Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Dr. Greg Marsh


Blood flow restriction training (BFRT) has been suggested to increase muscle size and strength in trained and untrained individuals when using light load intensities (30 percent 1-RM). However, there is little data to support its use when working with moderate load intensities, specifically, above 50 percent of an individual’s 1-RM. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of moderate load intensity BFRT on muscle size and strength of the biceps brachii after a 12 week strength training intervention. Nine, previously strength trained, participants performed an elbow flexion exercise at 70 percent of their individualized 1-RM, twice per week, while blood flow of the brachial artery was reduced by 50 percent in the dominant (right) arm. Biceps brachii muscle mass, and maximal isometric voluntary contractions were assessed before and after training. Biceps muscle mass did not significantly increase after the 12 week training period in either arm, (BFRT arm = 1.85%, non-BFRT arm 3.01%), (p = 0.249). There were no significant differences in isometric arm strength between pre and post training, BFRT arm: (pre: 88.5 + 16.6, vs. post: 87.2 + 16 Nm), non-BFRT arm: (pre: 87.8 + 18.8, vs. post: 85.6 + 20.2 Nm), (p = 0.407). Therefore, we conclude that unlike low load intensity BFRT, performing BFRT at higher load intensities does not augment muscle growth or muscular strength in trained, young, men when compared to normal strength training alone.

Keywords: Biceps brachii, Blood flow restriction training, 1-repetition maximum, Isometric contraction, Maximal voluntary contraction, Strength training