Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) Training aka. Occlusion Training is partial restriction of blood flow originating from 1970s Japan, where it is called Kaatsu training. It is primarily an alternative or supplement to conventional resistance training and musculoskeletal rehabilitation.
Traditionally the recommendation to develop strength is to use loads at least 60% of One-Repetition-Max (1RM). However, various research articles and Meta-analysis proves that low load exercise augmented by BFR is about as beneficial as conventional resistance training and aerobic exercise!
Bodybuilding only – not at all! In fact, there are important research on miscellaneous muscle and skeletal pathologies which proves that occlusion training (BFR Training) has significant effect on both strength and Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROM). As a rule of thumb occlusion training is indicated if you have an acute or overload injury where you cannot do conventional resistance training i.e. lift heavy. For example, following orthopedic surgeries with absolute weight- or load bearing restrictions, or chronic conditions such as arthritis, as a many will find joint pain or joint swelling worsens during and after conventional resistance training. In such cases BFR exercises should be “first-line therapy”.
Considering the above rationale, one can wonder why only a few private or public providers offers BFR therapy? – When new exercise or medical tech emerge, thus evidence-based, the implementation is always delayed for safety reasons. But considering the amount of high quality research i.e. randomized controlled trials (RCT’s) for the last 3 decades and subsequently the vast amount of meta-analysis, BFR is here to stay and only to grow in popularity in the forthcoming. In summary, the data are rapidly expanding and Blood Flow Restriction Training has already proven its safety and effectiveness in various populations.
Click below as we present some of the articles on various musculoskeletal pains and other conditions with reference to some of the relevant literature.