Blood Flow Restriction Training: What Is It and Is It Right For You?
By: Dr. Jesse Espe, PT, DPT, CSCS, CIDN
So... What Is BFR exactly?
In order to fully understand what blood flow restriction (BFR) training is and how it works, first we need to brush up on how the cardiovascular system works. In a nutshell, your arteries carry oxygenated blood to your working muscles, then your veins carry the deoxygenated blood back to your heart. BFR was originally developed in the 1960’s in Japan, known as KAATSU training there, to play with this system and try to hack your physiology. Essentially it involves applying a band or cuff proximally to the muscle(s) being trained, typically upper arms and legs. The cuff is then inflated to a determined pressure. This pressure then will limit the amount of venous return out of the muscle while still allowing the arteries to carry oxygenated blood to the working muscles. Once applied, the athlete will complete a low load (20-30% of 1 RM), with high repetitions (15-30) with a short rest interval between sets (30 seconds).
Dr. Luke Greenwell is a Performance Based Physical Therapist with an extensive background in treating the injured athlete. He is passionate about returning people to the sports & activities they love. He has post-doctorate certifications in Manual Spine Therapy and Functional Dry Needling. He is also a NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He has extensive experience in Dartfish video gait/running analysis, concussion rehab, & functional movement screening & correction. He is the owner of CrossFit based RecoverRx Physical Therapy