Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Exercise and Sport Science

First Advisor

James M. Larkin

Department Affiliation

Exercise and Sport Science

Second Advisor

Michael T. Lane

Department Affiliation

Exercise and Sport Science

Third Advisor

Aaron D. Sciascia

Department Affiliation

Exercise and Sport Science


PURPOSE: To determine the effects of practical blood flow restriction training on body composition and muscular strength in college-aged individuals when compared to a traditional resistance training protocol. METHODS: This study consisted of two randomized groups, an experimental group (BFR), and a traditional resistance training (TRT) control group. The 9 subjects' characteristics were 8 males, 1 female; age: 22 ± 2 years; height: 175 ±7.6 centimeters; weight: 83.4±18.1 kg.; body fat percentage: 21±9%. All participants completed pre-testing measures of girth of both arms and legs, upper chest, and shoulders. Body composition was determined using air displacement plethysmography via BodPod (COSMED USA, INC., Concord, CA) to determine fat free mass and body fat percentage. Maximal strength was assessed on the bench press and back squat to determine workloads during the training programs. Both groups completed a four-week training program consisting of both upper and lower body training. The BFR program consisted of four sets (1 set x 30 repetitions and 3 sets x 15 repetitions). Loads progressed from 20 to 32% of each person's 1RM over the four weeks. The TRT program consisted of four sets with progressive loads of 65%, 75%, 80% and 85% with 15, 10, 8, and 6 repetitions respectively. Post testing measures followed the pre-testing regimen. Within and between group differences from pre-to post testing were determined via paired and independent t-tests. RESULTS: No significant differences were found among any of the body composition measurements as well as squat performance. The BFR group demonstrated significantly greater increases in bench press performance (pre: 198 ±79 lbs.; post: 211±83 lbs.) after the training program (p=0.004) compared to the TRT group. CONCLUSION: In a limited sample, BFR training was shown to be a comparable training method when compared to traditional hypertrophy training. The findings were specific to increases in bench press performance.