Impact of 8 weeks of repeated ischemic preconditioning on running performance

  • Joshua T. Slysz
  • Jamie F. BurrEmail author
Original Article



To examine if repeated exposure to IPC treatment prior to training sessions improves oxygen uptake and 1-km running performance in highly trained middle-distance runners.


Fourteen highly trained endurance runners (11 male/3 female, 19 ± 2 years, 64 ± 5 ml kg−1 min−1) completed a baseline maximal oxygen consumption (\(\dot{V}{\text{O}}_{{ 2 {\text{max}}}}\)) test and 1-km running performance test before random assignment to an IPC or control group. Both groups were prescribed identical endurance training over an 8-week varsity season; however, the IPC group performed an IPC protocol (5 min ischemia, repeated 3 times, each separated by 5 min reperfusion) before every training session. After 8 weeks of training, participants completed a follow-up \(\dot{V}{\text{O}}_{{ 2 {\text{max}}}}\) test and 1-km time trial.


\(\dot{V}{\text{O}}_{{ 2 {\text{max}}}}\) did not increase from baseline in either group following the 8-week training bout (P = 0.2), and neither group varied more than the other (\(\Delta \dot{V}{\text{O}}_{{ 2 {\text{max}}}}\) = IPC 0.6 ± 2 ml kg−1 min−1; control 1.5 ± 2 ml kg−1 min−1, P = 0.6) or beyond typical measurement error. The IPC decreased 1-km time trial time by 0.4% (0.5 ± 2 s), while the control group decreased by 1% (1.5 ± 3 s), but neither change was significant compared to baseline (P = 0.2). There was also no difference in time trial improvement between IPC and control (P = 0.6). However, there was a trend towards IPC significantly improving running economy at low intensity (P = 0.057).


Our data suggest that over a normal 8-week season in a population of highly trained middle-distance runners there is no benefit of undergoing chronic, repeated IPC treatments before training for augmenting maximal aerobic power or 1-km performance time.


Exercise Running IPC Occlusion Hypoxia 



Ischemic preconditioning

\(\dot{V}{\text{O}}_{ 2}\)

Oxygen consumption (ml kg−1 min−1)


Ventilation (L/min)


Respiratory exchange ratio


Least effective occlusive pressure (mmHg)



This work was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada under Grant 03974; Mitacs under Grant IT05783; and the Canada Foundation for Innovation under Grant 460597.

Author contributions

JTS and JFB conceived and designed research. JTS conducted experiments, analyzed data, and wrote the manuscript. All authors read and approved the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Bailey TG, Jones H, Gregson W et al (2012) Effect of ischemic preconditioning on lactate accumulation and running performance. Med Sci Sport Exerc 44:2084–2089CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Banks L, Wells GD, Clarizia NA et al (2016) Short-term remote ischemic preconditioning is not associated with improved blood pressure and exercise capacity in young adults. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 41:903–906CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barbosa TC, Machado AC, Braz ID et al (2015) Remote ischemic preconditioning delays fatigue development during handgrip exercise. Scand J Med Sci Sport 25:356–364. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Clevidence MW, Mowery RE, Kushnick MR (2012) The effects of ischemic preconditioning on aerobic and anaerobic variables associated with submaximal cycling performance. Eur J Appl Physiol 112:3649–3654CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cocking S, Wilson MG, Nichols D et al (2018) Is there an optimal ischemic-preconditioning dose to improve cycling performance? Int J Sports Physiol Perform 13:274–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Crisafulli A, Tangianu F, Tocco F et al (2011) Ischemic preconditioning of the muscle improves maximal exercise performance but not maximal oxygen uptake in humans. J Appl Physiol 111:530–536. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. De Groot PCE, Thijssen DHJ, Sanchez M et al (2010) Ischemic preconditioning improves maximal performance in humans. Eur J Appl Physiol 108:141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Franz A, Behringer M, Harmsen J-F et al (2018) Ischemic preconditioning blunts muscle damage responses induced by eccentric exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 50:109–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Griffin PJ, Ferguson RA, Gissane C et al (2018) Ischemic preconditioning enhances critical power during a 3 minute all-out cycling test. J Sports Sci 36:1038–1043CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Incognito AV, Burr JF, Millar PJ (2016) The effects of ischemic preconditioning on human exercise performance. Sport Med 46:531–544CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Jean-St-Michel E, Manlhiot C, Li J et al (2011) Remote preconditioning improves maximal performance in highly trained athletes. Med Sci Sport Exerc 43:1280–1286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jeffries O, Waldron M, Pattison JR, Patterson SD (2018) Enhanced local skeletal muscle oxidative capacity and microvascular blood flow following 7-day ischemic preconditioning in healthy humans. Front Physiol 9:1–12. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Johnsen J, Pryds K, Salman R et al (2016) The remote ischemic preconditioning algorithm: effect of number of cycles, cycle duration and effector organ mass on efficacy of protection. Basic Res Cardiol 111:10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Jones H, Hopkins N, Bailey TG et al (2014) Seven-day remote ischemic preconditioning improves local and systemic endothelial function and microcirculation in healthy humans. Am J Hypertens 27:918–925CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jones H, Nyakayiru J, Bailey TG et al (2015) Impact of eight weeks of repeated ischaemic preconditioning on brachial artery and cutaneous microcirculatory function in healthy males. Eur J Prev Cardiol 22:1083–1087. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kharbanda RK, Mortensen UM, White PA et al (2002) Transient limb ischemia induces remote ischemic preconditioning in vivo. Circulation 106:2881–2883CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kido K, Suga T, Tanaka D et al (2015) Ischemic preconditioning accelerates muscle deoxygenation dynamics and enhances exercise endurance during the work-to-work test. Physiol Rep 3(5):e12395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kjeld T, Rasmussen MR, Jattu T et al (2014) Ischemic preconditioning of one forearm enhances static and dynamic apnea. Med Sci Sport Exerc 46:151–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lindsay A, Petersen C, Blackwell G et al (2017) The effect of 1 week of repeated ischaemic leg preconditioning on simulated Keirin cycling performance: a randomised trial. BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med 3:e000229. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Loukogeorgakis SP, Panagiotidou AT, Broadhead MW et al (2005) Remote ischemic preconditioning provides early and late protection against endothelial ischemia-reperfusion injury in humans: role of the autonomic nervous system. J Am Coll Cardiol 46:450–456. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Malcata RM, Hopkins WG (2014) Variability of competitive performance of elite athletes: a systematic review. Sport Med 44:1763–1774CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Masri BA, Day B, Younger ASE, Jeyasurya J (2016) Technique for measuring limb occlusion pressure that facilitates personalized tourniquet systems: a randomized trial. J Med Biol Eng 36:644–650CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mitchell EA, Martin NRW, Turner MC et al (2018) The combined effect of sprint interval training and blood flow restriction on critical power, capillary growth and mitochondrial proteins in trained cyclists. J Appl Physiol. Google Scholar
  24. Morgan DW, Baldini FD, Martin PE, Kohrt WM (1989) Ten kilometer performance and predicted velocity at VO2max among well-trained male runners. Med Sci Sports Exerc 21:78–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Murry CE, Jennings RB, Reimer KA (1986) Preconditioning with ischemia: a delay of lethal cell injury in ischemic myocardium. Circulation 74:1124–1136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Page W, Swan R, Patterson SD (2017) The effect of intermittent lower limb occlusion on recovery following exercise-induced muscle damage: a randomized controlled trial. J Sci Med Sport 20:729–733CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Peacock CA, Sanders GJ, Antonio J (2019) The competitive season as an experiment: benefits, limitations and future directions. J Exerc Nutr 2(1):1–2Google Scholar
  28. Poole DC, Richardson RS (1998) Determinants of oxygen uptake: implications for exercise testing. Occup Heal Ind Med 2:97Google Scholar
  29. Riksen NP, Zhou Z, Oyen WJG et al (2006) Caffeine prevents protection in two human models of ischemic preconditioning. J Am Coll Cardiol 48:700–707CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Spencer MR, Gastin PB (2001) Energy system contribution during 200- to 1500-m running in highly trained athletes. Med Sci Sports Exerc 33:157–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Tanaka D, Suga T, Tanaka T et al (2016) Ischemic preconditioning enhances muscle endurance during sustained isometric exercise. Int J Sports Med 37:614–618CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Taylor CW, Ingham SA, Ferguson RA (2016) Acute and chronic effect of sprint interval training combined with postexercise blood-flow restriction in trained individuals. Exp Physiol 101:143–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Tocco F, Marongiu E, Ghiani G et al (2015) Muscle ischemic preconditioning does not improve performance during self-paced exercise. Int J Sports Med 36:9–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wenger HA, Bell GJ (1986) The interactions of intensity, frequency and duration of exercise training in altering cardiorespiratory fitness. Sports Med 3:346–356CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human Health and Nutritional SciencesUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

Personalised recommendations