Monday, August 9, 2010

Blood Flow Restriction Boosts Strength and Muscle Gains on Low Intensity Bench Press Exercise

Would you wear elastic plastic cuffs on your arms while doing 4 sets of 75 reps at 30% of your 1-RM max [what you can bench for a single rep] on the bench press? No? Well, you better revise your initial skepticism in view of the results of a recent investigation (Yasuda. 2010) on the effect of blood flow restriction on upper body muscle growth and strength gains.

Effect of training on strength and muscle size for blood flow restricted (BFR) and normal bench press (CON) exercise. (data adapted from Yasuda. 2010)
Low intensity training triggered muscle growth and increased strength only in blood flow restricted trainees. This is of particular interest for bodybuilders and fitness-athletes, because it suggests that by "pumping", i.e. by deliberately increasing blood supply to your arms on high rep sets at the end of an intense training session, one may well achieve similar effects and thus further stimulate muscle growth by combining the best of the two worlds (HIT vs. PUMP).