Despite the escalating prevalence in the aging population, few therapeutic options exist to treat patients with peripheral arterial disease. Application of intermittent pneumatic leg compressions (IPC) is regarded as a promising noninvasive approach to treat this condition, but the clinical efficacy, as well the mechanistic basis of action of this therapy, remain poorly defined. We tested the hypothesis that 2 wk of daily application of IPC enhances exercise tolerance by improving blood flow and promoting angiogenesis in skeletal muscle in a model of peripheral arterial insufficiency. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to bilateral ligation of the femoral artery and randomly allocated to treatment or sham groups. Animals were anesthetized daily and exposed to 1-h sessions of bilateral IPC or sham treatment for 14-16 consecutive days. A third group of nonligated rats was also studied. Marked increases in treadmill exercise tolerance (∼33%, P < 0.05) and improved muscle performance in situ (∼10%, P < 0.05) were observed in IPC-treated animals. Compared with sham-treated controls, blood flow measured with isotope-labeled microspheres during in situ contractions tended to be higher in IPC-treated animals in muscles composed of predominantly fast-twitch white fibers, such as the plantaris (∼93%, P = 0.02). Capillary contacts per fiber and citrate synthase activity were not significantly altered by IPC treatment. Collectively, these data indicate that IPC improves exercise tolerance in a model of peripheral arterial insufficiency in part by enhancing blood flow to collateral-dependent tissues.