Muscle Building, Recovery, Low Joint Stress: Blood Flow Restriction with Kaatsu
This past May, I attended the Paleo Fx Conference for the second time. While there, I tried out all sorts of products from food to recovery supplements to muscle building equipment and techniques. One such product that caught my eye was Kaatsu and I gave it a whirl.
The friendly gentleman at the Kaatsu booth strapped a cuff on each arm and turned on the machine. The cuffs inflated with air and felt pretty much like I was having my blood pressure taken. At this point the cuffs were feeling REEEEEALY snug and I was instructed to do some isometric biceps exercises. No weights, just flexing those arms and moving them in a bicep curl motion. After a several minutes, my arms were feeling a little tingly and getting tired. As you can see in the picture below, my arms are looking all extra red and veiny. Finally, the cuffs were taken off and the next day, my biceps were SORE! And sore for several days after. You can’t beat a strength session like that, especially when you are dealing with any sort of joint issues. There is no stress on your joints! I was sold.
Recently I had the privilege of interviewing Steve Munatones President & Co-founder of KAATSU Global, Inc. Read more to find out how this device can help you build muscle to epic proportions with minimal time and stress on your joints!
What is KAATSU?
Steve Munatones: It is a form of athletic training, rehabilitation and recovery invented in Japan by Dr. Yoshiaki Sato in 1966. Its protocols were tested and researched throughout the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s by various Japanese academics, researchers, clinicians, and physicians including cardiologists at the University of Tokyo Hospital.
KAATSU consists of 4 pneumatic bands that are applied to the user’s upper arms and upper legs. The compression of these bands is controlled for safety by an easy-to-use, lightweight control unit with a touch screen panel and memory.
KAATSU is used to maintain or increase muscular strength and size without using heavy weights or resistance. It is also used to avoid muscle atrophy and stimulate the secretion of Growth Hormone. KAATSU training can exhaust even the most physically fit athlete within minutes without weights. This form of exercise can be done by the busiest executives or stay-at-home parents.
How does KAATSU training work?
The compression engorges the limbs with blood, sending blood to the limbs’ most remote capillaries and dilating blood vessels. The elasticity of the capillaries is increased with the repeated applying and relieving of pressure, improving circulation.
Additionally, this leads to the secretion of nitric oxide and the building of lactic acid in the blood, tricking the brain into thinking that more strenuous and prolonged exercise is taking place. This results in the brain releasing human growth hormone.
Some of the benefits of KAATSU’s 5-20 minute training sessions are:
- The growth and strengthening of muscle
- The improvement of metabolism
- The acceleration of injury repair
- Increased cardio stamina
In short, KAATSU training provides the user with health benefits derived through the body’s natural physiological reactions when doing simple movements while the limbs are engorged with blood.
Who uses KAATSU?
Steve Munatones: Since KAATSU Global was established in 2014, KAATSU equipment and protocols have been used by dozens of professional teams in the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and MLS, dozens of universities from the University of Alabama and MIT to UC San Diego to University of Missouri, Navy SEALs, Army Rangers, West Point, Air Force Academy, NASA, governing bodies from US Ski & Snowboard Association and USA Rugby to USA Volleyball and USA Track & Field, big-wave surfers, motocross racers, triathletes, Olympic swimmers, water polo players, and wrestlers, executives at Facebook, Microsoft, and William Morris Endeavor, chiropractors, and physical therapists. But a vast majority of KAATSU users are Baby Boomers and non-athletes to maintain muscle tone and rehabilitate from injuries.
Why do people use KAATSU?
Steve Munatones: Primarily to improve athletic performance, to enhance rehabilitation, to recover from workouts or stress, to provide a cardio workout as well as to build strength and improve range of motion for people at any age.
Why do KAATSU and not traditional training?
Steve Munatones: KAATSU can be done anywhere at anytime. You can do KAATSU in your work cubicle, in your hotel room, in an airplane seat, in a swimming pool, while walking or at the gym. It is efficient and a full workout that can be done under 20 minutes or simply as an enhancement to your current training regimen.
Secondarily, you can tone/strengthen your body without weights and therefore can reduce the stress on your ligaments or tendons.
Why KAATSU and not other forms of BFR?
Steve Munatones: KAATSU is the original form of blood flow moderation that spurred the industry. It has been tested more, researched more, and used by a vastly greater number of users. However, there is plenty of misinformation online about all kinds of BFR and KAATSU. KAATSU Global spends much of its time to educate people about the safe and effective forms of blood flow moderation training.
What other leading BFR companies are there?
Steve Munatones: Delfi Portable Tourniquet System and B Strong.
Is KAATSU portable?
Steve Munatones: Yes! You can use Kaatsu literally anywhere; at work, in a hotel, in a pool, in an airplane, in a park, at home or in a gym.
Where can you obtain KAATSU?
Steve Munatones: Online at www.kaatsu-global.com.
What are some examples of KAATSU training?
5-time Olympic Medalist- sprinter Justin Gatlin:
2-time Olympic Medalist- (skier Ted Ligety:
2014 Olympic Flag Bearer- ski jumper Todd Lodwick:
Harvard Medical School Professor of neurology Peter Lansbury, Ph.D.:
KAATSU Aqua for Competitive Swimming
KAATSU Aqua Strength Training:
Heart Attack Victim using KAATSU Aqua: (MI post 10 weeks)