Investigating Low-load Resistance Training With Blood Flow Restriction

The KAATSU training method, now better known as blood flow restriction (BFR) training was created in 1966 by Japanese sports scientist and bodybuilder Yoshiaki Sato. This technique is characterized by restricting muscle blood flow by applying an external pressure, typically using a tourniquet/cuff system applied to the proximal section of the upper or lower limbs.

The cuff pressure produces mechanical compression of the underlying tissues, including the venous and arterial vasculature, which causes a reduction in venous return by creating tissue hypoxia. This generates important physiological mechanisms for the improvement of musculoskeletal functions.


This form of intervention can be applied either in isolation (without training) or with aerobic or strength exercises. In this direction, the strength or resistance exercise of low-load (20-30% of 1RM) combined with BFR increased because it was a method that emerged as a possible alternative to high-load exercises (≥65% of 1RM). Thus, this training method has been effective for increases in muscle strength, muscle hypertrophy, localized muscular resistance, isometric strength, functional capacity and has been shown to be safe in relation to hemodynamics.

However, one of the major concerns in the application of this form of intervention is changes in hemodynamics. To clarify this, a study by Neto et al. (2017) systematically reviewed the available scientific evidence on the changes promoted by low load resistance exercise combined with BFR on hemodynamic measures in young individuals. These authors verified that the results are divergent when compared to low load protocols with BFR versus high load. Scientific evidence shows that continuous BFR (maintenance of pressure between sets) after a low load resistive exercise session appear to elevate hemodynamic measures when compared to low load protocols without BFR. Although, there appear to be significant increases in blood pressure between the protocols of a high load when compared to protocols of low load.

In addition, the hemodynamic changes promoted by low-load resistance exercise with BFR do not seem to differ between ages and body segments (upper or lower), but appear to be influenced by cuff width and are higher with continuous BFR when compared to intermittent (between series).

Thus, these changes are within the normal range, making this method safe and feasible for special populations, such as the elderly, heart disease, and others. Since it promotes increases in strength and hypertrophy using low loads, but without adversely affecting hemodynamic measures.


The study, Effects of resistance training with blood flow restriction on haemodynamics: a systematic review was recently published in the journal Clinical Physiology and Functional Imaging.



Tackling Embedded Sensing Using Soft Robotics And Machine Learning

The human body maintains a sense of its own position and motions deriving information from multiple sensory modalities working together. […]

Electrochemical Additive Manufacturing: A Low Cost Desktop 3D Printer

Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing as it is commonly known, enables the creation of complex 3D geometries through the selective […]

SP3 Is Key To Understanding How TNF-α Is Made: Harnessing That Power To Kill Cancer Cells

The secreted immune factor, Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), is an important inflammatory mediator that helps neutralize and destroy infectious […]

Easily Calculate 0.625 As A Fraction In The Simplest Form

Below we will cover how to calculate 0.625 as a fraction, giving you 5/8 as the simplest form of 0.625. […]

What Is The Rock Cycle: Definition, Diagram, And Examples

The rock cycle is a concept of geology that describes the transition of rocks between the three rock types: igneous, […]

The Role Of Exercise In Weight Management: Exercise Does NOT Lead To Weight Gain

Overweight and obesity has more than doubled in the UK in the last 25 years. Currently, 66% of men and […]

Managing Soil After A Fire

Fire is a natural element of ecosystems that has shaped world biomes as we know them today. With the exception […]

Science Trends is a popular source of science news and education around the world. We cover everything from solar power cell technology to climate change to cancer research. We help hundreds of thousands of people every month learn about the world we live in and the latest scientific breakthroughs. Want to know more?