Blood Flow Restriction Training (BFRT) is a game-changer for sports rehabilitation and performance needs. BFRT uses a unique tourniquet system that looks like a blood pressure cuff that can be applied to the arm or leg. When the cuff is inflated to a specific pressure (depending on the needs of the athlete), it will reduce blood flow to the working limb. How is this beneficial?
Reducing blood flow to the muscle allows you to work the muscle hard without putting a significant amount of weight on your arm or leg. The use of BFRT is quick and happens at various intervals during an exercise—8 minutes per move.
Common injuries that benefit from BFRT are:
- Post-operative care for the arms and legs
- Tendon injuries
- Quad or hamstring tears
- IT Band injuries
- Patellofemoral injuries
- Achilles tendon injuries
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Tennis or golfer’s elbow
- ACL/meniscus injuries
- Non-union fractures
The bonus of BFRT:
BFRT doesn’t only apply to an injury. If you’re into fitness and want to take your muscle gains, power and strength, recovery needs, and endurance to the next level, then BFRT is for you!
By using BFRT for an injury or your fitness regime, you will be able to increase your muscular strength and mass with loads that are as low as 20% one-rep max (1-RM). Your 1-RM is the most weight you can lift once for an exercise. In a typical gym setting for an athlete to put on muscle mass and strength, he or she would need to lift 60% of their 1-RM or greater. The mechanism behind BFRT is still being extensively researched; it’s thought that metabolites via anaerobic metabolism coupled with muscle protein breakdown can influence muscle-flexing results.
For the endurance athlete, BFRT can be used twice a week for muscular maintenance or to increase strength as your endurance training volume increases.
If you prefer powerlifting or Olympic weightlifting, BFRT can be used 6-10 times per week without interfering with your high-training load.
As for Crossfitters, BFRT can be used to increase your muscle strength on a move that you may be weak with; for example, to increase your bench press strength, implement one workout per week with the BFRT bench press. Lastly, for athletes who play sports like baseball or basketball, BFRT can be used between multiple games per week to help create muscle strength gains within a short time frame.
And yes, BFRT is safe—completely regulated by the FDA. We use the Delfi Personalized Tourniquet System for BFRT, and it’s a tourniquet system device that is listed with the FDA and is specifically indicated for the BFRT experience. Your cuffed arms or legs will be in good hands.
Call High Desert Physical Therapy today to learn how BFRT can benefit you.