What is Blood Flow Restriction Training?

Blood flow restriction training is the act of safely and briefly restricting arterial and venous blood flow with the use of cuffs placed around an extremity during training.

The goal of BFR is to increase the metabolic stress on the muscles without doing intense work to still get the beneficial physiological changes for strength and hypertrophy with lower workloads. BFR can be used with isometrics, neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES), body weight exercise, resistance training, aerobic conditioning, or even at rest in acute situations.  It can be used as an adjunct tool to aid recovery in shorter amounts of time with less stress on the body than typical training.

How does it work?

Blood flow restriction training is a technique that can be used to perform exercises with a reduced amount of blood flow to the arm or leg.  This is often performed using a cuff or strap placed tightly around the limb to reduce, but not completely occlude blood flow.

The benefit of blood flow restriction training is to allow the person to exercise with lower intensity, but, still have the benefits of high-intensity training.

BFR programs work to increase muscular size and strength better than resistance training without blood flow restriction.

Who can benefit from Blood Flow Restriction Training?

BFR may benefit any patient that is unable to tolerate high loads of exercise or resistance training as part of their rehabilitation and recovery from musculoskeletal injuries or disabilities. 


At Waits Physical Therapy, we use BFW to:

  • Drastically improve post-surgical recovery time.
  • Treat muscle atrophy in both acute and chronic pain patients.
  • Help in your personalized program for less stress on joints and tendons.