BLOOD FLOW RESTRICTION TRAINING

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WHAT IS BLOOD FLOW RESTRICTION TRAINING?

Blood flow restriction (BFR) therapy uses a compression device similar to a blood pressure cuff. The cuff, or tourniquet, is placed on the proximal end of either a limb of the upper extremity or a limb of the lower extremity. The tourniquet is then inflated to a specific pressure that causes complete venous occlusion while still allowing arterial inflow. This means that the tourniquet is allowing the blood to flow into the limb through the arteries, but it is restricting the return flow out of the limb through the veins.

The cuffed limb is then used to perform resistance exercises at a low intensity with high repetitions and short breaks between. Since these exercises are being performed with reduced blood flow, the muscles are working with a reduced oxygen level. This makes the body think it is working harder than it is. It also produces an increase in hormone production, helps build muscle protein, and promotes hypertrophy, or muscle growth.