Sexual Dimorphism in the Estimation of Upper-Limb Blood Flow Restriction in the Seated Position

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The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research


Arterial occlusion pressure (AOP) is typically used to normalize blood flow restriction (BFR) during low-intensity BFR exercise. Despite strong evidence for sexual dimorphism in muscle blood flow, sex-related differences in AOP estimation remain a controversial topic. We aimed at determining whether the relationship of upper-limb AOP with arm circumference and systolic blood pressure (BP) differs between men and women resting in the seated position. Sixty-two healthy young participants (31 men: 21.7 ± 2.3; 31 women: 22.0 ± 2.0 years) were included in this study. Arm circumference, resting BP, and AOP were taken in the seated position. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to determine whether the relationship of AOP with arm circumference and resting BP differed between sexes. Prediction accuracy was assessed with the mean absolute percent error and Bland-Altman plots. Men had higher systolic BP and larger arm circumference than women (p < 0.05). Nevertheless, AOP was similar between sexes. Arm circumference, systolic BP, and sex were all significant predictors of AOP (p < 0.05), explaining 42% of its variance. The absolute percent error was similar in both sexes (men: −0.55 ± 7.12; women: −0.39 ± 6.31%, p > 0.05). Bland-Altman plots showed that the mean difference between actual and estimated AOP was nearly zero in both groups, with no systematic overestimation or underestimation. In conclusion, arm circumference, systolic BP, and sex are all significant predictors of upper-limb–seated AOP. Their measurement allows for the indirect estimation of BFR pressure within the context of exercise training.


doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002582

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