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“What is BFR Training?”

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“What is BFR Training?”

January 21, 2022 “What is BFR Training?”


What is Blood Flow Restrictive Training you say? First restricting your blood flow sounds like a dangerous thing to do, but it's exactly what some Olympians, athletes, surgery patients and physical therapy patrons have done to strengthen their muscles and speed up recovery. Restricting the blood flow involves preventing blood flow to the exercising muscle. 


This engorgement expedites several naturally occurring biochemical reactions such as secreting nitric oxide, human growth hormone, and beta endorphins to name a few.  All of these have distinct roles in the increase in blood supply, like preventing tissue damage, regulating body composition and muscle growth, growing bone and tissue, and suppressing pain.  


Blood flow restriction (BFR) training has become increasingly popular in weight rooms around the world. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s understood by those promoting the training. In fact, given the many different names (occlusion training, hypoxic training, KAATSU), styles (bands, cuffs, ace bandages), and goals associated with this type of training, confusion seems to be growing. 


But those who know me know that I do my research. After researching BFR and experiencing it firsthand, I believe it has a lot to offer to a wide range of people who want to gain muscle, increase their training frequency, rehab, and try something new in their programming.   


BFR can help people to make greater strength training gains while lifting lighter loads, thereby reducing the overall stress placed on the limbs. By applying the right amount of external pressure to the muscle that is being trained, it’s possible to maintain arterial inflow while occluding venous outflow distal to the occlusion site.  


What are the benefits of BFR? 

  • Increased muscle size (Hypertrophy) 
  • Increased strength 
  • Increase cardiovascular capacity 
  • Decreased joint and tissue stress 
  • Little to no muscle damage or soreness (DOMS) 
  • Little to no recovery needed 
  • Low Intensity needed (resistance or cardio) 


Now let’s discuss the benefits in more detail.


Gain More While Doing Less 

One of the biggest benefits of BFR training is the ability to achieve the same results from low intensity resistance exercises as those achieved through high-intensity resistance training (i.e., weightlifting). With BFR training, one use much lighter weights. This makes BFR training ideal for people that cannot lift heavy weights due to injury, age, or other factors. 


Increased Strength and Muscle Size 

Even though very light weights are used, BFR training increases protein synthesis similar to traditional strength training. The increase in protein synthesis combined with reduced muscle damage puts the body in the best possible position for building lean muscle. Because BFR causes less muscle damage, gains have been observed faster than with traditional strength training. 

Anti-Aging Effects 

BFR training stimulates the production of Growth Hormone which helps promote growth of lean muscle. BFR training produces a “systemic effect” due to the hormonal release into the body’s circulatory system. While only arms and/or legs may have been under restriction, the hormonal release into the blood stream goes everywhere and benefits any part of the body that was exercised (core, back, etc.).  Doing low intensity workouts BFR allows you to get the maximum benefits without the wear and tear on your body.  


BFR training allows individuals recovering from a hard workout, competition, or injury to maintain physical fitness, increase strength, and reduce atrophy. By limiting blood flow to the muscles, users can work the muscles without placing excessive weight on the limb.  If a part of the body is comprised from being able to tolerate normal training, BFR may provide an alternative form of training to fatigue the body without added stress.  In addition, the systemic aspect of BFR means that non-compromised parts of the body may be trained as normal, so instead of sitting around waiting for the body to repair itself, you can actively produce an anabolic release (i.e., Growth Hormone, etc.) that benefits all parts of the body.  

Now we can answer the question “What is BFR training”? BFR training involves using specially designed bands that modify the blood flow to the limb. This tricks the brain into thinking the muscles are working harder than they are. BFR training allows trainers to help their clients gain more with less effort. Now isn’t that awesome.  


BFR training involves wrapping a band around the top of your arm or leg prior to training. To be effective, this band must be tight enough to restrict the veins in the arms or legs from returning blood from the muscles to the heart, but not so tight that it stops fresh blood traveling from the heart to the muscles. This is extremely important, as stopping arterial blood flow can lead to serious problems. 


How does it work? It’s quite simple, we know that the lack of venous return creates a swelling effect (hypertrophy) of the muscle. Metabolites, such as lactate, accumulate and stimulate muscle growth. So, constricting the limb, prevents blood flow and then causes the muscles to grow.


Why are we talking about BFR, because soon TFC will be offering our “No Mess” bands that are specially designed to allow blood flow to the limb while still adequately restricting flow out of the veins to get the “BFR effect.” We designed these bands to be safe, effective, affordable, and easy-to-use. Today, some of the world’s best athletes, coaches, doctors, and physical therapists use this training system to recover faster, increase muscle, improve performance, and get more out of their workout. And here at TFC after researching the strengths and weaknesses of the BFR effect are ready to bring it to you so be on the lookout for the newest TFC product. No Mess!

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