Post-exercise blood flow restriction attenuates muscle hypertrophy
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Applying blood flow restriction during low-load resistance training has been shown to augment muscle hypertrophy which has been attributed to metabolic accumulation. It remains unknown, however, whether metabolites can augment muscle growth when maintained post-exercise.
Thirteen untrained individuals (6 males and 7 females) performed 24 training sessions. The control arm performed one set of elbow flexion (70 % 1RM) to volitional fatigue, while the experimental arm performed the same protocol immediately followed by 3 min of blood flow restriction (70 % arterial occlusion). Muscle growth (ultrasound) was measured at 50, 60, and 70 % of the distance between the lateral epicondyle and acromion process.
Both conditions completed the same exercise volume [3678 (95 % CI 2962, 4393) vs. 3638 kg (95 % CI 2854, 4423)]. There was a condition by time interaction (p = 0.031) demonstrating an attenuation of muscle growth at the 60 % site in the experimental [pre 3.1 (95 % CI 2.8, 3.5), post 3.1 (95 % CI 2.7, 3.5) cm] vs. control [pre 3.1 (95 % CI 2.6, 3.6), post 3.3 (95 % CI 2.8, 3.7) cm] condition. Muscle growth at the 50 % and 70 % sites was similar at the group level, although there were attenuations at the individual level. Exploratory analyses of pre–post mean (95 % CI) changes in muscle thickness suggested that this attenuation in the experimental condition occurred only in females [50 % site 0.0 (−0.2, 0.0) cm; 60 % site −0.1 (−0.3, 0.0) cm; 70 % site 0.0 (−0.1, 0.1) cm].
The application of blood flow restriction post high-load training did not augment muscle growth for either sex, and appeared to attenuate muscle growth among females.
KeywordsElbow flexion KAATSU Occlusion training Oxidative stress Resistance exercise Strength
Analysis of variance
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflicts of interest
Source of funding
This manuscript was partially supported by funding from the BioLayne Foundation (J.P.L and S. J. D.).
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