Vascular occlusion training.

Vascular occlusion training, also known as blood flow restriction training or occlusion training, is a technique that involves restricting the blood flow to a muscle while exercising. This method has been gaining popularity among athletes and fitness enthusiasts. The training method stimulates muscle hypertrophy, increases strength, and endurance, and improves overall physical performance with less joint stress[1].

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How does vascular occlusion training work?

The technique involves using a device such as a specialized tourniquet or wraps to partially occlude the venous blood flow from the muscles, while partially restricting arterial blood flow. This causes a build-up of metabolic waste products in the muscle, which leads to cellular stress and triggers an adaptive response from the body[2].

Why is a build-up of metabolic waste a good thing?

If you have read my post about “How to increase muscle size?” you will know about the benefits of metabolic stress in the muscles for stimulating growth.

Vascular occlusion training is an effective method to increase metabolic stress in the muscles. Think about it as altitude training. The low oxygen level at altitude triggers adaptions in the body that improves your ability to utilize your oxygen. In the same vein, the limited blood flow to your muscles triggers adaptions in your muscles.

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Benefits of vascular occlusion training.

Studies have shown that vascular occlusion training can produce results similar to traditional high-intensity resistance training but with lighter weights and shorter training sessions[3]. Which makes it ideal for sports enthusiasts with limited time for training.
The technique has also been found to have potential benefits for rehabilitation and recovery from injury[4].

Risks of vascular occlusion training.

However, there are certain risks associated with vascular occlusion training, such as an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis, rhabdomyolysis, and nerve damage if not performed correctly[5].

Therefore, it is crucial to follow proper protocols and guidelines when performing vascular occlusion training, and it is recommended to consult with a qualified trainer or healthcare professional before attempting this technique.


In conclusion, Vascular occlusion training is a promising technique for improving muscle hypertrophy, strength, and endurance, with potential benefits for rehabilitation and recovery. However, it should be approached with caution and performed under proper guidance and protocols.


  1. Loenneke, J. P., Wilson, J. M., & Wilson, G. J. (2010). A mechanistic approach to blood flow occlusion. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 31(01), 1-4.
  2. Yasuda, T., Loenneke, J. P., Thiebaud, R. S., Abe, T., & Fujita, S. (2014). Effects of blood flow restricted low-intensity concentric or eccentric training on muscle size and strength. PloS one, 9(2), e94609.
  3. Lixandrão, M. E., Ugrinowitsch, C., Berton, R., Vechin, F. C., Conceição, M. S., Damas, F., … & Libardi, C. A. (2016). The magnitude of muscle strength and mass adaptations between high-load resistance training versus low-load resistance training associated with blood-flow restriction: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Medicine, 46(2), 389-403.
  4. Hughes, L., & Paton, B. (2019). Blood flow restriction training in rehabilitation: a case report. International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, 26(9), 1-6.
  5. Wernbom, M., Augustsson, J., & Thomeé, R. (2007). Risk factors for developing delayed-onset muscle soreness in young women after muscle-damaging exercise. Physiotherapy, 93(4), 245-252.