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Purpose:

Recent studies have shown that low-intensity resistance training with vascular occlusion (kaatsu training) induces muscle hypertrophy. A local hypoxic environment facilitates muscle hypertrophy during kaatsu training. We postulated that muscle hypertrophy can be more efficiently induced by placing the entire body in a hypoxic environment to induce muscle hypoxia followed by resistance training.

Methods:

Fourteen male university students were randomly assigned to hypoxia (Hyp) and normoxia (Norm) groups (n = 7 per group). Each training session proceeded at an exercise intensity of 70% of 1 repetition maximum (RM), and comprised four sets of 10 repetitions of elbow extension and fexion. Students exercised twice weekly for 6 wk and then muscle hypertrophy was assessed by magnetic resonance imaging and muscle strength was evaluated based on 1RM.

Results:

Muscle hypertrophy was significantly greater for the Hyp-Ex (exercised fexor of the hypoxia group) than for the Hyp-N (nonexercised fexor of the hypoxia group) or Norm-Ex fexor (P < .05, Bonferroni correction). Muscle hypertrophy was significantly greater for the Hyp-Ex than the Hyp-N extensor. Muscle strength was significantly increased early (by week 3) in the Hyp-Ex, but not in the Norm-Ex group.

Conclusion:

This study suggests that resistance training under hypoxic conditions improves muscle strength and induces muscle hypertrophy faster than under normoxic conditions, thus representing a promising new training technique.

Akinobu Nishimura is with the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Mie University Graduate School of Medicine, Tsu City, Mie Prefecture, Japan.Masaaki Sugita is with the Department of Health and Physical Education, Mie University Faculty of Education, Tsu City, Mie Prefecture, Japan.Ko Kato is with the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Mie University Graduate School of Medicine, Tsu City, Mie Prefecture, Japan.Aki Fukuda is with the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Suzuka Kaisei Hospital, Suzuka, Japan.Akihiro Sudo is with the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Mie University Graduate School of Medicine, Tsu City, Mie Prefecture, Japan, and Atsumasa Uchida is with the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Mie University Graduate School of Medicine, Tsu City, Mie Prefecture, Japan.

International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance