A multi-trial, retrospective analysis of the antihypertensive effects of high-resistance, low-volume inspiratory muscle strength training

Daniel H. Craighead, Dallin Tavoian, Kaitlin A. Freeberg, Josie L. Mazzone, Jennifer R. Vranish, Claire M. DeLucia, Douglas R. Seals, E. Fiona Bailey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Above-normal blood pressure (BP) is a primary risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. In a retrospective analysis of five pilot trials, we assessed the BP-lowering effects of high-resistance inspiratory muscle strength training (IMST) in adults aged 18-82 years and the impact of IMST on maximal inspiratory pressure (PIMAX), a gauge of inspiratory muscle strength and independent disease risk factor. Participants were randomized to high-resistance IMST (75% PIMAX) or low-resistance sham (15% PIMAX) training (30 breaths/day, 5-7 days/wk, 6 wk). IMST (n = 67) reduced systolic BP (SBP) by 9 ± 6 mmHg (P < 0.01) and diastolic BP (DBP) by 4 ± 4 mmHg (P < 0.01). IMST-related reductions in SBP and DBP emerged by week 2 of training (-4 ± 8 mmHg and -3 ± 6 mmHg; P ≤ 0.01, respectively) and continued across the 6-wk intervention. SBP and DBP were unchanged with sham training (n = 61, all P > 0.05). Select subject characteristics slightly modified the impact of IMST on BP. Greater reductions in SBP were associated with older age (β = -0.07 ± 0.03; P = 0.04) and greater reductions in DBP associated with medication-naïve BP (β = -3 ± 1; P = 0.02) and higher initial DBP (β = -0.12 ± 0.05; P = 0.04). PIMAX increased with high-resistance IMST and low-resistance sham training, with a greater increase from high-resistance IMST (+20 ± 17 vs. +6 ± 14 cmH2O; P < 0.01). Gains in PIMAX had a modest inverse relation with age (β = -0.20 ± 0.09; P = 0.03) and baseline PIMAX (β = -0.15 ± 0.07; P = 0.04) but not to reductions in SBP or DBP. These compiled findings from multiple independent trials provide the strongest evidence to date that high-resistance IMST evokes clinically significant reductions in SBP and DBP, and increases in PIMAX, in adult men and women.NEW & NOTEWORTHY In young-to-older adult men and women, 6 wk of high-resistance inspiratory muscle strength training lowers casual systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 9 mmHg and 4 mmHg, respectively, with initial reductions observed by week 2 of training. Given blood pressure outcomes with the intervention were only slightly altered by subject baseline characteristics (i.e., age, blood pressure medication, and health status), inspiratory muscle strength training is effective in lowering blood pressure in a broad range of adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1001-1010
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022


  • blood pressure
  • maximal inspiratory pressure
  • time-efficient

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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