What is Blood Flow Restriction Therapy?
Blood Flow Restriction Therapy (BFR) is a unique treatment modality that allows an individual to build strength and endurance with little to no weight or resistance.
Traditionally, in order to achieve strength gains, you must train at 75-85% of your one rep maximum (1MR, a weight you could not lift twice). BFR allows an individual to train at 20-30% of their 1MR and still see significant improvements in strength and endurance.
How does Blood Flow Restriction Therapy work?
A blood pressure cuff is applied around the upper thigh (if you are exercising your legs) or the upper arm (if you are performing upper body exercises). The therapist will identify how much pressure is required to fully occlude (stop) blood flow to the limb. Once this number is identified, the therapist will have you exercise at 80% occlusion (for lower body) or 50% occlusion (for upper body).
As a result of partially restricting blood flow to the limbs, individuals will fatigue much faster at lower resistance. In doing so, type II muscle fibers are recruited (the fibers that help with muscle growth) and specific growth hormones will increase, resulting in stronger muscles.
Is Blood Flow Restriction Therapy safe?
Blood Flow Restriction is a very safe treatment modality. Prior to performing BFR, your therapist will take you through a brief questionnaire to identify if you are an appropriate candidate for this technique.
As with any strenuous exercise, you should expect muscle fatigue and soreness during, and likely after, your session. This is a positive sign that you stressed your muscles appropriately!
Who would benefit from Blood Flow Restriction Therapy?
The ideal candidate would be someone who has undergone a recent surgery or an individual who is battling an injury that is preventing them from exercising under heavier loads.
What are the benefits of Blood Flow Restriction Therapy?
- Improved strength
- Increased muscle mass
- Prevention of muscle loss after an injury or surgery
- Improved rates of healing
- Faster results (strength gains can be seen in just 2-4 weeks!)