Are higher blood flow restriction pressures more beneficial when lower loads are used?

S. J. Dankel, M. B. Jessee, S. L. Buckner, J. G. Mouser, K. T. Mattocks, J. P. Loenneke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The application of blood flow restriction during low-load resistance exercise has been shown to induce muscle growth with high or low restriction pressures, however, loads lower than 20% one-repetition maximum (1RM) remain unexplored. Fourteen trained individuals completed six elbow flexion protocols involving three different loads (10%, 15%, and 20% 1RM) each of which was performed with either a low (40% arterial occlusion) or high (80% arterial occlusion) pressure. Pre- and post-measurements of surface electromyography (sEMG), isometric torque, and muscle thickness were analyzed. An interaction was present for torque (p < 0.001) and muscle thickness (p < 0.001) illustrating that all increases in pressure and/or load resulted in a greater fatigue and muscle thickness. There was no interaction for sEMG (p = 0.832); however, there were main effects of condition (p = 0.002) and time (p = 0.019) illustrating greater sEMG in the 20% 1RM conditions. Higher blood flow restriction pressures may be more beneficial for muscle growth when very low loads are used.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-257
Number of pages11
JournalPhysiology International
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology (medical)


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