Menstrual phase and the vascular response to acute resistance exercise

Jacqueline A. Augustine, Kayla N. Nunemacher, Kevin S Heffernan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Introduction: Aerobic exercise has a favorable effect on systemic vascular function, reducing both central (large elastic artery) and peripheral (smaller muscular artery) stiffness. The effects of resistance exercise (RE) on arterial stiffness are more complex. Acute RE increases central artery stiffness while decreasing peripheral stiffness. To date, the majority of studies have been performed in predominantly male participants. Purpose: To examine the effect of acute RE on central and peripheral arterial stiffnesses in women, a secondary purpose was to explore the influence of cyclic changes in estrogen status across the menstrual cycle on the arterial response to acute RE. Methods: 18 healthy women [28 ± 7 years, body mass index (BMI) 22.6 ± 2.9 kg/m2] completed an acute RE bout during the early follicular and the early luteal phase of their menstrual cycle. Salivary 17β-Estradiol concentration was measured during each phase, using a passive drool technique. Pulse-wave velocity (PWV) was obtained from the carotid–femoral and carotid–radial pulse sites to measure central and peripheral stiffness, respectively, using applanation tonometry. PWV was measured at rest, immediately, 10, 20, and 30 min post-RE. Results: 17β-Estradiol concentration was significantly lower in the early follicular vs. the early luteal phase of the menstrual cycle (1.78 ± 0.51 vs. 2.40 ± 0.26 pg/ml, p = 0.01). Central PWV significantly increased (p < 0.05) and peripheral PWV significantly decreased (p < 0.05) post-RE in both the early follicular and early luteal phases. No phase-by-time interaction was detected for either vascular segment (p > 0.05). Conclusion: Women experience increases in central arterial stiffness and reductions in peripheral arterial stiffness following acute RE. Menstrual cycle phase may not influence changes in arterial stiffness in response to acute RE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)937-946
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • 17B-estradiol
  • Aortic stiffness
  • Menstrual cycle
  • Resistance exercise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)


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