T. Fujita, W. F. Brechue, K. Kurita, Y. Sato, T. Abe
Traditional high-intensity resistance training performed 2-3 times per week induces muscle hypertrophy, at least, in 5 weeks (i.e. 10-15 training sessions). To examine the effect of a higher training frequency (12 sessions in 6 days), healthy young men performed low-intensity resistance training with (n=8, LIT-BFR) and without (n=8, LIT-CON) leg blood flow restriction with cuff inflation (BFR) twice per day for 6 days. Training involved 4 sets of knee extension exercise (75 total contractions) at 20% 1-RM. Significant muscle hypertrophy was observed only in the LIT-BFR group as estimated muscle-bone cross-sectional area (CSA) (2.4%), MRI-measured mid-thigh quadriceps muscle CSA (3.5%) and quadriceps muscle volume (3.0%) increased. The resulting hypertrophic potential (% change in muscle size divided by number of training sessions; ∼0.3% per session) is similar to previously reported traditional high-intensity training (0.1 to 0.5% per session). Improved 1-RM knee extension strength (6.7%) following LIT-BFR training was accounted for by increased muscle mass as relative strength (1-RM/CSA) did not change. There was no apparent muscle damage associated with the exercise training as blood levels of creatine kinase, myoglobin, and interleukin-6 remained unchanged throughout the training period in both training groups. A single bout of training exercise with and without BFR produced no signs of blood clotting as plasma thrombin-antithrombin complex, prothrombin fragment 1,2 and D-dimer were unchanged. In conclusion, changes in muscle mass and strength following 6-day (12 sessions) of low-intensity resistance training requires BFR to produce responses comparable to the effect of several weeks of high-intensity resistance training.