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What is Bloodflow Restriction Training

Posted by Pieter de Smidt on

Getting Popular
Not just for patients, also for athletes
Improve strength, gain mucle mass and increase endurance

Blood flow restriction training is getting more and more popular in rehab setting and in the gyms. With good reason, as there is a substantial amount of research coming out that shows the benefit of BFR to improve strength and hypertrophy.

Research on Hypertrophy

With traditional workouts you need to load the muscles at least at 65% of their 1 Rep max. So if you can curl 50# maximally, you need to work with 33# to gain hypertrophy. Research on Blood  Flow Restriction shows that you can get the same results with loads as low as 20-30%, so with 10-15# dumbbells!

How does it work?

  • Blood flow restriction training does not break down the muscle like traditional resistance exercise because the loads are so light: So less Muscle damage!
  • But BFR creates huge amounts of protein synthesis due to the hormonal responses the body has to BFR training: So more Muscle growth!

Where do the cuffs go?

The cuffs should be placed either at the upper arm, or at the upper thigh.
Cuff pressure should be 4-5 on a scale of 10 (maximum pressure you can handle) for the upper body and 6-7 on a scale of 10 for the lower body. Always be on the low side. More pressure does not create better results!
If your Therapist or Trainer uses Doppler, its even safer and more accurate!

What Exercises should I do?

Results has also shown that there is a systemic effect: people that used BFR just for upper body exercises, gained lower body strength too. You can basically use any type of exercises, from bike or treadmill to dumbbell or barbell activities. The 30/15/15/15 protocol is what appears the most in the literature. So you perform 4 sets, the first one with a weight that you can lift for 30 reps and then 3 sets with 15 reps each. Rest only 30 seconds in between. If you can not complete all the reps, reduce the weight next session!