In a recent study conducted by researchers at Middle Tennessee State University, it was found that occlusion training has the ability to improve or increase muscular strength. The study involved Division 1A football players, who underwent low-intensity resistance training with blood flow restriction on their upper and lower limbs for four straight weeks. The aim of the study was to prove the effects of occlusion on muscular strength and hypertrophy.
What Took Place During the Study?
The study was participated by a total of 32 Division 1A football players, each of whom was randomly chosen to belong to either an occlusion group or a control group. Various tests were also taken before and after the training sessions were completed in order to measure girth measurements for the chest, thigh, upper arm, and lower arm; blood pressure; body mass; height; as well as the 1RM on the squat and bench press. The workloads used during the experiments were based on the 1RM for every lift.
How Was Occlusion Performed?
In the tests, occlusion or restriction of the blood flow to the muscles was performed with the use of elastic bands on the closest portion of both the upper and lower extremities during the blood flow restriction training.
The purpose of the bands was to restrict the brachial artery on the upper arms, as well as on the femoral artery on the legs. The occlusion stayed during the entire duration of the workout session, which included rest periods.
The blood flow restriction bands were first applied on the arms. The pressure was then released right after the bench press was completed. After that, the blood flow restriction bands were placed on the legs for the squat. Again, the pressure was released immediately after the squats were finished.
What Were the Results?
According to the results of the study, those athletes who belonged to the blood flow restriction group had greater increases in squat and bench press. They also had increased lower and upper chest girths, as well as left upper arm girth than those athletes who were not made to do blood flow restriction training.
Considering the results of this study, it can be said that blood flow restriction training combined with low-intensity exercise can be as effective as high-intensity workouts without blood flow restriction. What’s even more surprising is that occlusion training can lead to greater hypertrophy and muscular strength compared to traditional methods of training.
Blood flow restriction training is without a doubt is beneficial for athletes, especially those who want to avoid the muscle wear and tear that intensive training can cause. With the help of good quality blood flow restriction bands and efficient low intensity workouts, you will be on your way to developing bigger muscles.