Skip to main content

The effects of low-intensity resistance training with vascular restriction on leg muscle strength in older men

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate and compare the effects of two types of resistance training protocols on the adaptation of skeletal muscle strength in older men. Thirty-seven healthy male subjects (50–64 years) participated in this study. Subjects were assigned to one of three groups: high-intensity (80% 1-RM) resistance training (RT80); low-intensity (20% 1-RM) resistance training with vascular restriction (VR-RT20); and a control group (CON) that performed no exercise. Subjects in both exercise groups performed three upper body (at 80% 1-RM) and two lower body exercises either with (20% 1-RM) or without (80% 1-RM) vascular restriction three times a week for 6 weeks. As expected, the RT80 and VR-RT20 groups had significantly (p < 0.01) greater strength increases in all upper body and leg press exercises compared with CON, however, absolute strength gains for the RT80 and VR-RT20 groups were similar (p > 0.05). It should be noted that the percentage increase in leg extension strength for the RT80 group was significantly greater than that for both the VR-RT20 (p < 0.05) and CON groups (p < 0.01), while the percentage increase in leg extension strength for the VR-RT20 group was significantly (p < 0.01) greater than that for the CON. The findings suggested that leg muscle strength improves with the low-load vascular restriction training and the VR-RT20 training protocol was almost as effective as the RT80 training protocol for increasing muscular strength in older men.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7

References

  1. Abe T, Beekley MD, Hinata S, Koizumi K, Sato Y (2005a) Day-to-day change in muscle strength and MRI-measured skeletal muscle size during 7 days KAATSU resistance training: a case study. Int J KAATSU Train Res 1(2):71–76

    Google Scholar 

  2. Abe T, Yasuda T, Midorikawa T, Sato Y, Kearns CF et al (2005b) Skeletal muscle size and circulating IGF-1 are increased after two weeks of twice daily “KAATSU” resistance training. Int J KAATSU Train Res 1(1):6–12

    Google Scholar 

  3. Baechle TR, Earle RW (2000) Essentials of strength training and conditioning. Human Kinetics, Champaign, pp 412–415

  4. Brown AB, McCartney N, Sale DG (1990) Positive adaptations to weight-lifting training in the elderly. J Appl Physiol 69:1725–1733

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Cohen J (1988) Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc., Hillsdale, pp 19–39

  6. Enoka RM (1988) Muscle strength and its development. New perspectives. Sports Med 6:146–168

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Enoka RM, Fuglevand A, Barreto P (1992) Age does not impair the voluntary ability to maximal activate muscle. In: Draganich L, Wells R, Bechtold J (eds) Proceedings of the second North American congress in biomechanics, Chicago, IL, pp 63–64

  8. Frontera WR, Meredith CN, O’Reilly KP, Knuttgen HG, Evans WJ (1988) Strength conditioning in older men: skeletal muscle hypertrophy and improved function. J Appl Physiol 64:1038–1044

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Fujita T, Brechue WF, Kurita K, Sato Y, Abe T (2008) Increased muscle volume and strength following six days of low-intensity resistance training with restricted muscle blood flow. Int J KAATSU Train Res 4:1–8

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Goldfarb AH, Garten RS, Chee PD, Cho C, Reeves GV et al (2008) Resistance exercise effects on blood glutathione status and plasma protein carbonyls: influence of partial vascular occlusion. Eur J Appl Physiol 104:813–819

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Goto K, Nagasawa M, Yanagisawa O, Kizuka T, Ishii N, Takamatsu K (2004) Muscular adaptations to combinations of high- and low-intensity resistance exercises. J Strength Cond Res 18:730–737

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Goto K, Ishii N, Kizuka T, Takamatsu K (2005) The impact of metabolic stress on hormonal responses and muscular adaptations. Med Sci Sports Exerc 37:955–963

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Häkkinen K, Kallinen M, Linnamo V, Pastinen UM, Newton RU, Kraemer WJ (1996) Neuromuscular adaptations during bilateral versus unilateral strength training in middle-aged and elderly men and women. Acta Physiol Scand 158:77–88

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. Häkkinen K, Kraemer WJ, Newton RU, Alen M (2001) Changes in electromyographic activity, muscle fibre and force production characteristics during heavy resistance/power strength training in middle-aged and older men and women. Acta Physiol Scand 171:51–62

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Kamen G, Sison SV, Du CC, Patten C (1995) Motor unit discharge behavior in older adults during maximal-effort contractions. J Appl Physiol 79:1908–1913

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. Karabulut M, Abe T, Sato Y, Bemben MG (2007) Overview of neuromuscular adaptations of skeletal muscle to KAATSU training. Int J KAATSU Train Res 3:1–9

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Kraemer WJ, Adams K, Cafarelli E, Dudley GA, Dooly C et al (2002) American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Progression models in resistance training for healthy adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc 34:364–380

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. Lexell J, Taylor CC, Sjostrom M (1988) What is the cause of the ageing atrophy? Total number, size and proportion of different fiber types studied in whole vastus lateralis muscle from 15- to 83-year-old men. J Neurol Sci 84:275–294

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. Margovsky AI, Lord RS, Chambers AJ (1997) The effect of arterial clamp duration on endothelial injury: an experimental study. Aust N Z J Surg 67:448–451

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. Milner-Brown HS, Stein RB, Lee RG (1975) Synchronization of human motor units: possible roles of exercise and supraspinal reflexes. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 38:245–254

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. Moritani T, Sherman WM, Shibata M, Matsumoto T, Shinohara M (1992) Oxygen availability and motor unit activity in humans. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 64:552–556

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  22. Nakajima T, Kurano M, Iida H, Takano H, Oonuma H et al (2006) Use and safety of KAATSU training: results of a national survey. Int J KAATSU Train Res 2:5–13

    Google Scholar 

  23. Newton RU, Häkkinen K, Häkkinen A, McCormick M, Volek J, Kraemer WJ (2002) Mixed-methods resistance training increases power and strength of young and older men. Med Sci Sports Exerc 34:1367–1375

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  24. Pollock ML, Carroll JF, Graves JE, Leggett SH, Braith RW et al (1991) Injuries and adherence to walk/jog and resistance training programs in the elderly. Med Sci Sports Exerc 23:1194–1200

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  25. Shinohara M, Kouzaki M, Yoshihisa T, Fukunaga T (1998) Efficacy of tourniquet ischemia for strength training with low resistance. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 77:189–191

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  26. Stalberg E, Borges O, Ericsson M, Essen-Gustavsson B, Fawcett PR et al (1989) The quadriceps femoris muscle in 20–70-year-old subjects: relationship between knee extension torque, electrophysiological parameters, and muscle fiber characteristics. Muscle Nerve 12:382–389

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  27. Takarada Y, Ishii N (2002) Effects of low-intensity resistance exercise with short interset rest period on muscular function in middle-aged women. J Strength Cond Res 16:123–128

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  28. Takarada Y, Nakamura Y, Aruga S, Onda T, Miyazaki S, Ishii N (2000a) Rapid increase in plasma growth hormone after low-intensity resistance exercise with vascular occlusion. J Appl Physiol 88:61–65

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  29. Takarada Y, Takazawa H, Sato Y, Takebayashi S, Tanaka Y, Ishii N (2000b) Effects of resistance exercise combined with moderate vascular occlusion on muscular function in humans. J Appl Physiol 88:2097–2106

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  30. Takarada Y, Sato Y, Ishii N (2002) Effects of resistance exercise combined with vascular occlusion on muscle function in athletes. Eur J Appl Physiol 86:308–314

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  31. Trappe TA, Lindquist DM, Carrithers JA (2001) Muscle-specific atrophy of the quadriceps femoris with aging. J Appl Physiol 90:2070–2074

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  32. Yasuda T, Abe T, Sato Y, Midorikawa T, Kearns CF et al (2005) Muscle fiber cross-sectional area is increased after two weeks of twice daily KAATSU-resistance training. Int J KAATSU Train Res 1(2):65–70

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank the participants for their commitment and effort during the study. The authors are also grateful to Lee Gregg and Adrien Ferguson for their help and support during training and Dr. Travis Beck for his editorial suggestions.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Murat Karabulut.

Additional information

Communicated by Jean-René Lacour, Susan A. Ward.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Karabulut, M., Abe, T., Sato, Y. et al. The effects of low-intensity resistance training with vascular restriction on leg muscle strength in older men. Eur J Appl Physiol 108, 147 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-009-1204-5

Download citation

Keywords

  • Blood flow restriction
  • Exercise volume
  • Strength