European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 118, Issue 5, pp 937–946 | Cite as

Menstrual phase and the vascular response to acute resistance exercise

  • Jacqueline A. Augustine
  • Kayla N. Nunemacher
  • Kevin S. Heffernan
Original Article



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.


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.


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.


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).


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.


Aortic stiffness Resistance exercise 17B-estradiol Menstrual cycle 



Augmentation index (@Heart Rate 75)


Augmented pressure


Body mass index


Cardiovascular disease


Central mean arterial pressure


Common carotid artery


Diastolic blood pressure


Forward wave pressure


Pulse pressure


Pulse-wave velocity


Reflected wave pressure


Repetition maximum


Resistance exercise


Systolic blood pressure


Time to reflection


Wave separation analysis



NIH NIA P30 AG0344645 05 (KSH) supported this study.

Authors’ contributions

JAA data collection, statistical analyses, writing of manuscript, response, and management of reviewer comments and manuscript submission. KNN data collection and recruitment. KSH Assist with writing of manuscript and manuscript edits, supervisor.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose. The results of this study are presented clearly, honestly and without fabrication, or inappropriate data manipulation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacqueline A. Augustine
    • 1
  • Kayla N. Nunemacher
    • 1
  • Kevin S. Heffernan
    • 1
  1. 1.The Department of Exercise ScienceSyracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA

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