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Res Q Exerc Sport. 2018 Dec;89(4):504-510. doi: 10.1080/02701367.2018.1510170. Epub 2018 Sep 21.

Is Postexercise Blood Flow Restriction a Viable Alternative to Other Resistance Exercise Protocols?

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a Massey University.
b Catalyst Strength and Physique Coaching.



The purpose of this study was to identify whether post-resistance exercise (REx) blood flow restriction (BFR) can elicit a similar acute training stimulus to that offered by either heavy REx or traditional low-load BFR REx.


Ten men completed trials with 30% one-repetition maximum (1RM) for 5 sets of 15 repetitions without BFR (30%), with BFR during exercise (30% RD), and with postexercise BFR (30% RP) and at 75% 1RM for 3 sets of 10 repetitions. Lactate and cortisol were measured before and up to 60 min after exercise. Thigh circumference, ratings of perceived exertion (RPE), and pain were measured before and after exercise. Surface electromyography was measured during exercise.


All conditions had a large effect (effect size [ES] > 0.8) on lactate, with the largest effects observed with the 75% condition; no differences were observed between the 30% conditions. All conditions had a moderate effect (ES > 0.25 ≤ 0.4) on increasing thigh circumference. This effect was maintained (ES = 0.35) with the application of BFR after REx (30% RP). Change in RPE, from the first to last set, was significantly greater with 30% RD compared with other conditions (all p < .05). Electromyography amplitude was higher and percentage change was greater for the 75% condition compared with the other conditions (both p < .05).


The application of BFR immediately post-REx altered several of the responses associated with REx that is aimed at inducing muscular hypertrophy. Additionally, these changes occurred with less pain and perceived exertion suggesting that this form of REx may offer an alternative, tolerable method of REx.


Hypertrophy; Kaatsu; lactate; occlusion

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