Active Physical Therapy is the one of the few physical therapy clinics in Columbus, Ohio to directly provide clients with Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) training. Blood Flow Restriction Training is a form of safe and low intensity resistance exercise. BFR systematically utilizes a cuff while performing an exercise to decrease blood flow to the working area, thus creating an optimal environment for muscles even under a low load.
When applied correctly, BFR has demonstrated enhanced muscle growth, strength, and oxygen delivery and utilization. BFR is appropriate for all populations recovering from an injury. Check out our the frequently asked questions below or call us to learn more about how BFR could benefit you!
Blood Flow Restriction Training is a form of safe and low intensity resistance exercise. BFR systematically utilizes a cuff or tourniquet while performing an exercise to decrease blood flow to the working area thus creating an optimal environment for muscles even under a low load. When applied correctly, BFR has demonstrated enhanced muscle growth, strength, and oxygen delivery and utilization.
BFR can be used in a number of populations. After performing a thorough evaluation and examination, your doctor of physical therapy will decide if you are an appropriate candidate for BFR. A great candidate for BFR is someone who cannot tolerate, or is unable to perform high level resistance training. For example, post surgical AMI of quads, acute injury, and chronic disease. Contraindications to BFR include history of deep-vein thrombosis, pregnancy, varicose veins, high blood pressure, and cardiac disease. Beyond listed contraindications, special consideration should be given regarding the individual’s exercise history.
Athletes can benefit from BFR by continuing to train through an injury when high level resistance training should be avoided. BFR can also add the extra “edge” to training. BFR training can compliment an athlete’s current training program. It can be safely added to the end of a workout session to promote further muscle protein synthesis, with no additional recovery time. BFR can be used on days off for accessory muscle building. BFR has demonstrated increases to performance adaptations and may show more undiscovered positive results.
After surgery, especially of the knee, quadricep strength declines over time. Traditional resistance training to strengthen the quad uses inappropriately high external loads that could endanger the operated limb. BFR provides internal load (ischemia) while keeping the external load (resistance) at a minimum.
Voodoo floss claims to speed up recovery, decrease healing time and use as a warm-up or cool down by restricting blood flow to an area. The main differences between voodoo floss and BFR are voodoo floss does not set any parameters on blood flow. Second, BFR is used during exercise to increase muscle hypertrophy when high resistance training is contraindicated.
A Doctor of Physical Therapy is highly skilled in anatomy and palpation of body parts. A person must be trained in palpating distal pulses in order to ensure the cuff is not cutting off blood supply to certain body parts. Additionally, a Physical Therapist is trained in finding a patient’s 1 rep max and prescribing the proper exercise dose and reps appropriate and safe for BFR.
BFR training does not hurt, however, some patients who are not conditioned or practice high level resistance training may find BFR too intense or uncomfortable. Side effects may include muscle soreness comparable to max loading despite low level resistance. BFR is very safe. Studies have shown little to no risks.
The literature demonstrates positive results for BFR in physical therapy. Muscle hypertrophy occurs at 4 weeks or less, where strength gains happen at 10 weeks or later.
Research has shown the risk of thrombus formation is less than .06 percent.