Chris Morgan with ASCA

Chris Morgan with ASCA

Episode Description

Olympic swim coach Chris Morgan is the head coach of Gator Swim Club located in Massachusetts. During these times of lockdowns, quarantines, and shelter-in-place and stay-at-home ordinances, Morgan gives backyard pool swimming workouts, Zoom dryland training, and KAATSU Aqua workouts to his 300+ member team.

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You’re watching Swimming World TV. I’m your host, Brent Rudomella. We’re here at the American Swim Coach Association’s World Clinic in Washington D.C. And I ran into Chris Morgan, a great brain in the sport of swimming,long history and working with some innovative way of training.

We’re going to talk about KAATSU, which is modified blood restriction, I guess would be called.
Yeah, blood flow moderation training. Blood flow, moderation training. There’s gotta be an acronym for that. Right. BFM. Yeah. Best friend for the mobile devices. Right. All right, so thanks, Chris. You’re up in the Boston area. I’m in Boston. Head coach of Crimson. Crimson Aquatics, yeah. Congratulations. Thank you. But you’ve kind of worked up through the years you were at Harvard, you were over in Switzerland for 15 years, always touching the water in some way. Work with Richard Quickett Stanford back in the 90s. What I found very interesting is you I don’t know if you stumbled on but you came across a method that was started in Japan. Correct.

In the 60s where a doctor over there who was in weightlifting realized that when he cut off circulation, for whatever reason, the next day the soreness was very similar to the after-effect of training and weightlifting and he found a correlation to all of that. The simple science of it is when you modify the blood flow and we use the arms and legs as the sort of reservoirs to create this disturbance in your homeostasis is you fill the blood vessels with blood and it creates an increase of lactic acid, which is what happens when you train hard, whether it’s swimming, weightlifting. So check lactic acid. Lactic acid. And there’s a sort of stress response from the pituitary gland that releases growth hormone, Ig1, and other healing factors that are very similar to when you lift weights.

Statements made in this podcast have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. For more information about KAATSU and KAATSU products, visit That’s

The brain releases these hormones. Correct. You gave them labels, but what are those hormones doing then? So those hormones are the same hormones to build muscle or to recover. They’re the same things that happen when you break a bone, there’s a response from the pituitary gland.
When you train hard, there’s a response from the pituitary gland. So it’s sort of like a biohack. A bio hack? Yeah. Wow. Yeah. Is there an antivirus for that? No, I don’t think so. Okay, so let’s talk about some of the tools you use to do this. Yeah, I can hold that for you. So we use either bands around the arms or the legs, and they’re placed in a very specific location.
So I’ll even sort of put it on here. They’re also left and right-sided just for the he’s not in the market to sell these. This is just a tool that he uses. So we put him on the upper arm of the athlete and we use these are the belts for dry land exercises. We also use the bands in the water. So you have different devices for the water? Well, it’s just a band that’s made out of neoprene. So there’s a balloon, a layered balloon inside of this band. We use these clear tubes.
A lot of people think I’m about to either shock myself or take blood and it’s really just to fill with air. We connect it to the… Is this water approved? It is, actually. I’m joking but I can see that. So we connect the tubes to this device.

So like a blood pressure device. People mistake it all the time for a blood pressure. It has nothing to do with blood pressure. What it is it measures the air very, very specifically the amount of pressure that we put in the band. More pressure, more difficult, more blood is modified and you’ll get a real coloration, a red coloration in the arm or leg. Again, people are always a little freaked out by that the first time, but then they realize that the feeling you have after is when you really have your aha moment. It’s like you feel a little bit, you feel strong, you get a pump and people get it right away. So would you be putting this on both arms? Yeah, both arms. You would inflate them to a certain level.

Learning the techniques of KAATSU, you learn how much pressure, what’s the appropriate pressure, what’s too much pressure. And again, people mistake it for cutting off circulation and it’s nothing to do with that. So you’re restricting or modifying. Modifying. Okay, so what happens then after you have these both inflated? Are you doing you going through exercises? Yes, so we’re doing on land. You do some simple protocol exercises. We call them the three-point exercises, very simple hand curls, bicep curls, tricep extensions, and really with just those three exercises you get a real feel of almost using 85% of the muscles. And where are those points on your legs? Would you go above the knee, below the knee? So it’s up here, the upper leg. Yeah, it’s almost as high up as you can go. Yeah And then in the water, the exact same placements? Same place. And you detach or untether, as we say, and you swim. Different exercises and we can talk about some of the swimmers who use it.

Yeah, Let’s go into there. So are swimmers using it more on land or more in the water? So it’s very few swimmers right now who are using it, which is kind of ironically, it’s really neat for me because I get to speak with these swimmers and work with their coaches. And it’s kind of right now the three or four people I can mention were kind of pioneers of it. We’re kind of talking with each other and sharing some of the sets we’re doing. You mentioned Alex Meyer earlier when we were talking, so he was one of the ones.

So Alex Meyer was one of the first swimmers who I saw. Open water swimmer. Open water swimmer. It was in 2012 at Harvard when I saw Steve Munatones, who’s the actual sort of pioneer in the United States, bringing this technology over from Japan. He’s a Harvard grad. He was working with Alex Meyer and it was just a one-day thing that they were trying it. I became very interested, started using it with the Harvard Women’s Team when I was assistant coach, and now it’s grown over the last few years. We have Michael Andrew and his father, his coach, Peter, who are using it. They were using it a lot on the recovery. There’s a whole recovery aspect and then they’ve jumped into sprint training with it. They love it. Jaunty Skinner at Alabama, he has his entire sprint group using KAATSU as well. What’s interesting here, Alex Myers distance and then you get a sprint group. So it’s not really distance specific. It’s really not. Now Alex was just a one-time thing. He actually didn’t like it and that’s fine. We never push it on people.

But I have the former team I was at had a lot of distant swimmers training and succeeding. You know there’s a lot of people out there who are listening to this and thinking now you’re taking shortcuts. You know Is this a shortcut? I don’t think so at all. I think you know the way I explain it to people is when we talk about training, we are looking all the time for race pace, race tempo. It’s what we talk about all the time. And what I feel with KAATSU, we can achieve two things that you can, I believe, never achieve in training, which is race pain and race physiology.

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So when an athlete does a typical test set, 5-200s or 8-200s, you know, as a coach and a former swimmer, you know, I even know that as that swimmer, I would ask myself, was I really going race pace on number five? Was I holding back? Was it, you know, and then when you get to your race and you do a 200, you know, you know you’re going 100%. But I feel with KAATSU we’re able to achieve race physiology. The lactic acid in the blood is even more and we’ve done testing, we’ve done blood lactate testing with KAATSU and it’s off the charts.

Well, it’s interesting because you know John T. Skinner was one of the most, he used lactate for so many years as the national team with USA Swimming, I forget his exact title. The resident team, yeah. Yeah, and he really did a lot of experimentation. So to see him carry this over in a real application, that’s exciting. It’s super exciting. And you know again, it’s not for everyone because it does take a little bit of time. It takes time to learn the protocols. It takes time to get used to the equipment. It takes time for the athletes to feel it. But I would say 90% of the athletes that have used KAATSU with me, and I’ve done KAATSU on over 100 swimmers, is they all, the first 25 they swim, they’re like, “Oh, I feel like I do at the end of a race.” And for me, that was the real you know moment that I realized that there’s something with this when they say that’s how I feel at the end of the race. So I even did it with myself. I got in and whether it was on my legs or on my arms would experience that same feeling.
The lactic acid burn. So what’s interesting is it started in 1960. It was used by various pioneers. Mostly in Japan. And then here in the United States, you’re seeing success.

Have you seen any detriment to this? No, not at all. There is a lot of false information out there, like with anything about deep vein thrombosis and rhabdomyolysis, and these are just things that come from either people not using the equipment correctly, and not KAATSU equipment, but knockoff products. But nothing. They have over 100,000 articles written in Japan, medical, medical articles about the benefits of KAATSU and that it’s not dangerous.

If you use the protocols and you’re safe and you’re smart, you only find benefits. Awesome. Well, I think people are going to benefit from learning more about this. Good luck with this. Thank you. Continue educating everybody. I know you’re talking here. Yeah, I’m speaking here on Saturday. I’m really excited about it. Yeah, there we go. And well, awesome. Yeah, thank you very much. Well, this is Chris Morgan. I’m Brent Rudomeller Saint. If you want to win, first help someone else win.

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KAATSU is used by the United States Department of Defense as well as the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. KAATSU, profoundly simple and simply profound. Statements made in this podcast have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. For more information about KAATSU and KAATSU products, visit That’s