Can KAATSU Exercise Cause Rhabdomyolysis?

Research paper by Brian C BC Clark, Todd M TM Manini

Indexed on: 18 Feb '16Published on: 18 Feb '16Published in: Clinical journal of sport medicine : official journal of the Canadian Academy of Sport Medicine


In recent years, there has been increasing interest in using low-load resistance exercise in combination with a reduction in blood flow to promote muscle adaptation (ie, blood flow-restricted exercise or KAATSU exercise). There has been 1 case study reported in the literature of this type of exercise resulting in exertional rhabdomyolysis, and herein, we report the second case of exertional rhabdomyolysis. In this case, a 20-year-old man performed 6 sets of blood flow-restricted exercise (3 sets of knee-extension and 3 sets of elbow-flexion exercise). The subject presented with high levels of delayed onset muscle soreness in the days after the exercise bout exhibited high levels of creatine kinase (peak recorded: 36 000 IU/L), and was hospitalized for exertional rhabdomyolysis. We urge that investigators and practitioners use caution with blood flow-restricted exercise protocols and to begin these exercise programs modestly and gradually progress them with time.