Daily wisdom: BFR training is legit

This new device claims to help you build muscle without lifting as much weight as would normally be required.

Every athlete knows that education is a crucial part of performance. Sport and exercise research, insight from top trainers, science, and technology help you to better understand your body so you can craft a healthier lifestyle, workouts, and recovery plan.

In our daily news series, Matt Berenc, director of education at the Equinox Fitness Training Institute, addresses some of the latest fitness research and news stories.



You may have noticed athletes in the gym wearing bands around their arms or legs while working out. They’re likely doing blood flow restriction training, or BFR. “It’s a manner of training that uses an elastic band, ACE bandage, or a device like KAATSU around the top of the arm or leg to create moderate blood flow restriction while you perform exercise at a low intensity,” explains Berenc.


“The restriction partially blocks the return of blood through your veins, increasing the pressure experienced in your circulatory system and the amount of blood remaining in the muscle tissue,” says Berenc. “Research has shown that this can trigger a significant muscle- and strength-building response similar to that seen with conventional training with heavier weights.” This will allow you to do more work without overtraining.


“BFR is best used as a supplement to your program and not as a program by itself. Keep your primary lifts using the heavier loads while incorporating 15 reps of one or two BFR lifts at the end of your workout with weight that is 20 to 30 percent of your max. Place the cuffs on the body part that is being worked (on arms for upper body and on legs for lower body) creating pressure that is a seven out of 10, with 10 being the tightest possible,” says Berenc.