TRAINING TIPS: BLOOD FLOW RESISTANCE (BFR) TRAINING FOR FASTER RESULTS?
Ever wonder why the Ultimate Warrior was so jacked? Maybe it was BFR Training? What is Blood Flow Resistance (BFR)
Training? Not only is it one of the hottest
new buzz words, it may be useful. And
like most new buzz words in the sports industry, the masses are going to try it
out. That is why I am going to give you
my two cents (like I’ve said before, I like classic
clichés). With that being said, let’s jump right into
it (another one).
WHAT IS BFR?
BFR isn’t just a cool sounding acronym. It refers to a training system where you
limit the amount of blood leaving the working muscles. It first gained popularity with professional
athletes. Dwight Howard (NBA Center)
used BFR to recover from a serious knee injury. In fact, he had so much success with BFR that he was able to continue
his NBA career, and secure millions of dollars from several unsuspecting
franchises. Mr. Howard has proven that
BFR works for building muscle, but it also fails at making your basketball game
Dwight Howard performed the technique differently than most
people. You see, he had an NBA training
budget. He used a pressure accurate pump
sleeve (like a blood pressure arm cuff) to limit the amount of blood leaving
his legs. Most of us are going to have
to use bands or wraps to accomplish this feat. However, his results were impressive. He was able to strengthen the muscles around his knee using light weight. Why is this important? I’m glad you asked. Because it allowed for minimal strain to be
put on his knee joint while it was recovering. Something that many NBA athletes before him couldn’t do.
HOW DOES BFR WORK?
BFR works by
restricting the blood flowing through the veins, away from your muscles, and
allows blood to flow through your arteries, to your muscles. You have a balloon like effect. The blood stays trapped in the working muscles
longer. A few things are going to
happen. You will get a crazy pump that
will shock the muscles into growing, and you will deprive the muscles of
oxygen. When the muscles are deprived of
oxygen, you will have an accumulation of waste materials that causes metabolic
stress (acidosis). Metabolic stress is a
major mechanism of muscle growth.
Also, your fast twitch
muscles will get worked with a smaller load. The increased blood will tax your slow twitch muscles faster and allow
you to tap into your fast twitch fibers faster. Usually you must lift heavy, or with fast explosive movements to
stimulate your fast twitch fibers. By
activating your fast twitch muscles faster, you won’t have to rely on heavy
weights and explosive movements for growth. Thus, you can eliminate two types of lifting styles that can easily
HOW DO YOU PERFORM BFR
BFR training doesn’t
require that you are a rocket scientist (3rd use of a classic
cliché). You can either buy BFR
training bands from Amazon or use knee wraps. The key is not to wrap them too tight. You want to be at around a 7 out of 10, where 10 is so tight that your
arms are turning purple. Use light weight
and perform a set for a minimum of 30-60 seconds. You will know it is working by the burn, and
crazy pump you get.
WHEN SHOULD YOU USE BFR?
The question is not whether BFR works. It has been proven to be effective. However, I am not convinced that you should
abandon your entire workout strategy for BFR. In my opinion, I think BFR is used best when added to an already sound
workout routine. I would add it at the
end of your workouts for a couple of pump sets. This is like the technique that Hany Rambod and Phil Heath made
famous. Hany’s FST-7 Fascia Stretch
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