A warning: This should not be attempted by anyone who has severe uncontrolled hypertension, high blood pressure over 180/110. And if you are close or not even close to sever hypertension, you should consult your doctor first. Please take this seriously.
A paper by the American Heart Association (AHA) found that folks who squeeze a handgrip exerciser at 30 percent of the persons maximum strength for two minutes with one hand, than rest for a minute and repeat with the other hand doing this for a total of 12-minutes a day for a minimum of five times a week for four weeks showed a significant drop in blood pressure, in some cases as much as 10%.
Men, women, young and old, folks with hypertension and pre-hypertension who benefited the most from this “squeezing down the high blood pressure” were the ones who had the highest blood pressures.
If you are trying to control your blood pressure, with what you eat, the physical activity you do, or the medication you take this is something you may want to try.
As you can imagine, one of the caveats to this is how do you know what 30 precent of your maximum strength is and you have to maintain that 30 precent grip for two minutes. Of course if you are wealthy, you can get yourself a high-tech computerized handgrip shown here…
A study done at McMaster University in Canada using the Zona Plus showed a reduction of blood pressure from around 5 to 19 points systolic and a slightly lower average for diastolic.
The Zona Plus is pretty pricey, around $600.
Link goes to Amazon.
You may want to experiment with a good old fashion low tech spring handgrip. All you have to do is give it your best estimate of what your 30 percent grip is and hold it for the two minutes. Just be careful, gripping too tightly and for too long can have the reverse effect on your blood pressure by pumping it up.
Here’s some good news about using the cheaper handgrip: That same Canadian University, McMaster included in the study older folks with normal blood pressure and trained only three times a week for eight weeks using the low-tech handgrip had a pretty good drop in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure-10 and 3 points respectively.
If you decide to go low tech here are a few guidelines and product suggestions to help you get a better grip on how to go about this. (sorry, couldn’t resist)
You may want to get the lowest resistance handgrip and if you squeeze and hold at about the halfway point, you should be squeezing at moderate intensity.
This may be a little more difficult because there will be a larger spread in strength among you. In your case, you want to get a moderate resistance handgrip, and like the women, squeeze and hold at the halfway point. However, moderate resistance could be higher for some folks and lower for others. Best advice, find a store or place where you can try-before-you-buy.
The Death Grip is completely silent, no squeaking noises. Claims to be indestructible-comes with a lifetime warranty.
Death Grip: Adjustable Hand Exerciser 55-154 lbs - 25-70 kgs
link goes to Amazon
The ACF Grip Strengthener 22-88 lbs is the cheapest. Has a high customer rating.
link goes to Amazon
There is even a more low tech way of going about this. Try doing this with a tennis ball. Again, you have to concentrate on a steady grip that you feel is a “moderate intensity” for you
One final thing, and this may be a bit of a turn off for some folks. Once you start and get to a point where your blood pressure drops, say after seven or eight weeks, you have to continue with this regime to keep the blood pressure at that lower level.
Do three to five times a week, and make it a part of your lifestyle routine.
AHA-Journal of Hypertension abstract link: Isometric Handgrip And Resting Blood Pressure