Effects of exercise with and without different degrees of blood flow restriction on torque and muscle activation

Muscle Nerve. 2015 May;51(5):713-21. doi: 10.1002/mus.24448.


Introduction: An unresolved question in resistance training combined with blood flow restriction (BFR) is what percentage of estimated arterial occlusion pressure provides the most robust acute muscular response.

Methods: Forty participants were assigned to Experiments 1, 2, or 3. Each experiment completed exercise protocols differing by pressure, exercise load, and/or volume. Torque was measured pre- and postexercise, and muscle activation was measured pre- and during each set.

Results: Pressure and load did not affect torque greatly. Muscle activation increased in all conditions (P < 0.05) and was higher with 30% 1RM compared with 20% 1RM. Pressure appeared to increase muscle activation from 40% to 50% arterial occlusion [66% vs. 87% maximal voluntary contraction (30% 1RM)] but was not further increased with higher pressure.

Conclusion: Different levels of BFR may alter the acute muscular response to a degree, although higher pressures do not appear to augment these changes.

Keywords: KAATSU; amplitude; muscle hypertrophy; muscle strength; occlusion training.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Electromyography
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy
  • Leg / blood supply*
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Regional Blood Flow / physiology*
  • Resistance Training*
  • Torque*
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology
  • Young Adult