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Blood Flow Restriction Training

Blood Flow Restriction Training

Blood flow restriction training (BFR), also known as occlusion training, has recently become popular in the sports rehabilitation world as a way to reintroduce training under low-load situations. It’s sudden rise in popularity comes after numerous studies have begun to show benefits in areas such as:

-Muscle size
-Muscle endurance
-Prevention of muscle atrophy
-Increase in type-II muscle fiber recruitment -Increase in local growth hormone

While this list may seem like a fairytale to some, browsing the research will show you not only are all these things possible with BFR, but that they can be accomplished at 20-30% max load. That’s right, you can work out with 20-30% of your maximum capacity, and still achieve results typically seen at 70% max. This is an excellent adjunct for those returning from an acute injury getting back to play after surgery.

How is all this possible?

The thought is that restricting venous flow while creating muscle contraction overloads the cells with fluid, blood, metabolites and hormones, causing an increase in size and recruitment of certain muscle fibers. This sudden change forces the body to quickly adapt, sending growth hormone and other factors to the area, increasing the aforementioned qualities.

The one thing most people are concerned with are the side effects. The beauty of BFR is that there is no more risk than regular exercise. This is huge for the sports rehab world as it can potentially allow us to maximize results following injury with much less load on the body. BFR can also help to reduce atrophy during recovery as the effects are seen not only distally to the cuff being used, but proximally as well.

At Greenwich Sports Medicine, we utilize the Occlusion Cuff daily in our sports rehab setting. The Occlusion Cuff allows us to accurately measure the amount of pressure being utilized during a session, and is much more effective and beneficial than other means.

If you’re interested in checking out what exactly blood flow restriction training entails, or would like to enquire about beginning a BFR program, feel free to give our office a call at 203-531-3131.


Loenneke, J. P., J. M. Wilson, P. J. Marín, M. C. Zourdos, and M. G. Bemben. “Low Intensity Blood
Flow Restriction Training: A Meta-analysis.” European Journal of Applied Physiology. U.S. National
Library of Medicine, May 2012. Web. 09 Apr. 2017.

Clark, B. C., T. M. Manini, R. L. Hoffman, P. S. Williams, M. K. Guiler, M. J. Knutson, M. L. McGlynn,

and M. R. Kushnick. “Relative Safety of 4 Weeks of Blood Flow-restricted Resistance Exercise in

Young, Healthy Adults.” Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. U.S. National Library

Loenneke, J. P., G. J. Wilson, and J. M. Wilson. “A Mechanistic Approach to Blood Flow Occlusion.”
International Journal of Sports Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Jan. 2010. Web. 09 Apr.


Alex Svac