Comparative Effects of Vigorous-Intensity and Low-Intensity Blood Flow Restricted Cycle Training and Detraining on Muscle Mass, Strength, and Aerobic Capacity.

Academic Article


  • Traditional high-intensity aerobic training has been shown to improve muscle protein synthesis and aerobic capacity; however, recent research indicates that low-intensity aerobic training with blood flow restriction (BFR) may have similar effects. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of vigorous-intensity (VI) cycling vs. low-intensity cycling with BFR (LI-BFR) on muscle mass, strength, and aerobic capacity after training and subsequent detraining. Thirty-one physically active subjects were assigned to one of 3 groups: VI (n = 10, 60-70% heart rate reserve [HRR]), LI-BFR (n = 11, 30% HRR with BFR at 160-180 mm Hg), and no exercise control (n = 10, no exercise). Subjects in VI and LI-BFR cycled 3 times per week for 6 weeks (total 18 sessions). Body composition, muscle mass, strength, and aerobic capacity were measured pre, post, and after 3 weeks of detraining. A group × time interaction (p = 0.019) effect for both knee flexion and leg lean mass was found. For both VI and LI-BFR groups, knee flexion strength was significantly increased between pre and post (p = 0.024, p = 0.01) and between pre and 3 week-post (p = 0.039, p = 0.003), respectively. For the LI-BFR group, leg lean mass was significantly increased between pre and 3 week-post (p = 0.024) and between post and 3 week-post (p = 0.013). However, there were no significant differences between groups for any variables. The LI-BFR elicits an increase in the knee flexion muscle strength over time similar to the VI. An increase in the leg lean mass over time was seen in the LI-BFR, but not in VI and CON.
  • Keywords

  • Adult, Bicycling, Body Composition, Capacity Building, Exercise, Exercise Tolerance, Humans, Male, Muscle Strength, Muscle, Skeletal, Regional Blood Flow, Resistance Training
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kim D; Singh H; Loenneke JP; Thiebaud RS; Fahs CA; Rossow LM; Young K; Seo D-I; Bemben DA; Bemben MG
  • Start Page

  • 1453
  • End Page

  • 1461
  • Volume

  • 30
  • Issue

  • 5