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Who are you and where do you come from?
My name is Warren Bradley. I’m from Whitby which is a picturesque fishing town known for having the best fish and chips in the world!
What did you study at university?
I studied sports science at Liverpool John Moores University, but the main module that I really enjoyed was nutrition. I loved seeing how what you ate could have such a big impact on your performance in the gym and how you looked aesthetically. I realised that muscle and exercise physiology, biochemistry, and nutrition were my favourite subjects.
Your university experience and everything that’s happened since has led us to where we as Hytro are today – how does BFR fit into this?’
BFR first appeared on my radar 10 years ago while working with Munster Rugby, at a time when I was fresh into the industry and trying to learn from all types of elite sports practitioners. However, it was a number of years later while working with England Rugby that I really started to take an interest. I clearly remember this one day down in Twickenham when I saw a player doing split squats with a cuff around his leg.
He was grimacing and obviously in a lot of discomfort. I asked the physio what he was doing, and it turned out to be a specialist training technique called blood flow restriction training, or BFR, and it was used to accelerate the athlete’s rehab.
I went on to see this technique used at every club I worked with over the next decade, so when I finished my PhD, I finally took the plunge and started to do some proper research into it. It became so clear to me how many different applications there were for this type of training and I thought – why is no one using this? And why is there no widespread knowledge about it? To be honest, there really isn’t an answer to that. I believe it just hasn’t made the jump from academia and elite sports to the general population due to a lack of accessible information and knowledge, which is what started my work on Hytro.
One of the challenges I faced was finding a way to make BFR safe. I needed to miniaturise the technology and make it accessible for the masses, because standard cuffs are either sub-par quality, unsafe, and difficult to use, or way too expensive in the case of elite sports BFR equipment.
That’s when I came up with the idea of incorporating BFR technology with clothing, a neat way to contain BFR tech whilst hitting safety parameters. I went straight to the patent office and we now have a national patent with numerous international patents pending.
What would you say are the biggest obstacles to overcome when making the clothing?
Maintaining scientific integrity is the most important thing for me and that can be really tough when incorporating this type of technology into clothing. A great example is the specific positioning of the straps on the arm or leg and carefully considered band materials and widths. For safety, the BFR strap must be placed at the most proximal part of the limb, something we have worked long and hard to achieve during 9 months of research and development, believe me, it wasn’t easy! The straps material and widths are based on scientific literature to ensure a safe and effective occlusion. These things all took the time to test and refine.
In terms of the design itself, how does the clothing make it easier to use BFR?
We carefully studied the latest trends in sportswear to make the clothing aesthetically pleasing while also being as comfortable as possible. The BFR mechanism itself is extremely well thought out – it was designed and manufactured by Portuguese textile academics and experts, so it’s slick and easy to deploy and can be secured within a few seconds. It means that BFR is more accessible and easier to use than ever before, whilst looking awesome!
What are the core values of Hytro as a company?
What is your vision for Hytro as a company?