In the May 2013 MSSE, we feature a study about KAATSU training reported by Weatherholt et al. In KAATSU training, resistance exercise is performed using much lower external loads than with traditional resistance training, but exercises are performed wearing pneumatic cuffs that restrict blood flow to active muscles. Significant muscle hypertrophy and strength adaptations develop with KAATSU training, suggesting that KAATSU might be an effective alternative for persons unable to perform traditional resistance training. However, KAATSU training also produces high ratings of perceived exertion and significant pain. Weatherholt et al.’s report suggests that KAATSU training protocols can be modified to reduce discomfort and perception of effort associated with blood flow–restricted exercise, while retaining efficacy, albeit reduced, for stimulating functional and morphological adaptations. Whereas previous research explored how varying loads, repetitions, and the degree of blood flow restriction influenced muscle responses to KAATSU training [for example, see Cook et al., Effects of exercise load and blood-flow restriction on skeletal muscle function, Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 2007;39(10):1708–13, which is also featured this month for your review], the new findings illustrate how modifications in KAATSU training could make this training approach suitable for a wider range of people than previously thought.
An interesting and potentially important basic science study reported in MSSE’s May issue by Osawa et al. could contribute to an advance in clinical treatment protocols for repair of meniscal injuries. Using a laboratory animal model of meniscus tear, Osawa et al. demonstrated that intracapsular administration of meniscus-derived stem cells enhanced tissue repair at the wound site, apparently attributable to the stem-cell facilitation of meniscal tissue regeneration.
Also featured in this month’s issue is Pérusse et al.’s, “Advances in Exercise, Fitness, and Performance Genomics in 2012.” MSSE’s regular readers will recognize this as the annual review of research selected by Dr. Claude Bouchard and his colleagues to reflect the most important contributions in exercise genomics. One important observation offered by the authors is that researchers continue over-rely on observational genomics investigations, when studies employing controlled experimental interventions to investigate genomic regulatory mechanisms will provide much more important advances in understanding.
I look forward to seeing you at our meeting in Indianapolis later this month!