Effects of 4-Week Low-Load Resistance Training with Blood Flow Restriction on Muscle Strength and Left Ventricular Function in Young Swimmers: A Pilot Randomized Trial

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Wang Z., ATAKAN M. M., ACAR B., Xiong R., Peng L.

Journal of Human Kinetics, vol.88, pp.63-76, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 88
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.5114/jhk/163013
  • Journal Name: Journal of Human Kinetics
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, SportDiscus
  • Page Numbers: pp.63-76
  • Keywords: left ventricular function, muscle strength, occlusion training, resistance exercise, young males
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Low-load resistance training combined with blood flow restriction (BFR) is known to result in muscle hypertrophy and strength similar to that observed with higher loads. However, the effects of resistance training with BFR on cardiac structure and cardiac function remain largely unknown. Therefore, the purpose of this randomized study was to compare the effects of conventional high-load resistance training (HL-RT) with the effects of low-load resistance training with BFR (LL-BFR) on muscle strength and left ventricular function. Sixteen young swimmers (mean ± standard deviation: age = 19.7 ± 1.6 years, body mass = 78.9 ± 9.7 kg, body height = 180.8 ± 5.8 cm) were randomly allocated to a conventional HL-RT group (n = 8) or a LL-BFR group (n = 8) with a pressure band (200 mmHg) placed on both thighs of participants for 4 weeks (3 days·week-1). Outcome measures were taken at baseline and after 4 weeks of training, and included body composition, one-repetition maximum (1RM) back squat, and echocardiography measures. The 1RM back squat significantly improved (partial eta squared (Ƞ2) = 0.365; p = 0.013) in HL-RT (mean difference (Δ) = 6.6 kg; [95% confidence interval (CI) −7.09 to 20.27]) and LL-BFR groups (Δ = 14.7 kg; [95% CI 3.39 to 26.10]), with no main effect of group or group × time interaction (p > 0.05). Interventricular septum end-systolic thickness showed a slight but statistically significant increase in LL-BFR and HL-RT groups (Ƞ2 = 0.253; p = 0.047), yet there was no main effect of group or group × time interaction (p > 0.05). There were no statistically significant changes (p > 0.05) in other cardiac structure or function parameters (e.g., left ventricular (LV) mass, LV cardiac output, LV ejection fraction, LV stroke volume) after the training programs. Results suggest that 4 weeks of HL-RT and LL-BFR improve muscle strength similarly with limited effects on left ventricular function in young swimmers.