The Complete BFR Guide

The Complete Research-Based Guide For Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) Training

General Recommendations & Safety Measures<strong> ⇩</strong>
Cuff Placement
Only Proximal At The Arm OR Proximal At The Thigh
Assess Limb Occlusion Pressure & Use 40-80% LOP OR Use The Calculate Pressure Module At
Gradual Exposure
Prioritized In The Following order
Increase Restriction Time
Increase Repetitions, Sets Or Exercises
Progress Load Or Intensity (kg or Watts)
Maybe Slightly Increase Cuff Pressure (mmHg) (<80% LOP)
Safety Concerns In At-Risk Populations
Assess Risk Factors & Contraindications: Bond et al. (2019) & Patterson et al. (2019)
Short Restriction Time Or Deflate (mmHg) Between Sets (Intermittent BFR)
Measure Limb Occlusion Pressure (LOP) / AOP & use Low Pressure (40-50% LOP)
Physician Approval for BFR
Assess Pressure (mmHg) During Exercise
Be Aware Of Dizziness Numbness, Discomfort, etc.
Prescription of BFR With Resistance Training <strong>⇩</strong>

2-3 Times a Week (>3 Weeks) or

1-2 Times Per Day (<3 Weeks)


20-50% of One Repetition Maximum (1RM)

Rep Scheme

1-3 Exercises, 2-4 Sets, Reps 30x15x15x15 or Failure


<15 min if Continuous BFR Or Deflation Between Exercise (No BFR Inter-Exercise)


Inter-Set: 30-60 Seconds

Inter-Exercise: >1min


Intermittent (No BFR Inter-set) or

Continuous At 40-80% LOP

Why Use BFR With Resistance Training
Gain Strength & Muscle Size When High-Load Training is Not Possible Or Painful
Use As Supplement To Concurrent High-Load Training
Prescription of BFR With Aerobic Exercise <strong>⇩</strong>

2-3 Times a Week (>3 Weeks) or1-2 Times Per Day (<3 Weeks)


30-70% VO2 Max or Heart Rate Reserve (HRR) or Watt-Max


<20 min As Continuous Steady State orInterval Training


40-80% LOP As Continuous orintermittent pressure (mmHg)


Cycling, Walking, Running, Stair Climbing, Rowing, etc.

Why Use BFR With Aerobic Exercise
Improve Performance e.g.
VO2-max, Strength, Muscle Size & Endurance
As a Part of Early Phase Rehab For Load Compromised Individuals
Prescription Of Passive BFR <strong>⇩</strong>

1-2 Times Per Day Or Pre/Post Strenuous Training

Time & Intervals

3-5 Intervals – 3-5 min Inflation Followed by 3-5 min Deflation


80-100% Limb Occlusion Pressure (LOP)


Ischemic Pre/Post Conditioner: 1-2 Hours Before/After Relevant Activity

Why Use Passive BFR
To Attenuate Muscle Loss After Surgery or Severe Injury
To improve Sports performance known as Ischemic Pre Conditioner (IPC)
To improve Recovery after exercise known as Ischemic Post Conditioner
BFR With Concurrent Conventional Exercise <strong>⇩</strong>
Resistance Training or Aerobic Exercise
Relative to Goals & Concurrent Training
Alternating as 1-3 Times Per Week
Used Following Days of Strenuous Training Or A Game
Why BFR With Concurrent High-Load/Intensity Training
Faster Restitution Compared To Conventional Exercise
Augment the Effect Of Conventional Training & Exercise Programs
Maintain Strength & Muscle Mass With Concurrent High Volume Training
Additional Content <strong>⇩</strong>
Model For Progressive Rehab with BFR
Passive BFR (80-100% LOP) & BFR-Walking (40-80% LOP)
Continuous Aerobic BFR Exercise i.e. Steady State: 40-60% Relative To VO2max, HHR or Watt-max
Very Low load Resistance BFR Training (<2O% 1RM) + High Pressure (70-80% LOP)
Higher Intensity Interval Aerobic BFR Exercise: 60-80% Relative To VO2max, HHR or Watt-max
Low-moderate Load Resistance BFR Training (25-50% 1RM) + Moderate Pressure (40-60% LOP)
BFR To Improve Sport & Athletic Performance
Sprint Speed – Near maximal Effort (6O-80% Max Velocity) with 30-6O s. Inter-set-rest 20-100 Meter Sprints + Continuous Pressure
Continuous Aerobic: 50-70% Relative To VO2max, HHR or Watt-max
Time to Exhaustion / Endurance: 60-100% Relative to VO2max, HHR or Watt-max. 1-5 min Intervals Inter-set Rest Without Pressure
Anaerobic Performance As 1-3 min Intervals With 30-60 s. Inter-set Rest Without Pressure. Progressively Higher Intensity (6O–>90%) relative to VO2max + 60–>90% LOP

Primary Source:

Bond et al. (2019) Blood Flow Restriction Resistance Exercise as a Rehabilitation Modality Following Orthopaedic Surgery: A Review of Venous Thromboembolism Risk.

Patterson et al. (2019) Blood Flow Restriction Exercise, Considerations of Methodology Application, and Safety.

Loenneke et al. (2012) Blood Flow Restriction: An Evidence Based Progressive Model (Review)

Barbalho et al. (2019) Addition of Blood Flow Restriction to Passive Mobilization Reduces the Rate of Muscle Wasting in Elderly Patients in the intensive Care Unit: A Within-patient Randomized Trial

Rolnick et Schoenfeld (2020) Blood Flow Restriction Training and the Physique Athlete- A Practical Research- Based Guide to Maximizing Muscle Size.

Bennet et al. (2018) Effects of Blood Flow Restriction Training on Aerobic Capacity and Performance a Review

Amani et al. (2019) Effects of Blood Flow Restriction and Exercise Intensity on Aerobic, Anaerobic, and Muscle Strength Adaptations in Physically Active Collegiate Women

Behringer et al. (2017) Low-Intensity Sprint Training With Blood Flow Restriction Improves 100-m Dash.

Christiansen et al. (2019) Cycling with blood Flow restriction improves performance and muscle K+ handling and blunts the effect of antioxidant infusion in humans

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