No Gym? No Problem! Keep your Gains with Blood Flow Restriction Training

Have you tried BFR Training yet?

Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) Training is an incredible way to maintain and build muscle while using very light resistance. It’s something that I use in clinic everyday with a wide variety of my physical therapy patients and strength training clients. At times like this where going to the gym is likely not allowed, it should be known that there is a way to maintain and build muscle mass when access to heavy weights and your favorite equipment may not be available.

When do I use it with people? Blood flow restriction training is a great option anytime I wan’t someone to build muscle and strength, but for some reason I do not or cannot load them with heavy weights. In fact, it’s probably the best option.

At this point, it’s use is supported by countless research studies in both the medical and strength and conditioning fields. BFR is shown to be incredibly safe for people of all ages so long as they don’t have contraindications.

In short, BFR creates a training stimulus that is similar to heavy resistance training…without the heavy resistance. This comes from a number of factors both on the limb or limbs that are being restricted and systemically by altering hormone levels (stimulates growth hormone release).

How do you use it and why does it work?

So how does it work? It’s pretty simple. You create enough pressure around the working limb to partially limit blood flow to the working muscles but more importantly the pressure prevents your veins from returning blood to the system. This creates a backlog of metabolites from your working muscles and meanwhile the working muscles and tissues get swollen. Upon release the metabolites reach the pituitary gland and this triggers a hormonal response leading to muscle growth.

How do you use it? You can use it with simple exercises like a biceps curl or leg extension. You can use it during more complex movements like squats or rowing. And you can even use it during cardio events like hiking, biking or swimming. Yes, there is research that shows using BFR during “cardio” type activities can build muscle.

Is this cheating? No. It’s manipulating your body to create a response. This is no different than manipulating other types of exercise parameters. Think about it. You can change how many times per week you train, for how long, how intense, how much resistance you use, etc. With blood flow restriction training you are just controlling another variable. And, its not easy! If makes a fairly easy exercise feel very challenging.

Which BFR system should I get for home?

For home use we recommend B Strong BFR Bands. Their bands are designed very intelligently with safety measures in place and have great customer support and guidance. These are great pieces of exercise equipment to pick up while you are stuck at home away from the gym.

Learn more here:

If you decide to purchase you can use our code “TRAINWITHKYLE” at checkout to save some money.

Go to B Strong Website

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Kyle Sela, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, CSCS

Kyle is a physical therapist who is a board certified specialist in sports and orthopedics. He completed a sports medicine fellowship at Duke University in the Management of Division I Athletes and served as a physical therapist on active duty in the US Army where he cared for a Brigade Combat Team during a deployment to Iraq. His passion is in movement efficiency and maximizing every patient's potential to live life to the highest quality. The SquatGuideâ„¢ reflects years of experience teaching people to squat with great form and efficiency so that they may benefit from this great exercise.

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