Edinburgh, Scotland
Saturday 27th August 2011

Following on from a discussion I had with my friend, Cedric (Unholz) in response to the blog postings on occlusion training, Cedric has forwarded me a really interesting paper today that may provide some more solid reasoning as to why occlusion training may enhance muscular adaptations to training.

The paper by Wagner (2011) investigates oxygen dynamics on an intracellular level & reports some physiological changes in response to endurance or maximal exercise that, on the face of it, appear quite surprising.  Delving a little deeper, however, these apparent contradictions within the intracellular system may actually be the catalysts to promoting adaptation in response to exercise.

The main discussion centres around the dramatic fall in intracellular oxygen pressure (PO2), which occurs when moving from rest to exercise.  Whilst conventional thought would probably consider oxygen transport on a more macroscopic level & expect a knock-on effect from the increasing oxygen uptake brought about by greater pulmonary, cardiovascular, haematological & musculoskeletal activity, the intracellular PO2 actually falls from 4kPa to about 0.4 0.5kPa.

The authors propose that this fall is pivotal in optimizing the physiological transport of oxygen & stimulating the adaptive gene expression (which is where the link to greater exercise capacity comes in), whilst at the same time remaining sufficiently high enough to maximally drive oxidative phosphorylation & support intense muscle contraction.

Have a read through & I would welcome any thoughts that come to mind!


Wagner, P.D. (2011) Muscle intracellular oxygenation during exercise: optimization for oxygen transport, metabolism, & adaptive change.  Eur J Appl Physiol, published online: 22.04.11

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