 112/72 when i started now 140/86 39 years old been cycling creatine and eating very clean whole wheat bread, fruit peanut butter turkey etc taking mega mens multi.

whats the deal shouldn't it be getting lower probably in the best shape of my life but my blood pressure is high should i be worried about heavy squats or dead lifts?

I really like the daily lifting and dont want to stop. Does any body here have high blood pressure and still lift heavy, do you take meds?


I'm sure this isn't it, but I'll just ask: you're not taking anything with Yohimbe in it, are you?


Firstly, I think you're absolutely right to investigate and get this addressed though - your blood pressure increases during heavy lifting anyway, owing to constriction of arteries by muscles and such. This is "ordinarily" considered fine, but if your base-pressure is that high, I would seek medical guidance as a matter of some priority. Moving on:-

My blood pressure when last measured (November or so) was something like 121/80 or so. "Typical" levels.

About a year ago (March 05) , it was 108/72 - much lower (and, all things equal, considered "more healthy").

What changed?

My low-intensity cardio routines had been almost dropped since last march because of fears of (continued) muscle loss. I have now re-introduced at least some low-intensity cardio (but not as much as I plan to do ultimately). I do not yet know how it has affected any of my health-indicators (but will know in about a week or so, when I go for another check-up).

Do you do / did-you-do any low-intensity cardio?

Maybe it's something, maybe it's nothing...



I am doing low intensity cardo on days i dont lift.
Same as you dont want to lose muscle that i worked so hard for.
as far as taking something with yoambe in it no,
i did do no-explode for a while but dropped everything since i saw the blood pressure.
i am going to get it rechecked next week but untill then i am going to lift just low weight and a lot of reps.

Do people with high blood pressure still lift heavy?
how about people that are on med for lowering blood pressure?
thanks Ron


Please see a doc about this. 140 is pretty freakin high. Last year I went to my doc for migranes - always had them time to time, but they were coming more often. I was 142 on the high end and he wouldn't let me leave without putting me on something to bring it down. A quick search will show you what risks you are taking here.....

Of course, he is our family doc for ~15 years, so he may be overreacting a bit, but I don't think so. HBP is implicated in a slew of bad things.


PREhypertension is from 120/80 to 140/90 so that one is right on the border but please don't let one reading freak you out!!! When my first wife just up and left me, I was having some REALLY high readings like 160/100 and was put on medication, minimal dose.

Things settled down, I moved on and changed doctors. The new doctor saw that I was on the med so he just kept me on it (don't get me started about doctors and med's). I was on this shit for 11 years because of a short term, situationally induced rise in BP. Did I need it all that time? Probably not!

Later on, because the MD also wanted to put me on cholesterol lowering meds, I finally said "WAIT, can't I do something to prevent this???" Well, hell yeah, often you can! I avoided the new meds and GOT OFF THE BP meds by starting to learn about diet and exercise (which you have done) and buying a home monitoring device to take readings throughout the day instead of relying on that one reading in the doctor's office.

Who knows, maybe the nurse that took your reading bent over right about then and caused yours to go up (the BP, that is!) In my case, my readings will ALWAYS be high the first time (white coat syndrome) but, if they take it at the end of my checkup, it'll be pretty good. I get really low numbers after first getting up at home.

So, the point is to not judge your overall health on one reading. That doesn't reflect the state of your BP health, only what it was at one point in time! You need more than one reading to make any kind of determination. I lift heavy all the time and used to be considered hypertensive and on meds but no more. By the way, I'm just shy of 52 now.

From what I've read, there is some benefit to your BP to do some aerobic exercise but I certainly wouldn't get too carried away. Personally, I'm more interested in overall fitness so I use an overall fitness training approach which does has some limited aerobic stuff.


I've been on blood pressure meds for years. Weightlifting didn't cause it, it was heredity for me. I moniter it at home and I did notice that when I was on creatine, my blood pressure was marginally higher. When I stopped creatine, it went down. I am not sure of the mechanism at work here, but I suspect the weight gains associated with creatine put more pressure on the cv system ? Don't fear blood psi meds, they have not affected my lifting much over the years. I have noticed that you must be patient. The drugs seem to take a few weeks to "settle in", then you'll feel pretty much normal. I'll be on them the rest of my life and I'm OK with that. Good luck, no worries.


I'm on HRT and high BP can be symptomatic of that. Introducing Androgens into your system will definitely raise the BP.

Don't mess with high BP. Get on some meds right away.

All the best!



thanks so you still lift do you take creatine while on the blood pressure meds, i think mine is hederitary
also both of my brothers have it
going to get it checked again next week than i am sure they will put me on pills
oh well thats life


I had high blood pressure, stopped working out for 6 months and also stopped creatine during this time. At the end of the 6 months when I was able to start working out again, I went to my doctor to have my BP measured again. It was still about the same, so I don't think creatine causes high blood pressure.


Be sure you have your own BP meter and check it regular at home, different times of day etc. like waking, before bed, after workout and so on.


I was on medication for 1 1/2 years, but have finally kicked this thing. I am off the meds for 1 month and bp is 128/86. It was as high as 160/100 in 2004. I had to cut back on heavy training and concentrate on conditioning. Here is my current routine after much trial and error. The key points to this program are :
1) Training the whole body as a unit several times a week. Athletes such as gymnasts and boxers work all their muscles every day.
2) Work hard enough to challenge the muscles, but never train to failure or try to kill yourself with high intensity.
3) To build fitness into a muscle you must do at least 2 sets of each exercise but rest no more than 20 or 30 seconds between sets.
4) The conditioning workouts days are about 30 minutes total of continuous movement.

Monday: 12 minutes of low impact kickboxing movements (marching in place with front, side, and rear kicks), followed by heavy strength training 1 set of 6-10 reps of each exercise. Rep speed?medium. Remember to breath deeply with each repetition and between each exercise take 4 deep yoga breaths. Rowing, pressing, shrugs, flyes, pullovers, curls, tricep extensions, calf raise, crunches.
Tuesday: 12 minutes of low impact kickboxing movements, followed by conditioning workout with very light dumbells. 2 sets of 15-35 reps each exercise. Rep speed?fast. Perform 1 set, then march in place while taking 3 deep yoga breaths, then do your second set. This gives you about 20-30 seconds of rest between sets. Bent over db rowing, overhead pressing, shrugs, lateral raise, upright rowing, db flyes, pullovers, reverse curls, tricep extensions, calf raise, crunches.
Wednesday: 12 minutes of low impact kickboxing movements, followed by conditioning workout with medium weight dumbells, 2 sets of 10-15 reps. Rep speed?medium. Same rest periods as Tuesday workout. Bent over db rowing, overhead pressing, shrugs, upright rowing, db bench press, pullovers, hammer curls, tricep extensions, calf raise, crunches.
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Repeat Tuesday workout and add 30 min walk that day.
Saturday: Repeat Wednesday workout and add 40 min walk that day.
Sunday: 30 min walk.
I also found some supplements that seem to help from iherb.com Try the celery seed extract and the PeptAce anti-ace peptides. Hope this helps you and others out there.


I have recently gone onto meds for Hi BP,
I posted here as I was concerned and was reassured.
I am now on a combo of ACE inhibitors and a low dose diuretic (taken in the morning only) My BP has reduced but I'm still being monitored monthly (I'm due to see my doc on Friday) with the dose adjusted as necessary. I use creatine and don't see a reason to discontinue.
Since going on the meds, i have noticed absolutely NO IMPACT ON MY LIFTING WHATSOEVER! As my late mother had a couple of strokes and recently my father has also suffered 3 or four strokes (age 78)my main concern is that I don't follow down that path.
One thing to note is that my doctor always mentions the muscular size of my arms as being a potential cause of false high readings. "Don't let anyone take your blood pressure using a small cuff" he warns. (BTW I'm 6ft & 260lb, body fat high, upper arms ~18ins)
High blood pressure is a serious matter, but you don't need to panic.

Old Dax


My all time record:




Roncote, how much muscle have you gained? When someone gains a very substantial amount of muscle, like even 15 pounds or more, it can start to impact BP by raising it a bit.

Also, a falsely high reading is obtained when the cuff is too small. Many cuffs are not large enough to accurately accomodate a bicep greater than 15 inches... you can tell buy looking at the markings on the inside of the cuff... A cuff which is too small can raise the BP reading by 10 points or more.

Generally, the deleterious effects of high blood pressure occur from allowing it to go untreated for a long time -- months or years.

142 is not a very high reading for systolic. For example, I am an RN and have NEVER heard of anyone being started on BP meds for persistent readings in the high 130s or lower. 142 is barely high enough to treat, in the opinion of most docs, I think you would find. By the way, BP will fluctuate throughout each and every day, so a single reading is not that useful by itself. Before treating mild hypertension, most docs will wisely want to obtain elevated readings from at least 2 or more separate days.

Your BP is high enough to warrant further investigation, though I wouldn't immediately start popping BP pills.

Caffeine can definitely raise BP, as can cigarettes. Fish oil can help slowly lower BP.

Good luck... and please don't freak out!!!


Firstly, don't freak out, a one-off BP of 140/89 is not excessively high, whilst it's not ideal (<120/80), it's only borderline hypertensive.

BP values are affected by numerous factors and any one could explain the slightly elevated value. If you're under more stress than usual, either psychological or physiological (e.g. overworked or overtrained, respectively) your BP will rise. If you've taken it in the morning when it's usually taken in the evening that may elevate it (diurnal rhythm), BP can also be affected by circadian rhythms! (time of the year). Dietary factors may also affect it. Acute changes may be seen with stimulant usage. More chronic changes occur with poor dietary choices. A reduction in cardiorespiratory fitness may also elevate BP. Also, as we age our arteries become stiffened and less compliant therefore increasing BP, and of course some people are just genetically pre-disposed to high BP.

If I was you I would take my BP again, whilst seated and following at least a 15 minute rest. Make sure the cuff isn't too big/small and that it's correctly positioned. Don't stress it! If you're anxious it will only elevate your BP, so try and relax.

If it is still high, go and see your doc. They may refer you for ambulatory BP monitoring (24hr BP machine that you wear, takes readings throughout the day). If these show that 50% of your BP is >140/90 diurnally or >120/80 nocturnally, then you may be advised to a) modify lifestyle or b) start low-dose anti-hypertensive drugs. Likelyhood is you're normotensive, and have nothing to worry about.

Hope this helps.


Lots of good advice here.
I've been on BP meds for years.Like someone else here,its in my family.Everybody has high BP on my dads side.

Too answer some of your questions...I lift heavy and I take creatine and I havent noticed my BP rise in fact it has dropped some in the past 6 months or so.I check my BP regularly and have noticed that if my body becomes very fatigued my BP will go up some(like during times of hard workouts and hard days at work).I take a few days off and it will normalize.

My advice....keep an eye on it for a couple of weeks and if its always high see a Dr.


The causes for your high blood pressure might be CAFFIENE or SODIUM.


-Caffiene, from coffee, tea, NO supplements, etc. can raise your BP all day.

-Believe it or not I've read studies on high blood pressure causes that include a high sodium intake. What you can do is do some research and become away of foods that are high in salt and stay away from them, one thing you can do is get low sodium turkey.


Thanks for all the advice, it calmed me down a bit knowing other people still lift with high blood pressre. Since the last reading the nurse in our office checked it again and it was down although she still thinks i should keep an eye on it, the last couple of weeks have been very hetic for me trying to keep 3 side jobs going plus a full time one and keep lifting.

I have started taking sundays off, in the past year i have put on considerable muscle about 15 lbs I am probably in the best shape of my life. It just kinda of freaked me out to have a couple of high readings.

Right now i am in the bulking stage again weighing in at 170 from a low of about 150 last year, would like to see 180 while maintaining about 12 % body fat, My height 5'7"
thanks again Ron


Dax, an excellent post about the cuff size on the blood psi check. This is a real problem for me , too. When the Doc takes my blood psi, the cuff hurts like a bitch. I mentioned this to my doctor and he just kind of blew it off. I am sure that the small cuff affects my readings to a degree. Big-armed guys - beware.

Roncoat, I hope we have alleviated your concerns about blood psi medication. Yes, I did take creatine while on medication. I'm sure there are not any compatibility problems. It sounds like my experience with creatine was unusual, so I wouldn't worry about it. Just keep an eye on it.