Blood Flow Restriction Therapy
Coming back from an injury, healing from surgery, or simply battling age-related muscle loss can be extremely demotivating. Even though your body is doing what it's ingeniously built for — recovering, rebuilding, and returning stronger than ever — the road to recovery can feel like you're losing or missing out on:
- Muscle gains
- Mind-body connection
Blood flow restriction therapy with JAG PT helps you resolve these issues and get back to living your best life.
Your physical goals could be as simple as wanting to restart your daily walks. Or the pain from past or current injuries could be deeply affecting how well you bounce back. Blood flow restriction therapy can help you pave the road to recovery more effectively and safely.
Preferred by Olympians around the world, and offered by our expert PTs, blood flow restriction therapy is a proven method for increasing muscle mass, enhancing strength and endurance — all while reducing pain.
Recover & Rebuild With Blood Flow Restriction Training
Blood flow restriction training is exactly what it sounds like: you restrict arterial blood flow and venous outflow on a muscle to create the same kind of pressure you'll see in extremely strenuous exercises — without all that actual strain.
That's why patients recovering from injury, surgery, immobilization, muscle atrophy, and age-related decline love the after-effects of training with blood flow responses.
Blood flow restriction therapy is called “the future of fitness.” But, the fact is that BFR, which uses an elastic band, cuff, or even a surgical tourniquet system to restrict blood flow from a limb to stimulate muscle hypertrophy (growth), is not a new training or physical therapy modality.
Physical therapy and occupational therapy researchers have been digging deep into the positive effects of BFR for the last 20 years. And the results are consistent: you can maintain muscle strength even if you decrease your 1RM (the maximum weight you can lift for a single rep exercise).
Under the guidance and supervision of experts at JAG PT, you'll follow a personalized plan design to support your progressive recovery. As you return to full strength, BFR is the ideal method for those who can't yet opt for high-intensity exercises but need to maintain, or even regain, muscle strength and hypertrophy.
Here's How a BFR Session Could Work for You
- Based on clinical knowledge of your injury and training goals, your JAG PT will design a plan of exercises that target key muscles. How difficult these are depends on where you are in the rehab process and your level of activity tolerance for high-intensity exercises.
- They'll place the cuff on the muscle you're working on. For example, straight leg raises require the cuff on the thigh. Upper body exercises require straps, wraps, or cuffs to be placed between your shoulders and bicep or tricep muscles. A blood flow restriction exercise is essentially any training movement where you're wearing these implements while performing (think of a blood pressure cuff).
- These specialized tourniquet systems can be inflated to a pressure that best suits your needs and tolerance. You can also vary the width of the band or cuff based on the muscle being worked. As you can imagine, your thigh circumference needs a wider cuff than your biceps.
- Your friendly, experienced JAG PT will work with you on exercises that include 3 sets of 15 repetitions with a 30-45-second break between sets (with the cuff inflated). You'll also take 1 minute of rest break between exercises with the pneumatic cuff deflated.
Blood flow restriction therapy is highly customizable and versatile. For example, as you get stronger, with improved form, your JAG PT may recommend using BFR to max out in the last part of your weight-free training session. This allows you to experience muscle fatigue and prevent further pain from an existing injury during training.
Get Strong & Go Beyond With Personalized BFR Therapy
The fact that you can boost your strength with lighter loads or protect against a loss of muscle mass all comes down to the external pressure created by a pneumatic cuff and the effects of blood flow on muscle growth.
From a more effective release of hormones to a more efficient cardiovascular response without unsafe strain on your limbs, blood flow restriction training can allow you to regain and rebuild muscular strength using low-load resistance training.
In other words, you'll experience the same effects with less weight.
The real power of BFR therapy is in understanding why it works as well as it does:
- The added pressure from the cuff placed on a muscle (your thighs, biceps, triceps, etc.) occludes or blocks the movement of blood flow through the arteries (arterial inflow).
- This blockage deprives the muscles of oxygen creating a hypoxic (low oxygen) environment, which stresses your muscle out and tricks your brain into believing that you're under the pressure of a much higher weight load than you're currently bearing.
- The restricted blood flow also triggers hormonal and protein production responses that you ordinarily see in high-intensity training sessions. The hypoxic environment created by the inflated cuff leads to an increase in the production of lactate and other metabolites in active muscles.
- Compression causes these metabolites in the blood to pool and accumulate, but when the cuff is deflated and the pressure reduced, these metabolites can begin their role in the muscle's rebuilding and inflammatory-repair response
- As your body rests, it clears up this build-up and adapts faster and more effectively to future repetitions under BFR conditions because the cuffs cause greater fatigue, muscle activation, and anabolic signaling pathways that lead to muscle growth.
Experience Progressive Gains & Lasting Change with JAG PT On Your Side
At Jag, we're committed to bringing our patients leading-edge physical therapy, sports medicine, and occupational therapy solutions. As foremost leaders in physical therapy care, our treatment plans are comprehensive and holistic, helping you not only get back to everyday mobility but see significant, positive growth in your personal fitness.
Watching the consistent progress of our patients is proof that BFR training, or occlusion therapy, is the key to training muscles that are at risk of atrophy or even rapidly decreasing neuromuscular control because of age-related factors or post-op recovery.