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Tips & Techniques to Get You Back to Full Strength

Blood Flow Restriction Training: Let's get Swole!

Smith PT & Run 
September 21, 2021



Blood Flow Restriction Training

Written by: Sarah Meyer, PT, DPT, CIDN

Blood Flow Restriction Certified


What is it?

Blood flow restriction training, BFRT, uses flexible cuffs that are placed on the arms and the legs to restrict nutrients to the muscles. By depleting the muscles of nutrients, it tricks the body into performing a very strenuous workout, but at lighter loads, with less wear and tear on the body, and in less time. Limiting the amount of nutrients to the muscles also tricks the body into recruiting Type IIb muscle fibers, which are usually last recruited in a workout and lead to muscle growth and other great benefits.

Because of the lack of nutrients/oxygen to the tissue, the body releases growth hormone and other anabolic hormones to help rebuild the tissues that have been working so hard in a nutrient deficient environment.

What are the benefits of BFR?

Due to the physiology of using BFR cuffs, listed below are some of the benefits:

  • Hypertrophy- muscle growth, improving strength, improving muscle size and endurance
  • Improving bone growth and connective tissue growth - this is great for post-op patients, fractures, wound healing, and osteoporosis
  • Improving vascular health – potentially decreases blood pressure


Is it Safe?

ABSOLUTELY! I am specifically trained in B strong BFR cuffs and personally use them weekly (most weeks). These cuffs are FLEXIBLE cuffs, which prevents the cuff from completely occluding the artery. The only time people come into problems using BFR is when they use a rigid cuff that acts as a tourniquet.

What does BFR feel like?

It feels like you just did a really strenuous lifting workout, with using maybe 5 # dumbbells or even just bodyweight. Some people describe the sensation from BFR as tingling, burning, swelling, or just fatiguing.  You should NOT feel dizzy, lightheaded, nausea, or in pain.

Interested in BFR to speed up your recovery or increase your performance, come see me at Smith PT and Running Academy!

See you soon!

Meet the Author
We firmly believe that the therapist and the patient should decide the plan of care – not the insurance company. You shouldn’t have to go back to your activities without feeling ready. Nor should you have to wait for pain in order to seek knowledge on how to prevent it. We give you back your control and provide you the care you deserve with treatment plans customized around YOU.