Continuous blood flow restriction during repeated‐sprint exercise increases peripheral but not systemic physiological and perceptual demands


This study examined the impact of continuous blood flow restriction (BFR) during repeated‐sprint exercise (RSE) on acute performance, peripheral, systemic physiological, and perceptual responses. In a randomized crossover design, 26 adult male semi‐professional and amateur team‐sport players completed two RSE sessions (3 sets of 5 × 5‐s sprints with 25 s of passive recovery and 3 min of rest) with continuous BFR (45% arterial occlusion; excluding during between‐set rest periods) or without (non‐BFR). Mean and peak power output were significantly lower (p textless 0.001) during BFR compared to non‐BFR (dz = 0.85 and 0.77, respectively). Minimum tissue saturation index during the sprints and rest periods was significantly reduced (p textless 0.001) for BFR (dz = 1.26 and 1.21, respectively). Electromyography root mean square was significantly decreased (p textless 0.01) for biceps femoris and lateral gastrocnemius muscles during BFR (dz = 0.35 and 0.79, respectively), but remained unchanged for the vastus lateralis muscle in both conditions. Oxygen consumption and minute ventilation were significantly reduced (both p textless 0.01) for BFR (dz = 1.46 and 0.43, respectively). Perceived limb discomfort was significantly higher (p textless 0.001) for BFR (dz = 0.78). No differences (p textgreater 0.05) in blood lactate concentration or rating of perceived exertion were observed between conditions. Blood flow‐restricted RSE reduced performance and likely increased the physiological and perceptual stimulus for the periphery with greater reliance on anaerobic glycolysis, despite comparable or decreased systemic demands.

European Journal of Sport Science