What is Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) Training?
Blood Flow Restriction Training is a new method of training that is gaining popularity fast. This strength training method involves placing a tight band around your arm or leg to slightly restrict blood flow while performing exercises. By doing this, you are able to workout at a lower intensity while still gaining muscle and strength.
How does it work?
Blood flow brings oxygen and nutrients to your muscle fibers to produce energy while working out. When the blood flow is restricted, the muscle has to work harder to get the essentials they need. This leads to increased muscle fatigue and results in muscle growth and strength gains with lighter weights.
A tight band is placed usually around the upper arm or thigh and is tightened to a certain pressure. The level of pressure should be high enough to restrict blood flow, but not so high it causes pain or discomfort. Exercises done during blood flow restriction training are usually exercises that work multiple muscle groups such as squats, deadlifts, bicep curls, ect. Endurance activities are not recommended.
The reason behind adding stress to the muscles through restricted blood flow is to decrease the weight being used, or number of sets during a workout, and still be able to achieve similar goals. It is extremely important to pay attention to your body’s response and adjust your training accordingly.
Why do it?
Blood flow restriction training is proven to improve recovery from injuries and/or surgery. One of the ways this happens is by promoting the growth of new blood vessels in the affected area, which can increase blood flow and speed up the healing process. BFR is extremely beneficial to those who are unable to perform traditional weight-bearing exercises, such as people recovering from an injury or surgery. Because it allows for muscle activation and growth with lighter loads, it may be a safer and more effective way for these individuals to achieve muscle enhancement.
BFR has also been shown to have a positive effect on muscle recovery. Restricting blood flow during exercise and then releasing it after the workout, creates a "pump" effect that can help to flush out waste products and bring fresh nutrients to the muscle, promoting healing and recovery. Additionally, BFR has been found to reduce inflammation, which can help to reduce pain and swelling and aid in the healing process.
Overall, Blood Flow Restriction training can be an excellent way to increase muscle strength and growth, especially for those who are unable to use heavy weights due to injury or other limitations. With proper guidance and a keen attention to safety, blood flow restriction training can be a valuable addition to any strength training program.
It's important to keep in mind that this method of training is not suitable for everyone and should be approached with caution. If you are interested in starting a Blood Flow Restriction program, please contact a Renew Physiotherapist to talk about what would work best for you personally.
If you want to learn more about how BFR Training can benefit you, Dr. Nate Mooney is hosting a free Blood Flow Restriction Training clinic on Tuesday, April 18 from 6:15-7:00pm at our Carrboro location.