Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biological Sciences (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Biological Sciences

Advisor 1

John J. Durocher

Committee Member 1

Steven J. Elmer

Committee Member 2

Min Wang


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death globally. One of the most effective forms of prevention and treatment is physical activity. However, recent studies have suggested that resistance exercise can increase arterial stiffness. Maintaining adequate strength is critical for performing activities of daily living, occupational-related tasks, and sport movements. The purpose of this project was to determine if novel combinations of resistance and aerobic exercise could offer musculoskeletal benefits without adverse cardiovascular consequences. In Study 1, we examined the effect of order (i.e. aerobic before resistance, or resistance before aerobic) on arterial stiffness when combining these exercise modes in a single training session. In Study 2, we compared the effects of acute eccentric and concentric arm cycling on central and peripheral arterial stiffness. Eccentric arm cycling is a unique combination of resistance and aerobic exercise. We hypothesized that these novel combinations of resistance and aerobic exercise would not cause arterial stiffening as observed in resistance exercise alone. In Study 1, we concluded performing resistance before aerobic to be the more beneficial exercise order in terms of arterial stiffness. In Study 2, we found that eccentric arm cycling reduces arterial stiffness in the arm, but not centrally. Collectively, our results suggest that the key to reducing the negative effects of resistance exercise on arterial function is to combine it with aerobic exercise, either first within a single session or simultaneously.