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What is BFR? (Blood Flow Restriction)

Updated: Jun 10, 2023

BFR stands for “Blood Flow Restriction.” As the name implies, it restricts blood flow to a target area or muscle. Specifically, it restricts arterial and venous blood flow to control the amount of oxygen entering and leaving the muscle. The application of BFR involves a pressure cuff similar to the cuff found when taking your blood pressure and an applicator that measures the inflation.

Male athlete working out with dumbbells

The mechanism behind BFR training

BFR mimics high intensity strength training by tricking the body into thinking it's under high resistance. This induces the body’s physiological response to repair damaged tissues. In high resistance training, the demand for oxygen increases dramatically. When the body is under this high stress it produces growth factors and muscle repair cells in response to the low oxygen environment.

By placing the body in a controlled ischemic environment (depriving the oxygen from the muscle) we can get similar benefits of high resistance training without the downsides such as muscle breakdown and soreness. It is an excellent method to help heal injuries, decreasing recovery time without further damage that could delay the healing process.

Does BFR actually work?

There are over 850 peer-reviewed articles on the science and application of BFR. The studies show a positive impact on building strength, decreasing pain, and improving recovery.

BFR can be used for:

  • Post-surgical strengthening

  • Preventing atrophy or muscle wasting

  • Muscle recovery

  • Tendinitis/Tendinopathy

  • Repair and Growth

  • Increase cardiovascular health

  • Improve Bone Density and Function

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