We investigated the effects of 8 weeks (3 days per week) of running interval training (RIT) combined with blood flow restriction (RIT-BFR) on the maximal running performance (RPmax), isokinetic muscle strength, and muscle endurance in athletes. Twenty endurance-trained male runners were pair-matched and randomly assigned to the RIT-BFR and RIT groups. The RIT-BFR group performed RIT (50% heart rate reserve, 5 sets of 3 min each, and 1-min rest interval) with inflatable cuffs (1.3× resting systolic blood pressure), and the RIT group performed the same RIT without inflatable cuffs. RPmax, isokinetic muscle strength, and muscle endurance were assessed at pre-, mid-, and post-training. Compared with the RIT group, the RIT-BFR group exhibited a significantly (p < 0.05) greater increase in RPmax, isokinetic knee extensor and flexor strength, and knee extensor endurance after 24 training sessions. These results suggested that RIT-BFR may be a feasible training strategy for improving muscular fitness and endurance running performance in distance runners.
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