POST AUTHORED BY CODY HAFFNER, DPT Physical Therapist at our DuPont Country Club Location
In recent weeks, we have been highlighting different treatment options and technologies we frequently use as a part of our care at Omega Project to expedite recovery and promote healing. This week, it’s BFR’s turn!
So, what is BFR Training?
Bloodflow Restriction Therapy allows for a unique form of strengthening that has been proven to improve muscle strength, size, and aerobic capacity while putting less stress on the body. BFR training is the practice of using cuffs around your arms or legs inflated to a certain percentage of your arterial blood pressure. Restricting the blood flow in this way simulates an anaerobic environment: the type of environment created during heavy-duty strength training! What this means, is you can use far less resistance and expect similar strength gains and muscle growth.
Are there any other benefits?
You bet. In addition to the strengthening benefits, the use of BFR cuffs can help to improve VO2 max and can improve healing time frames. Using BFR cuffs during low-level cardiovascular exercise is proven to help improve VO2max. At rest, the application of cuffs can increase the production of growth factor and other healing agents, which can improve your body’s ability to heal from injuries like tendinitis, bone fractures, and other injuries.
Who would benefit from BFR?
Post-Op patients: If you have ever undergone orthopedic surgery, you are familiar with the need to protect the surgical site for weeks, if not months, in order to allow for adequate healing. Throughout this time, weakness sets in, and muscles surrounding the surgical site will atrophy only to have to be re-strengthened once restrictions are lifted. BFR can be a safe and effective way to target these muscles earlier in the rehab process to prevent atrophy and expedite recovery, all while protecting the surgery.
Endurance athletes: It is well proven that endurance athletes benefit from supplementing running, swimming, and biking with strength training. BFR can be a great adjunct to endurance training and provide some serious strength gain without having to navigate barbells and gyms. A workout with BFR cuffs and light kettlebells can provide similar strengthening benefits as a heavy squatting program!
Weight Lifters/Crossfit Athletes: Using BFR to supplement a heavy gym routine can provide some much-needed rest for joints, tendons, and ligaments. Most strengthening workouts require a rep scheme performed at 60-80% of your 1 rep max to promote strengthening; the use of BFR can provide the same strengthening at 20% of your 1RM!
Those looking to recover from an injury: So often in physical therapy, we stress the need to strengthen around problematic joints or “load” problematic tendons however, this strengthening can be limited by pain. BFR can be a great way to kickstart the strengthening process without over-stressing an injury.
If you think BFR may be a helpful adjunct to your current rehab or exercise program, reach out for an evaluation and get set up with a customized strengthening program!
Currently, BFR is only available with Cody at our DuPont Country Club Location.