Impact of exercise with blood flow restriction on muscle hypertrophy and performance outcomes in men and women

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University of New Brunswick


Blood flow restriction training (BFRT) improves lean mass and strength. In BFRT studies, only 17-29% of participants were female. We compared lean mass and strength following 6-week BFRT between males and females. Thirty-eight adults (age, 25.3 ± 3.1 years; female, n=19) participated. Exercises were performed at 30% of 1-repetition maximum (1-RM) and individual’s limb occlusion pressure set at 60%. Lean mass was assessed via dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, strength was measured using 1-RM. A significant increase in lean mass was observed in males (p= .009) and females (p= .023) without group differences (p= .279). Both males and females increased 1-RM for upper-and lower-body exercises. However, there was a significant interaction effect (time x sex) for knee extension (p= .039), chest press (p= .002), and seated row (p= .033). Lean mass and muscle strength increased following six weeks of BFRT. Males may improve upper-body strength to a greater extent.