Is Motor Learning Enhanced With KAATSU?

Is Motor Learning Enhanced With KAATSU?

For who? Baby Boomers, retirees, student-athletes
For what? Strength, stamina, functional movement, mobility, flexibility, recovery

The mechanism behind the concept that motor learning is enhanced with KAATSU is complicated.

Fundamentally, there is much activity going on within the central nervous system when we address the issue about motor control and learning. Many of the explanations are linear and disregard the emotional aspects of the brain in adaption with motor load.

Motor learning in the KAATSU examples given below are simplified around the ideas of perfection, gross amount of repetitions, and then mastery of the skill. However, the reality, is that the process is far from that simple.

Where KAATSU excels and provides a realistic modeling of motor learning is knowing the dose dependent amount of load, repetitions (note: more is not better), and knowing a learning curve for each individual. This is why finding the appropriate Base SKU and exercising at the Optimal SKU to technical failure is so important when doing KAATSU.

Motor learning is a combination of changes in connectivity observed in not only motor systems (in the brain), but more so to activity in sensory brain regions (e.g.; emotional, visual, and neuromuscular). Thus, if we look at the traditional Japanese ways of training, we also look at their attention to learning by example, visual systems, felt experience, and actually loading the movement process.

When research studies removed effects of somatosensory activity, learning resulted in changes to frontal motor areas of the brain. This suggests that motor learning must be emotional, visual, and neuromuscular – and not a singular process of repetitions. This is one reason why when we teach a new activity or try to improve upon a known activity, we ask the athlete and coach to literally focus on the movement and video-record the movement until technical failure (not muscular failure).

Technical failure is when the athlete/client is no longer moving the body/muscles in the proper (technical flawless) manner. The concept of technical failure is fundamental with KAATSU.

KAATSU Specialists should always insist on good form and proper technique. When doing KAATSU and when getting to the point of technical failure, they ask the athlete/client to stop doing KAATSU. Technical failure nearly always precedes muscular failure. This is also why the Japanese coaches of elite athletes use KAATSU arm and leg bands at the same time.

In summary, if what we are talking about is the idea that motor learning takes place by repeated practice of a motor pattern, then it is primarily a brain function involving the motor and sensory cortex and areas of memory, proprioception, balance and probably many others. There is also likely some component of the mechanism involving the peripheral nerves and the muscle fibers they innervate. KAATSU influences these structures, but we do not precisely know how…and the subject of future KAATSU research. But we speculate that when we are performing a particular motor pattern under duress (i.e., with KAATSU), the memory of the event is amplified and saved in more vivid detail.

This is why we repeat the event in the exact same way until technical failure.