Advances in Resistance Training with BFROctober 23, 2023
In a recent open-access article, the latest discoveries in the applications of BFR are discussed. One of the most extensively researched and well-established applications of active BFR involves its combination with LLR to enhance muscle development. Although there are variations in the specific protocols utilized, there is a general consensus regarding the key parameters necessary to achieve significant muscular adaptation:
Low loads (typically 20%–40% of 1RM). Advances in Low-Load Resistance Training with Blood Flow Restriction (LLR-BFR)
Moderate training volumes, such as 4 sets of 30/15/15/15 reps or performing sets to failure.
Short rest intervals (30–60 seconds).
Applying BFR at a pressure level ranging from 40% to 80% of that required to completely obstruct arterial blood flow at rest, i.e Arterial Occlusion Pressure / Limb Occlusion Pressure (AOP/LOP).
Studies have demonstrated that LLR-BFR can lead to increases in both muscle size and strength, comparable to those achieved through traditional high-load resistance training in various groups from powerlifters to older individuals.
Moreover, the advantages of LLR-BFR extends to proximal muscles, with LLR-BFR bench press shown to increase the thickness of the pectoralis major muscle comparable to unrestricted High-load resistance training.
LLR-BFR has also been found to induce tendon hypertrophy comparable to that achieved through high-load unrestricted training. Emerging evidence suggests that LLR-BFR may also promote markers of bone formation, and it seems incorporating BFR into post-surgery rehab can help mitigate bone loss.
Furthermore, BFR has been associated with vascular adaptations. Notably, the effects of BFR on the expression of mRNA related to hypoxia-inducible factor-1α and vascular endothelial growth factor appear to be more pronounced when combined with resistance exercises compared with aerobic exercise.
A promising new implication of LLR-BFR is pain reduction, supported by a growing body of evidence indicating that BFR can elevate pain thresholds. It appears that pressure and whether exercise is performed to failure is important to achieve this effect.
Scott et al. (2023) An Updated Panorama of Blood-Flow-Restriction Methods
Relevant secondary Sources:
Perera et al. (2022) Effects of blood flow restriction therapy for muscular strength, hypertrophy, and endurance in healthy and special populations: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Clarkson et a. (2019) Chronic blood flow restriction exercise improves objective physical function: a systematic review
Yasuda et al. (2010). Effects of low-intensity bench press training with restricted arm muscle blood flow on chest muscle hypertrophy: a pilot study
Centner et al. (2022) Low-load blood flow restriction and high-load resistance training induce comparable changes in patellar tendon properties
Jack et al. (2023). Blood flow restriction therapy preserves lower extremity bone and muscle mass after ACL reconstruction
Bjørnsen et al. (2019) Type 1 muscle fiber hypertrophy after blood flow-restricted training in powerlifters
Bowman et al. (2019) Proximal, Distal, and Contralateral Effects of Blood Flow Restriction Training on the Lower Extremities: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Li et al. (2022) The effect of blood flow restriction exercise on angiogenesis-related factors in skeletal muscle among healthy adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Maga et. Al. (2023) Impact of Blood-Flow-Restricted Training on Arterial Functions and Angiogenesis: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis.
Karanasios et al. (2023) Low-intensity blood flow restriction exercises modulate pain sensitivity in healthy adults: a systematic review