This will help maintain high muscle growth and at the same time give you plenty of time for cardio exercises, sport-specific training or heavier training sessions, if desired. For most people, 2-3 days a week is enough. Make sure you listen to your body as you do it. Every body is different, so you may have to increase or decrease depending on you.
However, keep in mind that if you are starting a blood flow restriction workout or are not used to these types of high-repetition sets, you may need a little more time to recover from such a metabolically demanding workout. To begin with, just use bfr training once or twice a week until you feel that your muscles are recovering around 24 hours. Since I first wrote about this on this site two years ago, blood flow restriction (BFR) training has become increasingly popular in weight rooms around the world. However, that does not mean that it is perfectly understood.
In fact, given the many different names (occlusion training, hypoxic training, KAATSU), styles (bands, cuffs, bandages) and goals associated with this type of training, the confusion seems to be growing. After researching BFR for years and studying it first hand in the laboratory, I think it has a lot to offer a wide range of people who want to gain muscle, increase their training frequency and try something new in their programming. Unfortunately, most people do not have access to this sophisticated device, which has led our laboratory to complete extensive research into what is known as practical BFR (PBFr). BFR practice involves the use of an elastic bandage to restrict blood flow.
In studies, we have used bandages for knees and elbows. However, elastic cotton bandages can also be used. While practical, one concern is that it can restrict both arteries and veins. Arteries carry blood to muscle, while veins draw blood.
To get the maximum response to swelling, you want the blood to reach the muscle and stay there. So, we want to restrict blood flow to the veins without occluding the arteries. This is important to understand because all the possible negatives that result from BFR come from total occlusion of the veins and arteries. In fact, there is evidence that wrapping tight enough to cause arterial occlusion can slow muscle growth at the wrapped site.
To solve this problem, our laboratory analyzed the effects of perceived pressure on blood flow during TFBr. We used knee bandages on the legs and wrapped the subjects with a perceived pressure of 0, 7 and 10 out of 10, with 10 being the tightest that could be wrapped. We found that for the legs, PBFr at a perceived pressure of 7 out of 10 produced venous restriction, but not arterial. We also found that when training under this pressure, subjects experienced a drastic increase in cellular inflammation, recruited more muscle, and had a lot of metabolic stress.
Research has shown that a narrower cuff width (5-9 cm) reduces the risk of occlusion of arteries, compared to a wider cuff or sheath (13+ cm). For this reason, I also recommend wrapping them around the upper legs or arms in layers rather than spiraling them to the end of the arm or leg. So how much weight should you lift? Research has shown gains with just 20 percent of its 1RM. However, muscle growth in this case is mainly due to slow-twitch, not fast-twitch fibers.
One study compared the BFR of moderate pressure with 20, 30 and 40 percent of the subjects 1RM. They found that fast-twitch muscle fibers were not recruited to the maximum until 40 percent. However, other research has shown that lifting weight to 80 percent 1RM compared to 40 percent does not increase muscle fiber recruitment. In addition, there is less metabolic stress.
With all this in mind, the BFR for maximum muscle growth should probably be performed in about 40 and not more than 50 percent of 1RM. However, if you are using BFR as a recovery day, it is likely that performing resistance training at 20-30 percent of 1RM will still result in benefits in slow-twitch fibers. This could be important, as these fibers are often difficult to hypertrophy. Carlos Ugrinowitsch and his colleagues conducted a study that addressed precisely this topic.
Ugrinowitsch was one of the first scientists to study the molecular mechanisms of BFR, and I am fortunate to now have this genius working in my laboratory. As long as you wrap yourself at moderate pressure and use an intensity close to 40-50 percent 1RM, you should be fine. However, if you wrap it too tightly, you risk complete arterial occlusion. Many people think that BFR training is only for the arms and legs, but can it be used for the chest, back and buttocks? The short answer is yes, there is an increase in muscle activation in the unrestricted limb muscle.
How can this be? Simply put, when wrapping the arms or legs, the nervous system perceives extreme fatigue in the limbs. As such, your body will do everything possible to maintain strength and prevent it from failing. To compensate for it, the nervous system recruits more muscle from the unrestricted limbs. BFR training requires people to train with very high repetitions (15-30 reps).
If you are not used to such high repetitions, that alone can lead to some muscle damage. Because this type of training has low recovery demands compared to high-intensity training, it is likely that it can be done every other day, but probably no more than this. In fact, we found that 2-3 days of BFR per week were better for gaining strength and muscle. However, BFR training requires people to train with very high repetitions (15-30 reps).
However, it is unlikely that the wraps themselves are increasing the demands for recovery. My student Ryan Lowery and I did a study on this question a few years ago using practical BFR. We found that periodization with BFR for a few weeks followed by high-intensity exercise resulted in great muscle growth. However, the speed at which it is periodized should depend on your training state.
Based on previous periodization research, I would recommend that if you are just starting out, alternating every few weeks is likely to work just as well as alternating every day. However, as your training experience increases, I would recommend using the Project Mass plan and changing it every few workouts. I recommend saving failure for your final set instead of every BFR game. You can start with 30 repetitions at 40 percent of your 1-RM, rest 30 seconds, hit 15, repeat and finally fail.
However, as I wrote in Does Training for Failure Help Me or Does It Hurt Me? insufficiency can be very exhausting for the central nervous system. So, I recommend saving failure for your final set instead of every BFR set. In both studies, we found that BFR in combination with high-intensity exercise was an effective method for increasing muscle mass. The interesting thing is that in the second study, we replaced 60 percent of high-intensity training with BFR and found that subjects were still able to increase muscle mass as effectively as 100 percent high-intensity training.
I usually recommend using BFR as a mild recovery day on its own, as a method to unload and heal, or as a method to finish muscle at the end of a workout. The finishing method is supported by studies showing that a heavy workout incorporating a set of very high repetitions at the end performed at 50 percent of your 1RM can increase hypertrophy and strength compared to high-intensity exercise alone. It has been proposed that restricting blood flow causes damage to the veins and ultimately impairs blood flow in the long term. However, research shows that while blood flow is restricted during exercise, over time (four weeks) there is a real increase in the ability to vasodilate and increase blood flow, compared to traditional resistance training alone.
It is important to note that traditional endurance exercise already results in occlusion of blood vessels even during contractions of moderate strength. Therefore, BFR only mimics this response at lower intensity levels. Another concern with BFR is that it can cause thrombosis. Thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot inside a blood vessel, which obstructs blood flow.
The three main factors thought to cause this are hyperability to form a blood clot (hypercoagulability), vascular damage, and vascular occlusion of blood flow. For me, this indicates that several of the BFR training sessions that caused numbness could have been the result of improper wrapping techniques. Learn to do it right and you should have nothing to fear. View all articles by this author.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO SEE AN EFFECT WHEN USING BFR BANDS?. Olympic doctor and BFR expert Jim Stray-Gundersen, MD, recommends gaining some experience in how session B Strong makes you feel and then adjusting your overall training stress to suit your individual appetite for blood flow restriction training. It is also important that you wear long leggings so as not to wrap the band over bare skin, which could be uncomfortable for you and could also cause injury. Traditionally, BFR involves the use of a specialized inflatable cuff, known as a KAATSU device, to restrict venous blood flow.
If, for example, one breaks the right ACL, you can continue the B Strong BFR TrainingTM training on the other three limbs normally. First, they can do their normal training with their normal feelings to judge how hard or how much they do, not influenced by BFR training. Today we will explore this panacea of fitness, its pros and cons, the best bfr bands on the market and how you can start training for the best results. However, it is definitely important when using BFR that it restricts but does not completely occlude arterial flow.
When you have the BFR bands properly tensioned before inflating them, you will start to feel a little restriction, you will notice some color change in the limb, and you will have distended veins. The effects of BFR on tendons have not been studied in humans with normal tendons or with injured tendons or tendinopathies. The pressure in the B Strong BFR BandsTM restricts or prevents venous blood from returning to the central circulation. It is easier to recover from BFR training than in high-intensity training, due to the lighter loads used.