Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: What’s more effective, occlusion training or traditional resistance training?
A group of American scientists asked themselves that exact question. The criteria for inclusion in the study were planned unilateral anterior criteria ligament surgery, non-smoker status and no chronic diseases.
Among others, exclusion criteria included frequent ligament tears, rheumatism, a history of deep vein thrombosis and other vascular issues in the legs, injections in the knee joint during the last six months, the taking of blood-thinning medications, and the wearing of a knee brace. Twenty-eight patients participated in the study. Following a guiding exam, patients were randomised into one of two groups.
The first group was assigned occlusion training at 30 per cent repetition maximum (1RM); the second group was assigned standard hypertrophy training at 70 per cent 1RM. Strength and muscle composition – along with, incidentally, function, balance and pain – were assessed pre-surgery and post-surgery, at the midway point in the training protocol, and at the conclusion of the training. Both groups performed the standard rehabilitation programme, exercising at home three days a week. Only the resistance training was different.
Guided by an instructor, both groups worked out both legs unilaterally on the leg press twice a week for eight weeks; in total, 16 units were completed, and they were supposed to be at least 48 hours apart. Everyone started with a five-minute warm-up on the bicycle ergometer. They then performed ten unilateral repetitions on the leg press with a weight of their own choosing, followed by a five-minute break. Following that, for the first group, were four training sets (one time 30 and three times 15 reps with a set break of 30 seconds each) at 80 per cent of the minimum pressure required to completely occlude the vessels with a pressure cuff.
The second group performed three times ten reps (set break 30 seconds). The occlusion training resulted in muscle strength and size improvements comparable to those of conventional hypertrophy training; in terms of function, balance, knee pain, knee effusion and range of motion, it was superior.
Source: Hughes L, et al. 2019. Comparing the effectiveness of blood flow restriction and traditional heavy load resistance training in the post-surgery rehabilitation of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction patients: a UK National Health Service randomised controlled trial. Sports Med. Jul 12. [Epub ahead of print] Link to the abstract: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31301034
This article is based on: Röder J. et al. 2019. Evidenz Update 10 2019. Z. f. Physiotherapeuten 71;10:74 www.physiotherapeuten.de