STEM-Talk: Sten Stray-Gundersen on blood-flow restriction training and cardiovascular exercise physiology

This episode of STEM-Talk has a generational twist.

Dr. Sten Stray-Gundersen is our guest on Episode 161 which is now available on all podcast platforms and on our website. The conversation covers Sten’s research on blood-flow restriction training and cardiovascular exercise physiology. It’s a subject that Sten’s father, the late Jim Stray-Gundersen, pioneered in the United States. Jim was our guest on Episode 34 of STEM-Talk.

Sten Stray-Gundersen on STEM-Talk

Sten is a post-doctoral research associate at the University of South Carolina and is an adjunct instructor at the university’s Arnold School of Public Health. Prior to his position at South Carolina, Sten was a teaching assistant at the University of Texas, where he earned his Ph.D.

The conversation with Dr. Ken Ford, IHMC’s founder and CEO, and Dr. Marcas Bamman, Senior Research Scientist at IHMC, includes the documented benefits of blood-flow restriction and how it not only increases muscle strength, but also improves endurance and reduces the risk of injury. Sten also talks about his research into hypoxia and endothelial function.

We also discuss:

  • The influence of family on Sten’s athletic and career path.
  • Sten’s experience trying blood-flow restriction (BFR) for the first time with his father.
  • How blood flow restriction (BFR) training impacts training, muscle response, fitness, and endurance.
  • How BFR’s different protocols of BFR can be implemented to yield different effects in the contexts of resistance training and aerobic training.
  • A detailed discussion of the different approaches to BFR, each with tradeoffs. We also explore the differences in BFR for an elite athlete looking to gain a fractional advantage, versus a middle-aged or older person aiming to incorporate BFR to improve their health and functionality.
  • Kaatsu, the original version of BFR, has been practiced in Japan for more than 30 years with a very low rate of serious complications. Ken mentions that for those listeners interested in Kaatsu, they should listen to Sten’s father’s interview on STEM-Talk episode 34.

IHMC is a not-for-profit research institute of the Florida University System where researchers pioneer science and technology aimed at leveraging and extending human capabilities. IHMC researchers and staff collaborate extensively with the government, industry and academia to help develop breakthrough technologies. IHMC research partners have included: DARPA, the National Science Foundation, NASA, Army, Navy, Air Force, National Institutes of Health, IBM, Microsoft, Honda, Boeing, Lockheed, and many others.