What is BFR Training?
- Improve Strength
- Reduce wear and tear
- Save time in your day
- Reduce recovery time
- Stay strong through injuries
- Take it anywhere you go
Blood flow restriction training, or BFR training, is an exercise modality that uses a manipulation of the body’s circulatory system in combination with light resistance exercise—such as bodyweight work—to achieve improvements in strength and fitness similar to the results of high intensity strength training (traditional heavy weightlifting).
There are two main types of BFR Training devices. They include relatively wide, non-elastic, pneumatic devices (like a blood pressure cuff) and relatively narrow, elastic, pneumatic bands (like B Strong BFR bands). In both cases, they are safe if they do not occlude arterial blood flow INTO a limb. They both seek to achieve a state where the blood exiting the limb via the veins is restricted and the pattern of venous flow altered, while the arterial inflow is reduced, but still present. As long as, the arteries remain open and have some blood flow, one avoids all serious complications. There is a narrow pressure “window” with wide, non-elastic cuffs (~20 mmHg or 80 to 100 mmHg), while there is a very large, safe and effective range (from 100 mmHg to 500 mmHg) with narrower, elastic bands (e.g. B Strong BFR bands).
When you add relatively easy exercise on to this blood flow restriction condition, the working muscle can’t get the blood flow it requires to sustain contractions. As the early fibers fatigue and drop out, other, faster, bigger fibers are recruited to do the work, resulting in all fibers in the muscle being used over the course of the exercise. A local metabolic crisis ensues in the working muscle fibers, which causes a local anabolic stimulation, but also sends this signal of a metabolic crisis to the brain that responds by releasing a neuro-immuno-hormonal response that amplifies the local anabolic stimulation.
Using one or multiple belts, the user performs simple exercises with a little added resistance; even partial bodyweight is sufficient in most cases. A typical session involves 3 sets of 3-5 exercises (for lower/upper/core) with 30 seconds rest in between sets. However, the training can feel intense: you sweat, your heart rate elevates, and you get muscle burn and fatigue. As the muscles use up available oxygen and accumulate metabolic by-products (lactic acid etc.) the user starts to feel a muscle “burn.” The restricted flow prevents the muscles from completely clearing the waste products and resupplying enough oxygen so the “burn” intensifies. After a few sets, the muscles fatigue and the user is unable to continue. After the workout, the user may feel like they’ve completed an hour-long heavy weightlifting workout instead of just 20 minutes of lightweight exercise.
Benefits of BFR Training
Improved Strength and Hypertrophy
Research has shown rapid gains in both muscle strength and hypertrophy—and that these gains are not only isolated to muscles that have their blood flow restricted. Any muscles (e.g. core muscles) used in the exercises, benefit from the systemic neuro-immuno-hormonal response from the brain.
With the pace of life accelerating every day, one of the best benefits BFR users enjoy is saving time with a 20 minute full body BFR workout. It’s not a short cut; it’s a smarter way to train. While some traditional training programs are more efficient than others, in general, a BFR training session takes considerably less time than an equivalent high-resistance training session. A BFR session can also be completed anywhere, at home, at work or on the road in a hotel room.
Improved Recovery / Reduce Wear and Tear on Muscles, Joints, and the Body
Research is starting to show what has long been believed: light resistance exercise does little damage to the working muscles and that recovery periods following a BFR session are shorter than after traditional resistance training. As a result, you reduce the need for “off days” and the residual soreness from BFR training is minimal. In fact, once acclimated to a routine there will typically be little to no next day soreness or “rest” days required.
Who Can Benefit From BFR Training? Answer: Everyone!
If you are a coach, trainer, therapist, or regular individual, and are looking to be more efficient with your time without sacrificing results, BFR training is for you. If you want to look and feel better, reduce overuse injury risk, or simply recover better, BFR training is for you.
Examples of popular user groups include:
- Adult fitness: Get stronger, look and feel better while reducing training related injuries. Complete the workouts in the comfort of your own home or on the road.
- Working professionals: save time without sacrificing results by getting the same benefits in 20 minutes every other day. Travel with your B STRONG, and your hotel room turns into your gym on the go!
- Injured persons: B Strong BFR is a great way to stay fit while an injury is healing. Reduce atrophy and loss of strength typically associated with a recovery period.
- Competitive athletes: shorten recovery periods, avoid overuse injuries, and maximize the benefits of existing training programs. If an athlete “plateaus” with their standard training, B Strong BFR is a great way to move on to the next level.
- Adolescents and youth: mitigate training related injuries from weightlifting while the body is developing and while proper technique is learned.
The B STRONG Difference
“We teach you what to do, and how to do it. B STRONG is not just a pair of belts. It’s a system of videos and software tools built from a wealth of knowledge and application guidance for maximum results when applying this tool.”
B STRONG strives to be the leader in this field. Starting from scratch, engineers created a patent pending design specifically for BFR training—and built the software and educational tools to teach you how to do it properly. B STRONG’s guidance application comes with a library of how-to videos to walk you through the training. The application also addresses basic questions: how to choose the correct resistance or weight, how to choose exercises, and how to train safely. B STRONG is your one-stop resource for the best quality gear, the best knowledge and know-how to get the proper results for your situation, and most importantly, how to train safely.B STRONG’s mission is to make this technology accessible to everyone who is interested in their health, strength, and general wellbeing.
“Unlike the simple wrapping or wide inelastic cuffs like blood pressure cuffs, B STRONG has been engineered specifically to avoid the major safety risk with BFR training; NOT shutting off blood flow to the limb.”
Similarly, pneumatic blood-pressure-style cuffs are specifically designed to occlude blood flow. To mitigate this risk, some cuff-style BFR systems are tethered to a pressure monitor during exercise. But, this also limits mobility and the types of exercises one can perform. Also, unless the user is tethered to multiple monitors or has a single device with multiple pumps and pressure transducers, only one cuff can be used at any one time.It is rather easy to occlude blood flow with wraps or with some blood-pressure-cuff-style pneumatic systems on the market. When using wraps, a user must rely upon their perception of their applied limb pressure when wrapping a limb. This unreliable method is not repeatable and can easily lead to occlusion. Typically, the guidelines for wraps suggest wrapping to a “7 out of 10” perceived tightness. But, this can mean very different things to different people. There’s also the risk that for some people, a 7 out of 10 might actually occlude their blood flow.When people first hear the term “blood flow restriction training” they often think of a tourniquet-style device or wrap. Surgical tourniquets are designed to occlude blood flow. In surgical practice, tourniquets are routinely applied for one to two hours. Nevertheless, safety issues arise when blood flow to the limb is occluded. The adage, “If a little is good, a lot is better,” does not apply to the restriction of blood flow during BFR training. Safe BFR training requires that blood flow to the limb be reduced—or restricted—and not stopped—or occluded.
The design of a BFR device and cuff determines if it will perform safely and mitigate occlusion. Narrower cuffs require higher pressures to occlude blood flow, which means they are less sensitive to precise cuff pressure in regards to occlusion potential. Simply put, if an occlusion pressure for a given user is 150 mmHg with a wide cuff and 350 mmHg with a narrow cuff, then a 20 mmHg change in cuff pressure (for example, when a limb swells during exercise) has a much greater impact with the wide cuff (13.3%) vs. the narrow cuff (5.7%) for reaching occlusion pressure. Using a narrow cuff makes it more difficult to occlude blood flow.
It is also important to recognize that the user’s limb size will change during his or her BFR session. Even if a user starts a training session with a safe level of restriction from a wrap or pneumatic tourniquet, as they train the limbs will fill with blood and swell. This engorgement increases the risk that a user who started at an initially restricted condition could transition into an unsafe occluded condition. In addition to the compressibility of air chamber(s) in pneumatic systems, a cuff with built in elasticity further decreases the risk of limb occlusion. The elasticity built into B STRONG’s design provides additional “give” to allow the muscles to expand and swell while maintaining some level of blood flow. Having a BFR system that can accommodate these unpredictable conditions throughout a training session will keep the user safe and is an important and valuable consideration when doing BFR training.
B STRONG’s system is engineered specifically with safety in mind by incorporating the reliability and accuracy of pneumatic systems with a proprietary narrow-width inflatable belt design. Built-in elasticity makes occlusion extremely difficult even when pressurized to the hand pump’s maximum pressure (500 mmHg). When following B STRONG’s recommendations for fitting tension and pressures provided in the guidance app, users will be safe from occluding.
Other pneumatic systems expand and become more bulky, which affects natural gait patterns and can prevent proper form and technique. B STRONG belts actually shrink on the limb to reduce interference with other body parts during movement. This unique design means B STRONG belts remain very low profile on your body and are unobtrusive so you have full range of motion. Because the belts can detach from the hand pump and still remain safe, you can enjoy BFR training during any of your favorite activities: swimming, sprinting, biking, jogging, walking, or many others.The B STRONG proprietary design is not only safe, it also provides additional comfort. One of the main complaints users have with BFR training is that it hurts! Wide inelastic cuffs, such as blood pressure cuffs, cover a large portion of the muscle. The cuff inhibits normal expansion of the muscle during exercise and can lead to a localized “crushing” pain underneath. Narrow pneumatic bands can feel like a “rope” tied around your limb because the bladder forms a “hot dog” shape that digs into your skin. In contrast, B STRONG’s design incorporates a series of inflatable pillows that—while relatively narrow—evenly distribute the pressure across the width of each pillow. With this design, there is no sensation of a focused pressure like you get with a single chamber cuff.
Effectiveness and Efficiency
B STRONG belt sizes are designed so that they are easy to properly put on and pump up without assistance. You are ready to go in under one minute. This allows individuals to use B STRONG by themselves, or to put on their own belts before a group training session. The B STRONG pump does not require batteries or charging, and there are no tubes or wraps that can get tangled up or which need to be rolled up at the end of each session for storage.
Users begin training sessions with two belts. Two-belt sessions typically last between 10 to 20 minutes depending on the type of exercise and breaks between sets for a total workout time of 20 to 40 minutes. However, users quickly graduate to four-belt sessions. Four-belt sessions are slightly different to take advantage of more full body exercises instead of isolated upper or lower body exercises. Proper exercise choices can approximately half the training time, doubling efficiency. Part of B STRONG’s mission is to educate end users about these different strategies.
“The B STRONG bands provide all of the benefits of high-end air pressure cuffs at a fraction of the price. I own six other types of BFR bands and straps, but none of them have given me the results I am seeing with the B STRONG bands.”
-Jon Bruney, Guinness World Record Holder
Consistency and Results
At a fundamental level, BFR training delivers results similar to a high intensity training program. The novel BFR approach saves time, reduces wear and tear. If the user is injured, they are able to continue light training during rehab, preventing the typical loss of muscle size and strength.
It isn’t surprising to hear that adult fitness users report an increase in overall energy and virility. Those recovering from an injury experience a faster recovery without the typical muscle atrophy and loss of strength. In general, low resistance BFR training—and particular B STRONG use has enabled these individuals to continue training to get this response from the body, even when recovering from injury.
Getting results and staying safe requires the right equipment and the right protocols. Restrict too much flow and you aren’t safe; don’t restrict enough flow and the training won’t be effective. B STRONG’s system of hardware, software, education delivers the full toolset to satisfy the two main objectives of safety and effective training.
Take it from Highland Games 2012 and 2014 champion Matt Vincent who switched from flossing bands to the B STRONG system while recovering from a knee surgery:
“Having the bands designed as they are, you really get to be consistent with the B STRONG belts. It is a fine line between too tight and not tight enough. They are more comfortable than the other versions I have used, and being able to use the pump to reach pressure has allowed them to be something I can count on for achieving the desired muscle fatigue. These belts allow me to hit that mark every time I use them.”
Beyond optimizing ease of use B STRONG is also compact and lightweight. At the size of a toiletry case, B STRONG is easy to throw in your bag and take wherever you go. It’s a gym in a box!
Whether you are going to an athletic practice, the gym, or are a working professional traveling on the road, the portability and compactness of B STRONG allows you to turn any environment into your personal gym with a little creativity. We have all been on the road craving that good “post workout feeling” only to find the hotel gym is poorly stocked with equipment. Now with B STRONG, you can do some simple bodyweight exercises in your room or with an accessory like a stretch band and get the same workout as if you had access to a professional gym.
“When you are looking to invest in your health and convenience, you want something that will save time, is built to last, is easy to use, and just plain works.”
The first question to ask yourself is, “What is your time and your health worth?” When you are looking to invest in your health and fitness, you want something that is built to last, is easy to use, and just plain works. While there are low cost alternatives, B STRONG offers what others do not: a purpose-built tool and system of hardware + software + education that provides consistent positive results and the peace of mind that you will be safe. The most popular individual package is just over $1 per day when viewed on a one year horizon. In exchange, you get to look and feel better—and take back hours of your life each week.
B STRONG Clientele
Thousands of users from many different backgrounds, in professional and consumer markets are currently using B STRONG. In the professional arena, over 100 professional and NCAA programs are reporting great success in both the strength and conditioning and athletic training areas. In addition, B STRONG is used in some of the best hospitals, rehabilitation clinics, and physical therapists in the country.
On the consumer side, professional athletes use B STRONG as an augmentation of their existing performance routines as well as improving their recovery times. Adult fitness clients, stay-at-home moms, youth, and seniors use B STRONG to extend their quality of life, regain lost athleticism, or maintain the form they have worked so hard for—and do not want to lose.
The diversity of professionals and consumers currently using B STRONG, and the results they report on a daily basis speak to the power and versatility of BFR training as the new, efficient, smart way to train. The future of BFR training is bright indeed. Given the proven benefits and results, the only question you need to ask yourself is why wait?
For more info on products mentioned in this article or for info on current product specials, please contact your personal MeyerPT Account Manager.
If you don’t know who your Acct Manager is, please call 866.528.2144 to find out.