Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Physical Education and Exercise Science

Major Professor

Bill Campbell, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jacob Wilson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Marcus Kilpatrick, Ph.D.


Exercise Physiology, Muscle, Occlusion, Resistance Training


Practical blood flow restriction training is a new training technique that has the potential to increase muscular hypertrophy and muscular strength while allowing practitioners to train with lighter loads (20-30% of 1-RM). Through the use of elastic knee wraps, the limbs can be restricted using a perceived pressure scale. The comparison of practical blood flow resistance training with traditional, non-blood flow restricted resistance training and its effects on muscular hypertrophy and strength has not been investigated.

Twenty-one resistance-trained males participated in a 4-week training program and were randomly assigned to one of two groups: Practical BFR training (BFR; n = 10) and Resistance training (RT; n = 11). The primary difference between the groups was the BFR group performed approximately 62% of all sets blood flow restricted at 20-30% of 1-RM while the RT group performed all sets at an intensity of > 70% 1-RM in a traditional manner (non-blood flow restricted). Perceived pressure for blood flow restriction in the BFR group for the arms and legs was 7 out of 10. Workouts for both groups were similar and consisted of whole body routines ~3 days/week. A 2x2 repeated measures ANOVA was used to assess group, time, and group by time interactions. Statistical significance was set to p ≤ 0.05.

There was a no difference in total lifting volume with the BFR group achieving a total lifting volume that was 11% less than the RT group. There was a main effect for time for biceps cross-sectional area (p = 0.004), thigh girth (p = 0.002), bench press 1RM (p = 0.001) and leg press 1RM (p < 0.001). Specifically, BFR improved from 220.5 ± 65.1 to 235.0 ± 50.6 pounds and from 822 ± 135.9 to 952.5 ± 168.9 pounds in the bench press and leg press, respectively. The RT improved from 245.9 ± 60.9 to 257.7 ± 53.5 pounds and from 780.5 ± 192.4 to 957.3 ± 213.4 pounds in the bench press and leg press, respectively. No interaction effects were observed for all hypertrophy and strength variables.

4-weeks of practical blood flow restriction training is as effective for inducing maximal bench press and leg press strength, as well as biceps muscle size and thigh muscle size, as compared to traditional resistance training, despite training at low percentages of subjects 1-RM.