PLANKS and wall sits are the best exercises for lowering blood pressure, scientists say.
Isometric exercises are better than running or any other form of physical exercise for hypertension, a study found.
The workouts, which involve engaging muscles without moving, beat cardio, weightlifting and high intensity interval training (HIIT).
Dr Jamie O’Driscoll, of Canterbury Christ Church University, said: “Isometric exercise training is the most effective mode in reducing both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
“These findings provide a framework to support the development of new exercise guideline recommendations for the prevention and treatment of arterial hypertension.”
Around 14.4million Brits suffer with hypertension, the medical term for high blood pressure, according to the British Heart Foundation.
The condition rarely has any noticeable symptoms but can cause serious complications like heart attacks and strokes if left untreated.
A patient is deemed to have high blood pressure if a reading from a GP shows 140/90mmHg.
Previous research has suggested cardio training, including running, swimming and cycling, is the best form of exercise to counter the condition.
But findings were based on old data and did not take into account isometric or HIIT workouts, the researchers said.
Their paper, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, looked at all the available data from clinical trials on exercise types and blood pressure.
This included around 15,827 patients across 270 randomised studies from 1990 to 2023.
They reviewed workouts involving cardio, weightlifting, a mix of both, as well as HIIT and isometric exercises.
Blood pressure was deemed to be healthy if below 130/85mmHg, while it was classed as “pre-high” if between that and the high reading of 140/90mmHg.
Isometric exercises were 98 per cent effective at lowering systolic blood pressure, analysis found.
For comparison, a mix of weight-training and cardio was 76 per cent effective.
It was followed by weightlifting (46 per cent), cardio (40.5 per cent) and HIIT (39 per cent).
Wall sits were found to be 90.5 per cent effective at reducing systolic blood pressure and 91 per cent effective at slashing diastolic blood pressure.