Forearm blood flow follows work rate during submaximal dynamic forearm exercise independent of sex

Joaquin U. Gonzales, Benjamin C. Thompson, John R. Thistlethwaite, Allison J. Harper, Barry W. Scheuermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


To test the hypothesis that sex influences forearm blood flow (FBF) during exercise, 15 women and 16 men of similar age [women 24.3 ± 4.0 (SD) vs. men 24.9 ± 4.5 yr] but different forearm muscle strength (women 290.7 ± 44.4 vs. men 509.6 ± 97.8 N; P < 0.05) performed dynamic handgrip exercise as the same absolute workload was increased in a ramp function (0.25 W/min). Task failure was defined as the inability to maintain contraction rate. Blood pressure and FBF were measured on separate arms during exercise by auscultation and Doppler ultrasound, respectively. Muscle strength was positively correlated with endurance time (r = 0.72, P < 0.01) such that women had a shorter time to task failure than men (450.5 ± 113.0 vs. 831.3 ± 272.9 s; P < 0.05). However, the percentage of maximal handgrip strength achieved at task failure was similar between sexes (14% maximum voluntary contraction). FBF was similar between women and men throughout exercise and at task failure (women 13.6 ± 5.3 vs. men 14.5 ± 4.9 ml·min-1·100 ml-1). Mean arterial pressure was lower in women at rest and during exercise; thus calculated forearm vascular conductance (FVC) was higher in women during exercise but similar between sexes at task failure (women 0.13 ± 0.05 vs. men 0.11 ± 0.04 ml·min-1·100 ml-1·mmHg-1). In conclusion, the similar FBF during exercise was achieved by a higher FVC in the presence of a lower MAP in women than men. Still, FBF remained coupled to work rate (and presumably metabolic demand) during exercise irrespective of sex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1950-1957
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • Forearm blood flow
  • Handgrip
  • Sex differences
  • Vascular conductance


Dive into the research topics of 'Forearm blood flow follows work rate during submaximal dynamic forearm exercise independent of sex'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this