Over the past two decades, blood flow restriction training (BFRT) has gained popularity not only in athletic performance training, but also with many researchers and physical therapists as an innovative rehabilitation tool. Blood flow restriction (BFR) exercise is a novel exercise modality in clinical settings, which induces muscle hypertrophy and increases strength with low to moderate training intensity through increased anabolic processes mediated by BFR (usually with cuff inflation). BFR limits arterial and venous blood flow and leads to blood pooling, which could increase the effects of exercise-induced training. Strength training at lower intensities (20–40% of maximum strength) in combination with BFR showed similar effects on muscle hypertrophy as training at 70% strength level without BFR. In this context, considering that periods of immobilization (or reduced functionality) due to pathology, injury, or surgery cause harmful effects on muscle mass and strength in both young and old people, muscular adaptations of occlusion exercise could be beneficial to the elderly and post-operative patients in rehabilitation regarding muscle regeneration. Furthermore, as this type of exercise does not require high loads, it might be a feasible method in cardiac rehabilitation. Therefore, this chapter aims to review all recent literature regarding the impact of low-load BFR resistance training in patients with cardiovascular pathologies on muscle strength and hypertrophy, vascular function, safety, cardiovascular responses, and inflammatory markers.
Part of the book: Contemporary Advances in Sports Science