While imitation is “the sincerest form of flattery”, it has to be said that there is only one KAATSU.
All sorts of folks post pictures of workouts with “dollar store” BFR straps, elastics, belts etc. and they use the hashtags of #kaatsu or #kaatsutraining. I have news for those folks: they’re not doing KAATSU.
KAATSU is the “Kleenex” or the “Xerox” of the BFR market. These market leaders defined their category, even as their brand name became the generic way to reference a product or activity. If you’re doing KAATSU you’re using a form of what people today know as BFR, but most folks doing BFR are generally not doing KAATSU.
There are lots of pictures of BFR training with heavy weights. That’s not KAATSU. You don’t need the heavy weights. 20% of 1RM or less will still give you results.
Some folks talk about the pain of BFR “KAATSU” training. Nope. Not KAATSU either. Done according to proper KAATSU protocols, there should be no pain associated with doing KAATSU. Feel the burn? Absolutely. Pain? That’s a problem and an indication you’re doing something wrong.
Got those BFR bands cranked as tight as you can make them go? 7 out of 10 on the “can’t stand it” scale? That’s not KAATSU either. That kind of BFR is based on a percentage of full occlusion pressure thinking. KAATSU specifically is designed to not occlude.
KAATSU was the first product in the blood flow restriction marketplace purposefully designed to not occlude. It’s interesting that some manufacturers now claim their products are “the safest blood flow restriction system of its kind” because they don’t occlude. Imitation and the free market at its finest, I suppose.
What makes KAATSU stand apart (and above, IMO) from other products in the marketplace is the design of the Air Bands and the KAATSU Cycle protocols. The Air Bands have been refined over decades of experience to truly provide the safest bands on the market. KAATSU Air Bands are stretchable, elastic, respond to the shape of the limbs due to the contraction and relaxation of the muscles, all while staying put and doing their job of applying the optimal KAATSU pressure.
KAATSU’s patented KAATSU Cycle with its gentle, incremental increases in pressure achieve optimal engorgement of blood in the vascular tissue. KAATSU band pressure starts very low, but KAATSU succeeds because of its approach of starting at homeostasis and then gradually increasing the pressure. The KAATSU approach was tested for over a decade through testing, on over 7000 people with a team of cardiologists and is proven to be safe and effective. No other BFR company can claim to have such thorough testing of their methods.
Dr. Sato and his KAATSU Global team have over a century of combined experience with KAATSU. Other folks can claim to be experts but the team at KAATSU has the greatest depth of knowledge and know-how. KAATSU has a proven track record of safety and effectiveness spanning decades, established long before today’s BFR marketplace.
Simply put, only KAATSU is KAATSU. If you’re going to choose to undertake any form of BFR training, it’s my opinion that you owe it to yourself to choose KAATSU.