Blood Flow Restriction Training
Blood flow restriction training (BFRT) involves the partial, standardized occlusion of blood flow of either the arms or legs with the use of a gauged cuff. This concept was first attempted on military personnel in 2011 in the form of a tourniquet. The goal was to improve the production of growth hormone in soldiers who sustained soft tissue injuries during combat. Recent research has indicated that BFRT is highly effective for a variety of orthopedic conditions to decrease swelling, as well as stimulate bone, muscle, and tendon growth. The cuffs are worn while performing light, low intensity exercise using the occluded arm or leg. This temporary disruption increases the metabolic demand on the muscle while decreasing the necessary mechanical load (weight) required to reach the same level of fatigue. BFRT has become widely used as an effective tool to enhance athletic performance as well as improve functional strength required to perform daily tasks.