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Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) Training

What the heck is BFR, you ask?

For everyone you ever want to know about it, this site covers it. As a basic explanation, BFR is:

Blood flow restriction (BFR) training is a training strategy involving the use of cuffs or wraps placed around a limb during exercise, to maintain arterial inflow to the muscle while preventing venous return. BFR can be used with resistance training, or with other modalities, including walking.

Programs of resistance training with BFR and low loads (20 – 30% of 1RM) appear to increase strength. BFR programs appear to increase strength more than resistance training without BFR when using matched (low) relative loads but are either similar in efficacy or slightly less effective than conventional resistance training with unmatched (high) relative loads.

Programs of resistance training with BFR and low loads (20 – 30% of 1RM) appear to produce hypertrophy. BFR programs appear to increase muscular size better than resistance training without blood flow restriction when using matched (low) relative loads but are similar in efficacy to conventional resistance training with unmatched (high) relative loads.

There is some evidence that resistance training with BFR might be able to improve muscular power, sprint running speed, and endurance, and that non-resistance training methods (like walking) with blood flow restriction can cause hypertrophy, although there is more limited research in these areas.

After reading about BFR, I almost immediately ordered these BFR (occlusion) cuffs.

Why was I so eager to start this type of training, you ask? For the following reasons:

1. I am always trying to increase my strength.

2. Since I work out exclusively at home and our dumbbells only go up to 50 lbs, I saw this as a great way to increase strength without having to spend the money on heavier weights, and find room for them!

3. I thought this would be a great way to stay fit while travelling, if I also bring some resistance bands (because I generally hate hotel gyms).

I brought them to Florida over the holidays, and was very glad I did. I had zero interest in going to the gyms at the resort. They have mostly cardio machines and only very scanty weight equipment, and so if even 1 other person is trying to lift at the same time as you, its very annoying. I skipped the gym entirely and a few days over our stay, I did a resistance band workout in our condo with the occlusion bands on.

Without door attachments, etc., it is often difficult to make a band workout tough enough, but the cuffs definitely made my exercises more challenging. It was awesome!

 Back home, I have been using the cuffs 1-2x week, once for legs, once for upper body. I really like being able to work with lower weights, but still being challenged.

If you are looking for a way to jack up your training, or if you workout at home and have limited equipment, this is a great way to give your training a boost without spending a lot of money or buying big equipment.


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