Increase in maximal oxygen uptake following 2-week walk training with blood flow occlusion in athletes

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2010 Jul;109(4):591-600. doi: 10.1007/s00421-010-1377-y. Epub 2010 Feb 21.


Walk training with blood flow occlusion (OCC-walk) leads to muscle hypertrophy; however, cardiorespiratory endurance in response to OCC-walk is unknown. Ischemia enhances the adaptation to endurance training such as increased maximal oxygen uptake (VO₂(max)) and muscle glycogen content. Thus, we investigated the effects of an OCC-walk on cardiorespiratory endurance, anaerobic power, and muscle strength in elite athletes. College basketball players participated in walk training with (n = 7) and without (n = 5) blood flow occlusion. Five sets of a 3-min walk (4-6 km/h at 5% grade) and a 1-min rest between the walks were performed twice a day, 6 days a week for 2 weeks. Two-way ANOVA with repeated measures (groups x time) was utilized (P < 0.05). Interactions were found in VO₂(max) (P = 0.011) and maximal minute ventilation (VE(max); P = 0.019). VO₂(max) (11.6%) and VE(max) (10.6%) were increased following the OCC-walk. For the cardiovascular adaptations of the OCC-walk, hemodynamic parameters such as stroke volume (SV) and heart rate (HR) at rest and during OCC-walk were compared between the first and the last OCC-walk sessions. Although no change in hemodynamics was found at rest, during the last OCC-walk session SV was increased in all five sets (21.4%) and HR was decreased in the third (12.3%) and fifth (15.0%) sets. With anaerobic power an interaction was found in anaerobic capacity (P = 0.038) but not in peak power. Anaerobic capacity (2.5%) was increased following the OCC-walk. No interaction was found in muscle strength. In conclusion, the 2-week OCC-walk significantly increases VO₂(max) and VE(max) in athletes. The OCC-walk training might be used in the rehabilitation for athletes who intend to maintain or improve endurance.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Basketball
  • Exercise*
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Ischemia / metabolism*
  • Ischemia / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction*
  • Muscle Strength
  • Muscle, Skeletal / blood supply*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Oxygen / blood*
  • Oxygen Consumption*
  • Physical Endurance
  • Pulmonary Ventilation
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Republic of Korea
  • Time Factors
  • Walking*
  • Young Adult


  • Oxygen