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Blood Flow Restriction Training (BFRT)

Blood Flow Restriction Training (BFRT)

What is BFR?

Blood flow restriction training is an evidence-based form of training that promotes improvements in strength and endurance at a lower intensity level of exercise by limiting the amount of blood flow supplied to the muscle being targeted. BFR training has been proven to increase strength and muscle size, decrease rehabilitation time, improve cardiovascular endurance, and increase the rate of recovery after strenuous exercise or athletic events.

What Should I Expect?

Your Physical Therapist will begin by discussing your past medical history to verify that BFR is safe for you. A cuff will then be fastened around the top of your arm or leg and pumped up until maximal occlusion of blood flow is measured. The therapist will then adjust the pressure in the cuff so that only a certain percentage of blood flow is restricted to the muscles while you exercise. Exercise with BFR is not painful; however, you will experience fatigue at a faster rate.

How Does BFR Work?

By reducing the blood flow to a limb and completely occluding the flow out of the limb, muscles are metabolically stressed, therefore mimicking a more intense exercise than what is actually being performed. As a result, the body recruits more muscle fibers, metabolite concentration increases, and muscle strength and growth are stimulated

Is it Safe?

Extensive research has been conducted regarding safety of BFR. BFR is not advised if you have cancer, unmanaged hypertension, lymphedema, active infection, impaired circulation, history of DVT, and other cardiac conditions.

Is BFR Right for Me?

Blood flow restriction training is safe and effective for a wide range of populations and conditions including but not limited to:

  • Pre/Post-Operation
  • Musculoskeletal Injuries
  • Muscle Strains or Weakness
  • Poor Muscular Endurance
  • Joint Pain
  • Return-to-Sport Treatment
  • Athletes
  • Elderly
Therapists offering Blood Flow Restriction Training (BFRT)
Brian Esterle, PT, DPT
Brian Esterle, PT, DPT
Diana Ottomanelli, MS, OTR/L
Diana Ottomanelli, MS, OTR/L
Margaret "Maggie" Strode, MS, OTR/L, LSVT BIG
Margaret "Maggie" Strode, MS, OTR/L, LSVT BIG
Merin Thazhathukunnel PT, DPT, LSVT BIG, BFRT
Merin Thazhathukunnel PT, DPT, LSVT BIG, BFRT