BFR for Muscle Growth

Vijay Pardeshi
Vijay Pardeshi

 | 1 minute to read
Exercise Science

▶️ BFR for Muscle Growth

Want to gain muscles during quarantine? Keep reading, You will get to know in next 5 minutes. ▶️ Role of blood flow in our body Blood plays a major role in our body. It is responsible for transport of oxygen, nutrients and many other important molecules. Blood flowing to the cells in the targeted muscle would support muscle growth. There are number of supplements which help in increasing the blood flow towards the targeted muscle which promotes Growth. Let’s look at it from other way around, What if I tell you that exactly opposite may be true? Restricting/occluding blood flow to muscle can have a growth effect. I will be explaining what Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) training is and how to use it effectively to boost your training. This will be very helpful during the lockdown time considering most of us don’t have enough weights to challenge ourselves. ▶️ What is BFR training? As the name suggest you need to restrict the blood flow in BFR training in such a way that it will stop the venous return blood flow from the muscle, not the arterial blood flow to the muscles. So when you do this, it will cause blood to pool in the muscle. In this training we have to focus on preventing the blood flow return from the muscle and not to restrict blood flow to the muscle. ▶️ How it will be done? There are number of BFR bands available in the market, you can also use blood pressure cuff to get the same effect. You can also use knee wraps which can be tied tightly around the limbs. ▶️ How it stimulate Muscle Growth? You have to put muscle under stress to grow them and it can be done by lifting heavy weights. By Blood flow restriction training you can get the same effect with very light weight (20-30% of your 1RM). Surprising fact is you would be getting your gains by lifting light weights. How? Answer is oxygen depletion and metabolic stresses. ▶️ How it works? One of the way it could be working is, When you restrict the blood flow for a specific muscle, it will slowly run out of oxygen because the blood is restricted and no oxygen will be available considering it cannot get back to the heart. BFR training stimulates an anabolic response through various pathways. One of the ways is by fast tracking the use of fast twitch muscle fibers. Fast twitch fibers have most potential for growth. These fibers are anaerobic in nature and employed last during the contractions,, at the same time if you see the smaller slow twitch fibers are aerobic and they have less potential for growth and employed first during the contractions. BFR Training restricts blood flow to muscles which results in pre-fatiguing the slow twitch fibers and forcing the anaerobic fast twitch fibers to take the load even at low intensity. This is how we activate the fast twitch muscle fibers which increase the potential for muscular growth and size. ▶️ Muscles eligible for BFR? As we discussed above BFR training works only when you occlude the muscle. You should actually be able to place the straps between the targeted muscle and heart so it restricts the blood flow back to the heart from muscle. BFR training can be done for- =Biceps= =Triceps= =Calves= =Quadriceps= =Hamstrings= =Forearms= =Shoulder= Chest and back muscle are very close to heart and it is hard to place a strap across the veins that return to the heart so it would be difficult to train them with BFR. ▶️ How to perform BFR training? Wrap uppermost part of the targeted muscle at approximately 70% of maximum tightness with the help of BFR bands or the options mentioned above. You should perform 3 to 5 sets to muscular failure with 20-30% load of your 1 rep max on a given exercise. Make sure the muscle is occluded during these sets. Rest period should be around 45-60 seconds between the sets. Remove the wraps after the final set and let the blood flow to the muscle as usual. *️⃣ This is not a replacement for your daily workout routine however it can be included in your workout schedule as variation.

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