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Occlusion training (BFR) is not just for people with injuries, pain or aches as the potential for performance optimization is huge for all athletes of any level! . Especially the king of upper body compound exercise, the bench press, has been explored in at least 3 studies with the augmentation of BFR. . In a study by Zachary et al., the BFR group underwent the common 30x15x15x15 protocol, but with progressive loads from 20 to 32 % 1RM for 3/week in the 4 weeks training period. The BFR group demonstrated significantly greater increases in bench press performance (6 kg) compared to a conventional high load training group (1.5 kg). . Yasuda et al. (2010) looked at how non-restricted trunk muscles are affected by compound exercise with the supplementation of BFR. The BFR group trained twice daily, 6d/week for 2 weeks, performing bench press at 30% 1RM with the common 30x15x15x15 protocol. The results were significant, as an increase in 1RM bench press in the BFR group of 6% with no improvements in the non BFR group. Muscle thickness in the triceps and pectoralis major increased by 8% and 16% respectively in the BFR group, with just about no change in the non BFR group. . Yamanaka et al. (2012) studied BFR on National Collegiate Athletic IA football players, but with a lighter load of 20% 1RM, thus higher rep protocol as 30x20x20x20. The results concluded that the average 1RM bench press increased by 7.0% in the BFR group, which was significantly greater than the 3.2% increase in the non BFR group. . Conclusion: The data from the 3 studies suggests that BFR is effective for improving bench press strength and muscle size both upstream and downstream relative to the cuff. Probably most potent with loads above 20 % 1 RM, thus obviously, only when clinical feasible to use higher loads. . SOURCE: Zachary et al. (2017) The Effect of Practical Blood Flow Restriction Training on Body Composition and Muscular Strength in College-Aged Individuals. . Yasuda et al. (2010) Effects of low-intensity bench press training with restricted arm muscle blood flow on chest muscle. . Yamanaka et al. (2012) Occlusion training increases muscular strength in division IA football players.

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