An Introduction to KAATSU

Although KAATSU training was invented back in 1966 and perfected throughout the 1970s, and although it is practiced by Olympians, NASA employees, collegiate sports teams, and athletes in the MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL, it has only recently begun to be noticed by the general public in the Unites States after being profiled in publications ranging from The Wall Street Journal to MilitaryTimes.

When used in accordance with strict protocols and procedures developed by Professor Sir Yoshiaki Sato, M.D., Ph.D., KAATSU (KA meaning “additional” and ATSU meaning “pressure” in Japanese) has proven to be a safe, efficient and effective tool for strength training, rehabilitation and recovery.

Blood Flow ModERAtion Training

Historically referred to as a type of occlusion or "blood flow restriction" (BFR) training, but more recently and aptly described as "blood flow moderation" (BFM) training, KAATSU works by moderating (but never fully restricting) blood flow in the veins (but not the arteries).  To perform KAATSU training, specialized pneumatic belts, called KAATSU Air Bands, are placed on either the upper arms or the upper legs of the athlete.  The KAATSU Air Bands are then inflated electronically via tubes connected to a console with a touchscreen.  Once inflated, the KAATSU Air Bands apply a safe and measurable amount of pressure, leading to an engorgement of blood in the athlete's limbs.  The athlete then begins his or her resistance training program, but employs significantly lighter weights, or even just his or her own body weight, instead of the heavier loads that would be required to achieve similar results without the use of the KAATSU Air Bands.


In layman’s terms, research has shown that KAATSU training causes the body to perceive that it is performing a more intense workout, which in turn encourages muscle growth and fat burning without all of the wear and tear associated with lifting heavier loads.  In more scientific terms, KAATSU training produces local mechanisms of vascular distension and disturbance of homeostasis in the exercising muscles, both of which prompt upregulation of anabolic processes like angiogenesis and muscle hypertrophy.

KAATSU can be used to improve performance in any sport and to enhance results from nearly any form of exercise.  In a program referred to as the “Cycle”, KAATSU Air Bands can also be used by individuals who are entirely at rest as a rehabilitation and recovery tool.  During a Cycle, the KAATSU Air Bands inflate and deflate automatically according to settings entered on the touchscreen.  Several Persevera members have witnessed a reduction in muscle soreness after undergoing a KAATSU Cycle following workouts.


In order to be able to order and operate KAATSU equipment, individuals must first take an online course and pass a certification test administered by KAATSU GLOBAL INC.  Jim, who was recently featured on KAATSU’s Facebook page, and Jay were both certified as KAATSU Specialists in 2015.

If you are interested in learning more about how KAATSU training may be incorporated into your training protocol, either in our studio or remotely, or if you wish to purchase KAATSU equipment, please consult your Persevera trainer.  As always, we encourage you to see your doctor before and while engaging in any strength training, metabolic conditioning and recovery techniques.


KAATSU is a registered trademark of KAATSU JAPAN CO., LTD.