Have you ever pulled a muscle a few weeks before a game or running event, and later could not participate in it?
Did you recently have surgery that restricts your ability to stand or walk?
Do you want to get stronger but it’s hard for you to carry heavy weights?
In this blog, we will discuss how blood flow restriction training can address all those concerns and more.
What is Blood Flow Restriction Training?
Blood flow restriction (BFR) training uses a special tourniquet, like a blood pressure cuff, to limit blood flow to the muscles. With less blood flow going to the muscles during an exercise, the body must respond by secreting more growth hormones which promotes increased muscle growth and strength.
During BFR training, you can lift lighter weights (about 30% of your 1 rep max) but obtain the same muscle strength and growth benefits as if you were lifting heavy weights (about 75% of your 1 rep max).
For example, if lifting 50 pounds is typically heavy for you, you only need to lift 15 pounds to get the same results as if you were using 50 pounds during your workout.
How can it help me?
After progressive deconditioning, injury or surgery, we often feel weak and have trouble moving the body part that was affected. Although you need to get stronger, it isn’t easy when you are restricted because of the weakness, pain, or surgical precautions.
That is when blood flow restriction training comes into play.
Using BFR, you will be able to rehab those areas that can only tolerate light weights much sooner, which will help you return to your activities faster.
Is it safe?
Unless your past medical history includes blood clots, varicose veins, or uncontrolled hypertension, the only side effects that commonly occur are tired and sore muscles. Numerous studies have been done on young and older adults, and all groups demonstrated improvements in not only strength, but also bone mineral density, and cardiovascular function.
Let Kintsugi Physical Therapy and Wellness Help Improve Your Recovery Experience
Our physical therapists at Kintsugi Physical Therapy and Wellness are trained and certified to safely administer a blood flow restriction training program. They will perform an evaluation, determine whether BFR training is right for you, and develop a customized treatment plan to meet your goals.
Our team at Kintsugi Physical Therapy and Wellness believes in treating the body holistically, taking all your needs into account. We are able and ready to rebuild your life using the expertise and innovative techniques we have available.
Hughes L, Paton B, Rosenblatt B, et al. Blood flow restriction training in clinical musculoskeletal rehabilitation: a systematic review and metaanalysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2017;51:1003-1011
Minniti MC, Statkevich AP, Kelly RL, Rigsby VP, Exline MM, Rhon DI, Clewley D. The safety of blood flow restriction training as a therapeutic intervention for patients with musculoskeletal disorders: a systematic review. Am J Sports Med. 2020 Jun;48(7):1773-1785. doi: 10.1177/0363546519882652.