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Influence of blood flow restriction training on the aerobic capacity: a systematic review and meta-analysis

  • Qun Yang1,†
  • Duan Ying Li1,†
  • Jia Xin He1
  • Zhi Yong Zhang1
  • Hong Wei Zhu1
  • Guo Xing Li2
  • Shi Cong Ding3
  • Xiao Ning Sun2,†,*,
  • Jian Sun1,†,*,

1Digitalized Performance Training Laboratory, Guang Zhou Sport of University, 510500 Guang Zhou, Guangdong, China

2Sports Training Institute, Guang Zhou Sport of University, 510500 Guang Zhou, Guangdong, China

3Guangdong Heavy Competitive Sports Training Center, 510500 Guang Zhou, Guangdong, China

DOI: 10.31083/j.jomh1803062 Vol.18,Issue 3,March 2022 pp.1-10

Submitted: 10 September 2021 Accepted: 22 November 2021

Published: 31 March 2022

*Corresponding Author(s): Xiao Ning Sun E-mail:
*Corresponding Author(s): Jian Sun E-mail:

† These authors contributed equally.


Background: Blood flow restriction training (also known as KAATSU training) uses professional equipment to apply pressure to the base of the limbs to limit the blood flow at the distal end of the limbs during exercise, thereby stimulating muscle growth and improving muscle strength with a low exercise intensity. This study aimed to conduct a meta-analysis on the effects of blood flow restriction training on aerobic capacity. Methods: A systematic review and quantitative evidence synthesis (QES) was used to examine the effects of blood flow restriction training on the aerobic capacity. A literature search was performed on relevant databases. Search engines used were MEDLINE, EMBASE, PubMed, Web of Science, SPORT-Discus, CINHAL, ScienceDirect, and the Cochrane Library. Search terms were KAATSU training, blood flow restriction training, and occlusion training. Thirteen articles (a total sample size of 246 participants) fulfilled the inclusion criteria and were included. Results: Blood flow restriction training promoted the improvement in aerobic capacity (standard mean difference (SMD) = 0.40, 95% confidence interval (CI) (0.14–0.66), I2 = 0%, p < 0.01), showing no publication bias. In subgroup analysis, intervention methods, and intervention frequencies had different effects on aerobic capacity. Conclusions: Blood flow restriction training, which is a low intensity exercise, significantly affected aerobic capacity. Twelve blood flow restriction training sessions a week achieved significantly better results than a frequency of two to four training sessions per week. A daily blood flow restriction training session of 6 to 30 min significantly improved aerobic capacity.


Blood flow restriction training; Aerobic capacity; Maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max); Meta-analysis

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Qun Yang,Duan Ying Li,Jia Xin He,Zhi Yong Zhang,Hong Wei Zhu,Guo Xing Li,Shi Cong Ding,Xiao Ning Sun,Jian Sun. Influence of blood flow restriction training on the aerobic capacity: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Men's Health. 2022. 18(3);1-10.


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