What is BFR Training?
Blood Flow Training, also known as Occlusion Training, is a form of workout strategy that involves the use of cuffs or wraps around a limb during exercise. It is a highly effective method to build muscle mass and to get the most from lighter weights. Following a 2019 study, experts have recommended the use of BFR training combined with different forms of exercise due to the volume and intensity, as well as the amount of cuff pressure, restriction time, size, and cuff material.
The aim of this training is to restrict venous blood from an active muscle while still giving room for arterial blood. This increases metabolic stress and cellular swelling, which results in the production of more growth hormone and also increases muscle hypertrophy and strength.
With BFR training, you can get the benefits of high-intensity training without the strain or level of activity required to reach your maximum potential. This is what makes BFR training more effective and it is gradually being implemented into clinical practice to achieve physiological adaptations for individuals who cannot safely tolerate high muscular tension exercise or produce volitional muscle activity.
How Does it Work?
Blood Flow Restriction training requires using a specialized tourniquet system on a limb to restrict the flow of venous blood to that limb. This specialized tourniquet could come in a BFR band similar to the blood pressure cuff but in most cases, a BFR wrap is used, which is often substituted with an elastic wrap or cotton elastic bandages. It is wrapped around the arms just under the shoulder or around the legs just below the hip.
Your body would typically require 60-70% of your one-rep max (1RM) to get to the level where your muscles get the benefits of a high-intensity exercise. However, with a BFR band, you only need 20-30% of one-rep max to create the same hypertrophy stimulus. The international journal of sports physiology and performance did a study to examine the effects of moderate load exercise with and without blood flow restriction. The results showed that BFR or occlusion training can potentially improve the rate of strength training gains and fatigue resistance in trained athletes.
The science of BFR shows it works. You will build muscle if you gain more protein to your muscles than you lose and you will lose muscle if it is the other way round. If we apply this to the traditional high-intensity training and BFR training, you would realize that there is no muscle breakdown in BFR training. This is because when you tie the tourniquet around your limb, you have minimally elevated measures of muscle damage. This includes creatine kinase, lipid peroxides, torque output of muscles, and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
During this training, there is also limited oxygen to the muscles, which results in inactive slow-twitch Type I muscle fibers. This activates the faster Type II muscle fibers that should ideally be recruited only when the body has attained a level of activity that is seen in high-intensity training. This improves the lactic acid production that contributes to the growth hormone synthesized while you train. This mechanism helps improve protein synthesis and muscle hypertrophy with little muscle damage.
Grow Your Arms, Legs, and Booty
BFR doesn’t replace your regular workout training but rather enhances it. So, you could have your regular workout routine for your arms, legs, and booty but to get maximum benefits, the BFR bands can come in handy.
How do you maximize it to grow your arms, legs, and booty?
1. BFR Finishers
BFR can be used for different purposes; for recovery, to deload and heal, and also as a finisher at the end of a workout. After your workout session, you can use the BFR band to get the best result for your upper-body workout to improve your arms and the lower-body for the legs and glutes. Where to use the BFR band after a workout session depends on the part of the body that you have just engaged in the exercise. A study on the Muscular Adaptations to Combinations of High- and Low-Intensity Resistance Exercises shows how a heavy workout that finishes with a high repetition set performed at 50 percent of your 1RM can increase muscle strength and hypertrophy compared to high-intensity exercise alone.
2. Extra Training Volume and Frequency
BFR bands are effective in increasing your training volume and frequency. You could do your regular workout routine and decide to add some blood restriction flow training, without changing anything in the exercises, to get additional results. You only need a lighter load (20-30% of 1RM) for higher reps (10 to 15 reps) and shorter rest periods (30 seconds between reps).
For upper body BFR workout, you can incorporate seated biceps curl, overhead triceps extension, reverse-grip curl, zottman curl, underhand-grip curl, triceps extension, and chest press.
For lower body BFR workout, do splits and constant tension squats, shoulders-elevated hip thrusts, and calf raises.
These exercises, when done with the BFR band, will help grow the arms, legs, and glutes.
3. Active Recovery and Deloading
It is easier to recover from BFR training than in high-intensity training, due to the lighter loads used. A deload is a rest period to help your body recover from the training; while you tear down muscle tissue in the course of training, muscle strength and mass are built after training during the deloading period. By incorporating frequent deloads into your BFR training, you will give room for your muscles to get all the benefits of using the BFR bands.
This is one of the reasons why it has also been proven effective in rehab settings, especially to treat wounds. In a 2018 study, the BFR therapy was shown to be effective after knee surgery. It was also regarded as a viable modality to incorporate into the postoperative rehabilitation protocol for patients who require extra assistance in resisting muscle atrophy or building muscle strength.
How Do You Occlude Blood Flow From The Glutes?
Occluding blood flow from the arms or legs might seem easier but how does this benefit your booty? To get the most of this, wrap the BFR band around your upper thigh between the glutes and hamstrings. Ensure they are tight but you are still able to move your body around and exercise. It is also important that you wear long tights so that you are not wrapping the band on bare skin, which could get uncomfortable for you and could also cause injuries.
Choose exercises that are great for the glutes such as squats and hip thrusts, Do higher reps to get maximum benefits and the blood flow restriction would enhance the muscle strength around your gluteus maximus and give you a well-defined booty with consistent occlusion training.
Other Benefits of the BFR Training
Beyond growing your arms, legs, and booty, the BFR training works effectively to benefit the body in many ways. This includes:
Improved cardiovascular endurance
Increased body mass
Improved bone density extremity
Gain more while doing less
How Often Should You Do the BFR Training?
As you look forward to getting all the results from BFR training, it is also important that you do it accordingly. Ideally, resistance training should be done 2 to 4 times a week but you can also follow a specific routine that works best for you. Most people prefer to do the BFR training daily since it requires shorter periods.
Always aim for 3-5 sets at 20-50% of your normal working weight. Since you are using a lighter load than your body is used to, you will be able to push through and work your muscles to get the most from the training.
The question of whether or not it is safe has been answered in this research that shows that the blood flow restriction training is promising with respect to safety outcomes. So, it is okay to do it daily if you are looking for short term results.
What Makes Our BFR Band Unique?
There are different kinds of BFR bands in the market and to get optimal results, the kind of band you use is important. At RecoverFun, our BFR band is designed with a pump that looks like the blood pressure machine, and that aligns perfectly with the shape of your limbs to ensure the pressure is applied evenly. With this band, you can get 100% intensity from 30% load and can also improve the muscle mass in your arms, legs, and glutes, among other benefits.
The perfect BFR band must be between 1-2.5inches in width and must not be too tight. On a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the tightest, the band should be 7 out of 10 in tightness. Our band matches the standard width size and it has an adjustable pressure control to fit your limbs perfectly. It is portable and hand-held and also waterproof.
If you are looking to make the most of your workout sessions and especially to build your arms, legs, and glutes, our air pump with cuff designed for blood flow restriction training would come in handy.