Authors:Robert Thiebaud, J.P. Loenneke, C.A. Fahs, D. Kim, X. Ye, T. Abe, K. Nosaka and M.G. Bemben
Discrepancies exist whether blood flow restriction (BFR) exacerbates exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD). This study compared low-intensity eccentric contractions of the elbow flexors with and without BFR for changes in indirect markers of muscle damage. Nine untrained young men (18–26 y) performed low-intensity (30% 1RM) eccentric contractions (2-s) of the elbow flexors with one arm assigned to BFR and the other arm without BFR. EIMD markers of maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVC) torque, range of motion (ROM), upper arm circumference, muscle thickness and muscle soreness were measured before, immediately after, 1, 2, 3, and 4 days after exercise. Electromyography (EMG) amplitude of the biceps brachii and brachioradialis were recorded during exercise. EMG amplitude was not significantly different between arms and did not significantly change from set 1 to set 4 for the biceps brachii but increased for the brachioradialis (p ≤ 0.05, 12.0% to 14.5%) when the conditions were combined. No significant differences in the changes in any variables were found between arms. MVC torque decreased 7% immediately post-exercise (p ≤ 0.05), but no significant changes in ROM, circumference, muscle thickness and muscle soreness were found. These results show that BFR does not affect EIMD by low-intensity eccentric contractions.