Blood Flow Restriction Training (BFR-T): The greatest bio hack of our time
Not to be confused with occlusion training (which cuts off blood flow to the limb), BFR-T is an exercise modality that manipulates the bodies circulatory system combined with no load/low load exercise. This ultimately leads to effects similar to high intensity strength training. “Say what?...”
It’s simple but true and proven effective over decades of research. BFRT benefits include increased strength, muscle hypertrophy & hyperplasia, increased anabolic hormones (IGF-1), increased myogenic stem cell proliferation, increased muscle fiber recruitment, increased protein synthesis, improved cardiovascular endurance, improved power and to top it all off, you experience all these benefits with little to no muscle damage. All these benefits and more have made BFRT a “Must Have” for athletes and fitness guru’s alike.
Sounds great so far, but getting ahead with new technologies can be tricky. You know that BFRT works, but what do we need to know to get started? How do we know what BFR methods are legit and which ones can be harmful? Don’t worry, we are here to help! Our motto here at RP is “Primum No Sincere” which simply put means “First, do no harm.” We have done the research, and we want to share a few Do’s & Don’ts with you so you can safely and effectively boost your performance through BFRT.
Watch out for Don’ts and major “No No’s” of BFRT!
01. Don’t Exceed 15 minutes of upper body training or 20 minutes of lower body training.
That's a No no! You don’t need to overdo it. BFRT is meant to be short & sweet. Why overload your body when BFRT was designed to simplify the process of achieving the results similar to high intensity strength training. (Stay tuned for the top 3 starter exercises of BFRT)
02. Definitely don’t lift heavy weight while doing BFRT.
You don’t need to lift heavy weight to feel the effects of an awesome BFR workout. No no! That’s Naughty!!
03. Absolutely don’t occlude your bloodflow.
Come on now! That is a huge No No! Serious complications can occur if one occludes the arterial inflow for a period of time. Consider heart tissue for example, where in less than 5 minutes of ischemia (occlusion), the tissue can die or be severely damaged.
Now we know what our Don’ts are, what are the Do’s of BFRT?
01. Do check your capillary refill time
You don’t need fancy gear to know if you are occluding blood flow. The symptoms are obvious. At no point during BFR should you feel dizzy or lightheaded. If you are, then stop training immediately. Don’t worry, it’s super easy to check even before those obvious symptoms occur by frequently checking capillary refill time. Do a quick test now. Press on the lower left side of your palm (under the pinky finger). You will notice that your skin appears lighter for a moment, then immediately fades back into its natural color. Capillary refill time is the amount of time it takes for your skin to return to its natural state and should not exceed 3 seconds. To check arm Capillary refill time, press the lower left side of the palm. To check leg Capillary refill time, press top of the foot or bottom if you are darker skinned.
02. Do use proper band placement
Arm: Place band around arm just below deltoid head (do not place too high).
Leg: As high up on the leg as you can place the bands.
03. Definitely follow the 3 T’s of muscle failure
Muscle failure is that point where you just can’t push anymore. There are 3 “tell all” signs that you have fought the good fight, but your muscles can do no more. Usually, it would take some intensive exercise to get there, but with BFRT it only takes simple exercises to feel the 3 T’s of muscle failure.
Tolerance – User won’t be able to complete repetitions
Technical – User will begin to cheat the form of the specific exercise
Tempo – User’s tempo will begin to lag and become slow.
04. Absolutely do use BFRT devices that were intended & engineered for BFRT
Don’t try to repurpose a device that was not intended for BFRT. BFRT devices will have elasticity that yields to your muscle contractions. Lessoning risk of occlusion. They are also created to give you full range of motion while training without being tethered to a machine allowing you the option to do some sport specific training (i.e. kicking around a soccer ball, shadow boxing, or other sport simple exercises). Devices designed for BFRT will be relatively narrow, thus allowing a broader therapeutic window that is proven both safe & effective.
Trying to find time to squeeze a workout into a busy schedule? BFRT is designed for you. Can’t use weight during the recovery of an injury but still want to keep your muscles in check? BFRT was designed for you. Want to get the goodies of high intensity strength training but not the joint & muscle damage, you guessed it, BFRT was designed for you! To learn more or to get your BFR on, call today! 855.732.7867