The effects of handgrip and supine bicycle exercise on hemodynamics and left ventricular (LV) performance were compared in 25 patients with moderate to severe aortic regurgitation (AR) and normal LV ejection fraction at rest (≥ 50%) and in 10 control subjects. In both groups, heart rate, systolic blood pressure, rate-pressure product, and LV output were higher during supine bicycle exercise. Compared with the controls, in patients with AR, stroke volume was unchanged during supine bicycle exercise. LV end-diastolic volume increased during handgrip exercise but was unchanged during supine bicycle exercise. LV end-systolic volume increased and ejection fraction decreased during both forms of exercise. Of 25 patients with AR, 15 (60%) during handgrip exercise and 19 (76%) during supine bicycle exercise had an abnormal ejection fraction response (p < 0.05). In patients with moderate to severe AR and normal LV ejection fraction at rest, both handgrip and supine bicycle exercise induced LV dysfunction. An abnormal LV ejection fraction response occurred more often with supine bicycle exercise. Handgrip exercise may be a useful alternative method for detecting LV dysfunction in patients with AR in whom adequate bicycle exercise cannot be accomplished.