Journal of Trainology



May 2024; Vol. 13, No. 1: Pages 3-11

A systematic review examining blood flow restriction in combination with isokinetic resistance exercise

John J. Welsh, Drew M. Robinson, Scott J. Dankel


Objectives: Many studies have examined the efficacy of blood flow restriction (BFR) applied during isotonic muscle actions, but its application with isokinetic exercise has been less explored and was the purpose of this systematic review. Design: Systematic Review. Methods: The online databases of Pubmed, Scopus, and Web of Science were searched on May 16, 2023 using the following search: "blood flow restriction OR kaatsu" OR occlusion AND isokinetic." To be included in this review, the manuscripts had to incorporate human participants, involve the use of BFR during isokinetic exercise, and be written in English. Given limited studies comparing the same exercise completed with and without BFR, a quantitative meta-analysis was not completed. Results: Twenty-one studies met the inclusion criteria, most of which incorporated concentric isokinetic contractions at 30% of peak torque using 40-60% of arterial occlusion pressure. Acutely, the addition of BFR did not appear to increase heart rate, blood pressure, muscle swelling, blood flow, or delayed onset muscle soreness, but it did increase markers of muscle activation. Chronically, the addition of BFR did not appear to enhance muscle hypertrophy, but augmentations in muscle strength depended on the speed and type of contraction. Conclusion: The use of BFR during isokinetic exercise does not appear as effective when compared to isotonic exercise. Future studies may wish to examine different intensities and speeds of isokinetic exercises to determine its potential efficacy.

Received March 14, 2024; accepted May 15, 2024