Faculty Advisor(s)

Kelley Moran



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Background: Blood flow restriction (BFR) training has been reported to have significant benefits on local skeletal muscle growth including increasing local muscle mass, strength, and endurance while exercising with lower resistance. As a result, patients unable to perform traditional resistance training may benefit from this technique. However, it is unclear what effects BFR may have on other body systems, such as cardiovascular/pulmonary. It is important to explore the systemic effects of BFR training to ensure it is safe for use in physical therapy.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to systematically review the systemic effects of blood flow restriction training when combined with exercise intervention.

Design: A systematic review.

Key methods: Three literature searches were performed: June 2019, September 2019, and January 2020; using MedLine, ScienceDirect, PubMed, Cochrane Reviews and CINAHL Complete. Articles included in this review were analyzed with the CEBM levels of evidence hierarchy and PEDro scale.

Results:35 articles were included in the review. PEDro scores ranged between 4 and 8, and had a level of evidence between 1 and 2. Common systems studied included cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, endocrine and psychosomatic.

Conclusions: Although results vary, the majority have reported evidence that BFR training produces some systemic effects on the human body. BFR training may be an effective intervention for patient populations that are unable to perform traditional resistance exercise training.

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Document Type



Physical Therapy


blood flow restriction training, systemic effects


Medicine and Health Sciences

The Systemic Effects of Blood Flow Restriction Training: A Systematic Review