What is Blood Flow Restriction Training?

doctor helping blood flow in patient's knee

Have you come across the term “blood flow restriction” and wondered if this form of treatment would be helpful for you? Blood flow restriction has become a recently popular method of training in clinical settings, and is used to help individuals increase their muscle mass without having to lift heavy weights.

To perform blood flow restriction, an elastic band is wrapped around the most proximal (closest to you) portion of the limb. After the cuff is applied, your physical therapist will instruct you in performing an exercise with it on. You may find that your leg or arm fatigues more quickly with the blood flow restriction cuff applied to it – this is to be expected! Blood flow restriction causes quicker and more intense muscle fatigue, which helps the nervous system recruit large, fast-twitch muscle fibers. These have the greatest capacity to grow, resulting in greater strength gains without the heavy weights!

Blood flow restriction is great for individuals who have recently undergone surgery and are not able to lift weights or exercise to their normal capacity. Ask your physical therapist if blood flow restriction is a good option for you!

To your health,

Dr. Mattie Millikan PT, DPT