What is Blood Flow Restriction Training and How Can It Help you?
Are you trying to increase the size of your muscles? Would you like to decrease the time it takes to build muscle mass? Are you battling an injury that has led to muscle atrophy (when muscles waste away) due to nonuse? Are you training for an athletic event and unable to tolerate moderate to high load resistance training? If you are trying to accomplish any of these things, blood flow restriction training may be a beneficial technique for you.
Blood flow restriction (BFR) training is a method used to increase muscle hypertrophy (growth in size) by placing blood pressure cuffs or wraps around your limbs during exercise. BFR works by allowing the blood flow of your arteries to occur while restricting the return of blood flow through your veins. This creates a rapid flow of blood into your working muscles and traps it there. The blood starts pooling up in the muscle just like a balloon and causes the muscle to swell in size. When blood flows into a muscle without veins pulling it back out, it leads to an accumulation of metabolites, an increase in growth hormones, and an increase in collagen synthesis. This, in turn, causes muscles to grow, repair and recover at a faster rate.
BFR training is viewed as an emerging trend for those who cannot safely tolerate high repetition and intensity of muscle strength training, or for those who want to increase muscle mass quickly. You can use lighter loads to build muscle instead of wearing down your joints from heavy loading. BFR can be beneficial during recovery from an injury by decreasing the time it takes to grow and strengthen your muscles.
Research has been positive in backing up the muscular benefits and strength gains shown by this technique, however, the effect BFR training has on your cardiovascular and skeletal system is unknown and safety parameters are still being discussed. Therefore, it is important to have this technique performed under the care of a physical therapist.
If you have muscle atrophy, an injury, or have had trouble strengthening a certain muscle group, you can find a physical therapist who may choose to perform BFR training in addition to creating an exercise routine specific for you. You can find and book a physical therapy appointment today without a prescription from your medical doctor by going to betterPT.com or using our mobile app to find a physical therapist who fits your needs. A physical therapist can help you get those muscles bigger and stronger, quicker and faster!