In the fitness world, there will always be new exercise methods. Blood Flow Resistance (BFR) training is a new strategy that can help gain muscle and may be right for you. Some weightlifters will eventually hit a standstill when it comes to gaining muscle mass and definition, and this could help to overcome it.
Through research, Blood Flow Resistance training has been shown to increase muscle mass. According to Physical Therapist Jeff Cavalier, the reason this method works is because it activates type II muscle fibers quicker as well as increases intramuscular metabolic response. These are both necessities to gain larger and more defined muscles.
In a research done by Dr. Eric Bowman, 40 subjects were tested using BFR and all were seen to have greater manual strength than those in the control group. This can be particularly beneficial for those who suffer from joint pain or recovering from an injury as this workout strengthens the muscle while using a lesser weight.
How is it done? The subject can use a band or lifting strap to tie around the body part that is prior to the muscle being worked. Always consult with an educated fitness professional on band placement for different movements. Incorrect band placement can be harmful and dangerous.
For example, if the lifter was wanting to work the biceps, they would tie the band around the shoulder/armpit region to restrict blood flow to the biceps muscle. The band should be tight, but the lifter should still feel a pulse in their arm as blood flow to the muscle is still needed. After this is done the sets go as follows: one set of 25 repetitions followed by 3 sets of 15 repetitions with 30 second rest periods. The weight varies for each person, but it should be a lower weight done with proper form. Then the strap/band is taken off. The lifter should always check his/her pulse after tying the bands.
People with blood pressure problems, medical conditions or are new to exercise should consult with a physician before using this exercise method. Not every exercise method is made for everyone.