Resistance Band for Exercise

Resistance Band for Exercise

Hypoxia is a condition where the body is not getting sufficient oxygen. So why would you use hypoxia as a means to increase muscle strength?

I am not sure if you've seen them before, but I recently came across bands that you can strap around your arms or legs.

The bands reduce the flow of blood into a particular area of your body. You then exercise that area of your body with reduced blood and oxygen flow.

Kaatsu bands, or blood occulsion bands, popularized the concept. So why did it become popular? 

The idea behind the concept is the same as altitude training. If you recall, we have spoken before about training at high altitudes and competing at low altitudes. 

When you do that, your body makes more red blood cells to compensate for the lack of oxygen. If you do this repeatedly, your total red blood cell count goes up. 

The idea is to do the same thing with muscle training, except you are doing it inside your home using Kaatsu bands. 

Even with moderate training, you can increase your metabolic stress. Doing so releases hormones and growth factors, leaving you stronger and fitter than before. 

So, should you be using Kaatsu bands? The answer is that it depends.

If you are starting your fitness journey, consistency and regularity are key. 

If you are already walking regularly, doing strength training at least twice a week, and now want to improve your capacity, looking at restricted blood flow could be interesting. 

Red blood cells are the carriers of oxygen everywhere in your body. With the same amount of oxygen intake, the actual distribution of oxygen to your muscles can vary. 

SMO2 measures the amount of oxygen in your muscles. Therefore, increasing muscle oxygenation through increased red blood cells can improve performance.

But as always, calibrate your interventions to your actual fitness level before you try something innovative. 

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