The Science of Muscle Growth, Muscle Strength & BFR with Steven Munatones

Episode 336 with Steven Munatones
I'm Dr. Stephanie

My life's passion and mission is blending modern science with ancient wisdom to empower women's health and healing.

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Delve into the world of a very specific type of Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) training called Kaatsu with special guest, Steven Munatones, co-founder of Katsu Global.

In this episode, Dr. Stephanie and Steven discuss the science behind BFR and how it can help you build bigger muscles with lighter weights. They also explore the differences between hypertrophy and strength, as well as the metabolic improvements brought about by BFR, including the impact on hormones like human growth hormone, testosterone, and estrogen.

Get ready for a nerdy and informative discussion that promises to take you on a geeky magic carpet ride into the fascinating world of BFR.


Steven Munatones is a Harvard grad with a knack for engineering who spent 8 years in Japan at a Hitachi R&D campus. While he was there, he had the awesome opportunity to learn from the mastermind behind KAATSU, Dr. Yoshiaki Sato, and a bunch of heart experts at The University of Tokyo Hospital. They were all part of this fancy-sounding 22nd Century Medical Project.

Fast forward to today, and Steven’s all about spreading the word on the wonders of KAATSU. He’s taught thousands of people about it, from Navy SEALs to Olympic and Paralympic superstars, and even folks in their golden years, quadriplegics, amputees, and just about anyone you can think of. He’s basically a KAATSU evangelist!

Oh, and let’s not forget how he introduced KAATSU to some big names like the Department of Defense, NASA, and a whole bunch of pro sports teams, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS. More than 80 universities are also in on the action.

Before his Japanese adventure, Steven was a water polo and swimming champ in NCAA Division I. Plus, he’s got some pretty wild accomplishments, like holding a Guinness World Record. He’s even got his name in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and the Ice Swimming Hall of Fame, and he’s got a Poseidon Award from the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

Steven has also coached the USA Swimming national team in nine international showdowns, including four world championships. He provided commentary for NBC at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and started WOWSA, the World Open Water Swimming Association.

Connect with Steven on:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kaatsu/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kaatsuglobal/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPSSPu8A5LWsYEoQ0Cz4iBw
https://twitter.com/KAATSUGlobal & https://twitter.com/OriginalBFR
Blog: https://www.kaatsublog.com/

Resources mentioned:

Muscle size and strength are increased following walk training with restricted venous blood flow from the leg muscle, Kaatsu-walk training – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16339340/

Use and safety of KAATSU training: Results of a national survey – https://kaatsu.ca/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Use-and-Safety-of-KAATSU-Results-of-a-National-Survey-in-Japan.pdf

KAATSU Research – https://kaatsu.ca/kaatsu-research/

Episode Overview:

00:00:00 Intro
00:01:18 Introduction to BFR Training
00:11:45 Functional Strength Training for Various Activities
00:19:51 Capillaries and Blood Flow
00:23:07 Using Kaatsu Bands for Specific Fitness Goals
00:29:54 Athletes Using Kaatsu for Speed and Power Training
00:40:47 The Intensity Squash Brings out in Dr. Stephanie
00:44:30 Kaatsu Method for Older People
00:48:06 Opportunities for Women in Collegiate Sports
00:52:18 Kaatsu’s Effect on Muscle Hypertrophy, Neurological Strength, and Mechanical Strength
00:56:35 Kaatsu for Improving Strength and Endurance in Specific Professions
00:59:50 Kaatsu Enhances Muscular Tissue Repair and Recovery
01:00:21 Kaatsu’s Impact on Hormones and A1C Levels
01:07:14 Potential Benefits of Kaatsu on the Immune System
01:10:41 Exploring the Risks of Kaatsu
01:17:17 Kaatsu: Increasing Strength and Elasticity of Vascular Tissue
01:25:09 Finding Information and Contacting Kaatsu

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