Why Olympians Are Using Blood Flow Restriction
Move over cupping therapy, there’s a new fitness trend in town that is being practiced by summer Olympians: Blood Flow Resistance Training. Olympian swimmers and runners have been seen sporting tourniquet- like bands around their limbs during practice. So what is Blood Flow Restriction Training and why are Olympic Athletes practicing it?
What is Blood Flow Restriction?
Blood Flow Resistance Training, also known as Occlusion, is a method of decreasing blood flow to targeted muscle groups while completing light resistance exercise activities as a way of increasing muscle growth in a shorter period of time.
How Blood Flow Restriction Works
Blood Flow Resistance (BFR) Training works by using a type of pneumatic cuff to restrict blood flow during a low intensity exercise to produce results similar to those experienced when completing a high intensity workout.
The goal when performing BFR is to reduce the time it takes to build muscle. So how does BFR accomplish that goal? Yes! The reduced blood flow caused by the cuff increased the lactate concentration in your blood. This allows you to perform a lower intensity workout while forcing your muscles to work harder and essentially signalling to your body that you are performing a much more intense workout. Your body then releases the natural growth hormones responsible for muscle growth, this process is called hypertrophy.
Blood Flow Restriction at the Olympics
According to the New York Times, Olympic swimmer Andres Michael uses blood flow restriction during his training sessions. He places the occlusion bands around his arms and legs and tries to match his normal swim times. While this is more difficult, he says, it helps to trick the body into thinking you are working harder to increase overall strength and endurance.
Where to Buy Blood Flow Restriction Cuffs
While there are many types of blood flow restriction cuffs on the market, it is important to make sure you are choosing proper ones to avoid injury.
The BodyPro Blood Flow Restriction Cuff set comes complete with 2 arm cuffs, two leg cuffs, a pump, and a carry case. These cuffs are made from durable material to be effective and stand the test of even the most rigorous workouts.
Get it here for $139.00
How to Use Blood Flow Restriction Cuffs
Blood Flow Resistance is best practiced during low resistance exercises.
- Begin by placing the cuff around your leg or arm
- Using a lower weight than you normally would, begin performing high repetitions of a lower intensity workout
- It is best to use weight that is about 25%-35% of your single rep max.
- Perform three sets of 20-30 reps for each exercise.
- When taking a rest between sets, keep the cuff on for maximum benefit.
- Do not cut off blood flow completely. If your arm or leg begins to turn a pale color, your cuff has been placed too tightly.
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