Is Occlusion Training Even Necessary?

February 02, 2015 | John Paul Catanzaro

Occlusion training has received quite a bit of attention over the past two decades. If you are not familiar with the method, read Brad Schoenfeld’s article Blood Flow Restriction Training.

Yes, occlusion training can build muscle if implemented properly, but there are some potential risks. Do the benefits outweigh the risks, and is occlusion training even necessary?

A recent study found that blood-flow restricted resistance training and low-load traditional resistance training, when performed to fatigue, produce equal muscle hypertrophy, which may partly rely on transient exercise-induced increases in muscle water content.

Furthermore, in a prior discussion, I mentioned a paper by Burd et al., 2012 suggesting that intensities as low as 30% of maximum strength, when lifted to volitional fatigue, are equally effective at stimulating muscle protein synthesis as heavier training intensities (∼70%-80% of maximal strength).

It seems that occlusion training is not necessary. Low-intensity resistance training conducted to volitional fatigue seems to do the job just as well.