Extreme Muscle Training

by Mackenzie M. | April 8th, 2013 | Strength Training, Upper Body

armsJapan’s forms of strength training are known and practiced around the world. From the martial art of karate, to the sword fighting techniques of kendo, Japanese forms of strength training require a huge amount of concentration and dedication. One lesser known strength training techniques has become increasingly popular around the world only in the last few years. Kaatsu is known for its strange method, but also for its incredible ability to stimulate muscle growth. While some call kaatsu too intense, others swear by it for building a muscular upper body.

Unlike the ancient arts of karate and kendo, the kaatsu strength training method is the brainchild of a group of Japanese scientists and body builder, Yoshiaki Sato. In 1966, Sato participated in a Buddhist ceremony that involved kneeling for so long that the blood flow was cut off to his calves. Sato realized that the sensation in his calves was strikingly similar to the feeling after a long training session. Sato came up with the idea of training muscles using restricted blood flow and decided to have it proven by scientists. Since the exercise is so new and not much information is known about it, kaatsu has caused problems for athletes around the world due to its intense nature.

Kaatsu is performed by using cuffs to restrict blow flow to the muscles being exercised. This is often used in exercises of the upper body region. In technical terms, kaatsu “involves compressing the vasculature proximal to the exercising muscles to reduce blow flow to the limb.” Mounting scientific evidence has proven that this technique can serve as a great stimulator of muscle growth and strength building even when performed at surprisingly low intensities. This means that instead of lifting a hundred pound weight, an athlete can build upper body strength using the kaatsu cuffs with a fifty pound weight at half of the rep time. In fact, the exercise can build strength in so little time, the even its inventor was hospitalized due to the overworking of the leg and arm muscles.

While the general public can perform this activity as a way to build upper body strength, it is best to sign up for gym that offers specialty kaatsu training. Kaatsu training, if not done in moderation, can pose severe health risks like blood clots and muscle tears. Scientist have performed several tests to find the right balance of pressure in the cuff with the weight being lifted. Scientists and training experts recommend starting out very slowly and progressing over long periods of time. For kaatsu, the cuffs can be inflated at different levels in order to cut off different amounts of blood. It is very important for a trained professional to monitor this training.

When done in the safe environment, kaatsu will build upper body strength at unfathomable rates. Muscles throughout the upper body will grow exponentially over shorter periods of time as compared to regular lifting. To build upper body strength in the kaatsu method, do some research and discover whether it is right for you.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.