The Hare & The Tortoise – Different Approaches of KAATSU

The Hare & The Tortoise – Different Approaches of KAATSU

Many KAATSU users want to know the benefits of, and the differences between, the KAATSU Constant mode and the KAATSU Cycle mode.

The KAATSU Constant mode is a means in which the KAATSU Air Bands (narrow, stretchable, elastic, oval-shaped pneumatic bands) are inflated to a certain pressure and then maintained for short periods up to 10 minutes.

The KAATSU Cycle mode is a means in which the KAATSU Air Bands are repeatedly, progressively, incrementally, gently, and briefly inflated for brief periods (up to 60 seconds, with 30 seconds being standard) and then deflated (up to 20 seconds, with 5 seconds being standard).

More specifically, KAATSU users want to know if the hormonal response to KAATSU is a function of intensity? Or, asked differently, does the hormonal response differ between easy sets of KAATSU Cycle sets versus harder sets using the KAATSU Constant mode?

The answer to these questions can be partly explained using the fable of The Hare & The Tortoise.

The hormonal response can be a function of intensity, but it is also a function of time under tension. That is, some KAATSU users like exerting maximum all-out intensity with weight training or strength building exercises. These types of users can very specifically feel the muscle burn (i.e., the lactate build-up) while they exercise in the KAATSU Constant mode. This form of KAATSU generates both a satisfying sense of physiological and psychological accomplishment.

This KAATSU Constant workout directly leads to a significant and quick lactate increase that serves as a well-documented catalyst for a robust secretion of Human Growth Hormone and other related hormones. But this intensity is generally short in duration (even assuming a user’s tolerance for pain is off the charts like 15-20 mmol/L of lactate). In these cases, the hormonal response is clearly significant.

This is the Hare approach to KAATSU: quick, fast, to the point.

But users can compare this total volume of hormonal secretion in a maximum effort, albeit relatively brief and intense (i.e., “The Hare” approach), to the total volume of hormonal secretion in a slow, gradually incremental, repeated, relatively gentle, sustained effort using the KAATSU Cycle mode (i.e., “The Tortoise” approach).

That is, with the KAATSU Cycle mode – even while doing relatively easy movements (e.g., walking, typing on a computer, reading, stretching, yoga) – the total hormonal response is comparable (even greater) simply because the time during tension (while the KAATSU Air Bands are repeatedly inflated and deflated) is much longer.

In fact, at the 2022 World Congress of Sports Medicine, sports scientists from the University of Brighton gave a presentation on the differences and outcomes of these two approaches (i.e., KAATSU Cycle versus KAATSU Constant). They wanted to compare the psychophysiological and perceptual responses between KAATSU Cycle and KAATSU Constant modes.

Their conclusions were as follows:

  • The KAATSU Cycle mode leads to similar hypertrophic muscular adaptations to the KAATSU Constant mode, but with lower perceived pain and exertion compared to the continuous BFR mode.
  • The blood lactate values were significantly higher following the KAATSU Cycle sets compared no KAATSU and were similar to the KAATSU Constant sets.
  • The perceived pain was significantly higher in the KAATSU Constant mode. That is, the KAATSU Cycle induced less pain and discomfort.
  • The perceived fatigue was significantly higher in the KAATSU Constant mode. That is, the KAATSU Cycle induced less fatigue.
  • The KAATSU Cycle enhance cognitive responses to a greater extent that the KAATSU Constant mode.

Within KAATSU Global, all its employees daily and frequently use the KAATSU Cycle mode because they can “double-stack” (i.e., easily, gently, and repeatedly do KAATSU Cycle sets as a secondary activity while focusing on a primary activity such as typing emails, participating in conference calls, walking and/or talking or reading) – while generating a similar or greater hormonal responses with much less perceived effort and pain.