Other Subject Area

Exercise training; strength & conditioning; athlete development


International Journal of Exercise Science 16(6): 1244-1256, 2023. Blood flow restriction training (BFRT) uses occlusion during low-intensity resistance training (< 50% of 1-repetition maximum, 1RM) to reduce arterial blood flow and venous return, imposing greater metabolic stress but similar muscular hypertrophy and strength gains as high-intensity resistance training (HIRT). However, no study, to date, has incorporated BFRT in a collegiate strength and conditioning setting to assess ecological validity. We aimed to investigate the effects of adding 6-weeks of accessory BFRT or HIRT to NCAA Division III soccer players prescribed resistance training regimen on muscle strength and size. Male and female (n = 17) athletes were randomly assigned to complete biceps curls 2x/week under BFRT or control (HIRT), following regularly scheduled strength training. Bicep strength (1RM) and circumference (BC) were assessed at weeks 0, 3, and 6 (men only). In men, for BC no significant interaction of condition x time was observed (p = 0.861), though condition (BFRT vs Control, p = 0.025) and time (p = 0.024) were significant. For 1RM, there was no significant interaction of condition x time (BFRT vs HIRT, p = 0.067) or of condition (p = 0.598), but there was a significant effect of time (p = 0.004). In women, there was no significant interaction between time and condition (p = 0.765) or of condition (p = 0.971) on BC, but time was significant (p = 0.045). For 1RM, there was no significant interaction of condition x time (p = 0.227) or of condition (p = 0.741), but time was (p = 0.018). In this preliminary ecological study, BFRT induced similar increases in muscle strength and circumference as HIRT in soccer players, suggesting that BFRT could be incorporated into collegiate athlete training.