This study investigated the effects of twice daily sessions of low-intensity resistance training (LIT, 20% of 1-RM) with restriction of muscular venous blood flow (namely “LIT-Kaatsu” training) for two weeks on skeletal muscle size and circulating insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). Nine young men performed LIT-Kaatsu and seven men performed LIT alone. Training was conducted two times / day, six days / week for 2 weeks using 3 sets of two dynamic exercises (squat and leg curl). Muscle cross-sectional area (CSA) and volume were measured by magnetic resonance imaging at baseline and 3 days after the last training session (post-testing). Mid-thigh muscle-bone CSA was calculated from thigh girth and adipose tissue thickness, which were measured every morning prior to the training session. Serum IGF-1 concentration was measured at baseline, mid-point of the training and post-testing. Increases in squat (17%) and leg curl (23%) one-RM strength in the LIT-Kaatsu were higher (p<0.05) than those of the LIT (9% and 2%). There was a gradual increase in circulating IGF-1 and muscle-bone CSA (both p<0.01) in the LIT-Kaatsu, but not in the LIT. Increases in quadriceps, biceps femoris and gluteus maximus muscle volume were, respectively, 7.7%, 10.1% and 9.1% for LIT-Kaatsu (p<0.01) and 1.4%, 1.9% and -0.6% for LIT (p>0.05). There was no difference (p>0.05) in relative strength (1-RM / muscle CSA) between baseline and post-testing in both groups. We concluded that skeletal muscle hypertrophy and strength gain occurred after two weeks of twice daily LIT-Kaatsu training.
2005 Japan Kaatsu Training Society