Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) Training - We Are Missing the Aerobic Boat! | Modern Manual Therapy Blog

Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) Training - We Are Missing the Aerobic Boat!



Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) training is popular in the strength and rehabilitation worlds to increase hypertrophy and strength. The most common type of exercise where BFR is used as an adjunct is with low intensity resistance exercise (LIRE). As I have indicated before, this is the most logical use of BFR.

But...the profession of "movement experts" - PTs, chiropractors, strength coaches - is missing the boat and underutilizing BFR with aerobic exercise.

The literature investigating BFR with aerobic exercise is growing. Recently, there is a growing body of scientific knowledge that indicates BFR is also effective at increasing aerobic capacity, A conference abstract presented by Smith, et al. in early 2017 indicated that there were increases in aerobic capacity, 1.5 mile times, and muscle cross-sectional area (CSA) following 3 weeks of BFR walking training in healthy males. This is in addition to the other added benefits of BFR use with exercise - muscle hypertrophy, angiogenesis, increase in post-exercise blood flow, and much more!

From a physiological standpoint, the body can not differentiate between the stress from aerobic or strength training. In some of our populations, when lifting high volumes of weights might be contraindicated, BFR with aerobic exercise would be a perfect starting point.
  • In the rehab world, post-operatively or with the elderly or de-conditioned populations
  • For strength clients, recovery days or with concurrent strength and aerobic training!

And these are just a few examples - get creative and match it to your patient's needs and goals. But one thing is certain...use of BFR training is not just for strengthening - don't miss the aerobic boat!




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