The impact of cuff width on perceptual responses during and following blood flow restricted walking exercise

Nicole E. Fallon, Emely Urbina, Dominic V. Whitener, Mana H. Patel, Ryan J. Exner, Scott J. Dankel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: An appropriate comparison of different cuff widths during blood flow restricted exercise requires that the cuffs are inflated to the same relative pressures. Narrow cuffs tend to be preferred and may reduce discomfort when applied during resistance exercise, but whether this is also true during walking exercise remains unknown. Methods: Individuals completed two identical walking trials, once with 12-cm wide cuffs and once with 17-cm wide cuffs. Five 2-min walking bouts were completed at a speed of 50 m/min, with a 1-min rest period between sets. The restriction cuffs were inflated to 40% of the individuals’ arterial occlusion pressure taken with each respective cuff. Individuals were asked to rate their discomfort, perceived exertion (RPE), and cuff preference. Results: Twenty-seven individuals completed the study. The 12-cm cuff required a higher occlusion pressure which resulted in a higher absolute pressure applied (58 vs. 52 mm Hg; BF10 = 19 331.897). Whilst there was no difference in RPE values between cuffs (BF10 = 0.474), individuals reported greater discomfort when using the wider cuffs (2.3 vs. 1.7; BF10 = 252.786). The majority of individuals (63%) preferred to use the narrower cuff, whereas fewer preferred the wider cuff (26%) and even fewer did not have a preference (11%). Discussion: Blood flow restricted walking exercise performed with narrower restriction cuffs appeared to reduce participant discomfort whilst also being preferred over that of wider cuffs. Future studies may wish to test the influence of different restrictive cuff widths on alterations in gait patterns during blood flow restricted walking exercise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-34
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Physiology and Functional Imaging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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