Practical BFR is the use of pneumatic tourniquets to allow arterial blood flow to a region while limiting venous return during exercise. It utilizes Doppler Ultrasound to find the limb occlusion pressure (LOP) to individualize pressures to the individual.
A reduction in blood flow is NOT occlusion training, and reduces the oxidative capacity of the muscles. With less oxygen to work with, the body quickly shifts to higher threshold Type II muscle fibers in an attempt to complete the workload you desire. Venous pooling leads to accumulation of metabolites such as hydrogen ions from the breakdown of ATP (our main energy compound) and lactate. This metabolic stress accumulation leads to a robust anabolic microenvironment that leads to the systemic benefits in the chart below.
Blood flow restriction (BFR) therapy/training flips the script on traditional strength training. By stimulating the same anaerobic pathways seen with traditional resistance exercise, BFR allows us to obtain strength gains and improved performance and function without high intensity, heavy volume training. Training with BFR also reduces joint stress and damage to non-contractile tissue.
So Why Should I Use it?
Scientific research tells us that at the bare minimum, we must exercise at higher intensities with moderate volume to begin to see muscular hypertrophy. The unfortunate truth is that most of our client and patient population are unable to achieve this workload because it is either too challenging or contraindicated.
Because of this, most trainers and physical therapists tend to exercise their clients at loads well below 60% 1-RM, also known as low-intensity resistance exercise (LIRE). But the lack of progress is frustrating!
- BFR is the best adjunct to strength training that ANYONE can use! There is no need to change your approach or exercise programming. It is well tolerated by clients, even in the untrained or clinical populations!
- It’s SAFE - improve hypertrophy and strength while minimizing the risk for injury by being able to exercise at a lower intensity!
- It’s EFFECTIVE - improve endocrine response and heightened cell signaling for QUICK hypertrophy and strength gains in your clients and patients!
- It’s VERSATILE - utilize with a variety of populations, athletes or clinical rehab patients for strength or recovery!
- BFR is a widely popular and in-demand service. Learn how to apply it SAFELY and EFFECTIVELY to capitalize on new revenue streams within your practice while improving clinical outcomes, performance, and patient satisfaction!