The effects of elastic band resistance training combined with blood flow restriction on strength, total bone-free lean body mass and muscle thickness in postmenopausal women

Clin Physiol Funct Imaging. 2013 Sep;33(5):344-52. doi: 10.1111/cpf.12033. Epub 2013 Apr 3.


Introduction: Elastic band (EB) training is a common form of resistance training used by the elderly, individuals with joint problems or those recovering from injury. EB training performed at low intensities by these populations may have little effect on muscle hypertrophy. However, when combined with blood flow restriction (BFR), low-intensity EB resistance training may result in muscle hypertrophy.

Methods: Postmenopausal women (61 ± 5 years) were assigned to a moderate-to-high-intensity EB group (MH, n = 8) or a low-intensity EB group combined with BFR (LI-BFR, n = 6). Each group performed seated chest press, seated row and seated shoulder press with EB three times a week for eight weeks. EB colours progressed in each group by having participants maintain a rating of 7-9 on the OMNI Resistance for active muscle (OMNI-RES AM) scale (0-10) throughout training. In the LI-BFR group, BFR pressure progressed during the first 4 weeks of training (80-120 mmHg), after which EB colours were progressed.

Results: 1-repetition maximum increased for chest press (P = 0.01), shoulder press (P = 0.02) and seated row (P = 0.01), but no differences were found between groups. Only pectoralis major muscle thickness in the upper body increased (P = 0.04). A trend was found for an increase in total bone-free lean body mass (P = 0.055).

Conclusions: The main findings of this study were that moderate-to-high-intensity EB training and low-intensity EB training with BFR resulted in similar increases in strength, total bone-free lean body mass and muscle thickness.

Keywords: KAATSU; aging; sarcopenia; ultrasound; variable resistance.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Body Weight*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / diagnostic imaging
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Oklahoma
  • Pectoralis Muscles / diagnostic imaging
  • Pectoralis Muscles / physiology
  • Postmenopause*
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Resistance Training*
  • Sex Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Tourniquets
  • Ultrasonography
  • Upper Extremity / blood supply*