The effects of practical muscle blood flow restriction training on running performance and physiology

Thumbnail Image
Other Title
Addis, Shalako
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Health Science
Eastern Institute of Technology
Paton, Carl
Taylor, Lee-Anne
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
New Zealand
blood flow restriction (BFR)
interval training
running performance
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Addis, S. M. (2016). The effects of practical muscle blood flow restriction training on running performance and physiology. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Health Science). Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT), New Zealand.
Performing training sessions in combination with blood flow restriction (BFR) has been shown to improve muscle mass and strength development. However few studies have investigated BFR effects on aerobic performance. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of BFR on both aerobic and anaerobic capacity after completing eight sessions of running interval training. Sixteen recreationally trained, male and females (age 24.9 ± 6.9 years, height 172.9 ± 7.8 cm, weight 75.1 ± 13.8 kg) initially completed an incremental treadmill test to determine maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max) followed by a time to exhaustion test (TTE) at peak running velocity to determine anaerobic capacity. Participants were then pair-matched based on their VO2max and randomly assigned into either a practical blood flow restriction (pBFR) group (n = 8) or a control (CON) group (n = 8) for four weeks of training. The interval sessions consisted of two to three sets of 5-8 minute (30 seconds work, 30 seconds rest) runs at 80% of peak treadmill test velocity (9.6 – 12.0 km.h-1). Following the initial training session (two sets of 5-min), 1-minute was progressively added to each set until the fifth session, where a third set was employed, beginning at 5-minutes. For the final two weeks, time was subsequently increased in the same manner as the first four sessions until a final session (three sets of 8-min) was completed. Elastic knee wraps was used for practically occluding the lower limbs in the pBFR group and wrap tightness was subjectively set at a pressure of 7/10. Oneway ANOVA was utilised to determine both within-group and between-group differences pre-post training. In addition, mean percentage changes and 90% confidence limits were estimated and magnitude of changes was analyzed using the Cohen effect size statistic. Maximal oxygen uptake increased in both the pBFR (6.3%) and CON (4.0%) cohorts following training. Similarly TTE increased by 26.9% and 17.0% respectively for the pBFR and CON groups. However there were no significant differences (p >0.05) in assessed physiological and performance measures between groups. Effect size statistics showed small beneficial improvements in peak running velocity (D= 0.34) and TTE (D= 0.31) in favor of the pBFR group compared to CON. In conclusion, eight sessions of running interval training with, and without blood flow restriction improved physiology and performance measures in recreationally trained individuals. Subjects using BFR experienced small positive adaptations in performance measures compared to the CON group. Further research using a larger sample size is required in order to elucidate the potential positive impact of BFR during training.
Link to ePress publication
Copyright holder
Copyright notice
All rights reserved
Copyright license
Available online at