What is Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) training

Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) training has long been used to build strength and hypertrophy without using high intensity resistance. For those people that can not lift the typically heavier weights needed to build strength or muscle mass due to injury, surgery status, or immobilization BFR is used to get similar results but lifting much less lower weights.

BFR is a safe and effective adjunct to low intensity resistance exercise (LIRE) or aerobic exercise that increases muscle mass, improves aerobic capacity, and aids in repair and regrowth of tissues.

Dr. Pieter L. de Smidt, PT, DPT

BFR can reduce pain

Recent studies now show that BFR can also reduce pain. Rodrigues et al showed that BFR was effective in improving muscle strength, mass, function and health-related quality of life in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).

Giles et al showed that BFR had a 93% greater reduction in pain with activities of daily living for patients with patello-femoral (anterior knee) pain.


(1) Rodrigues et al. (2019). Low-load resistance training with blood flow restriction increases muscle function, mass and functionality in women with rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2019 Apr 29. doi: 10.1002/acr.23911

(2) Giles et al. Quadriceps strengthening with and without blood flow restriction in the treatment of patellofemoral pain: a double-blind randomised trial. Br J Sports Med. 2017 Dec;51(23):1688-1694. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2016-096329. Epub 2017 May 12.


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