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Where do great ideas start? For our founder Dr Warren Bradley it was with rugby. While working as a Performance Nutritionist with England Rugby he first observed the power of Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) being used in elite sport. Nine years later, with the seeds of an idea now realised through our Hytro Performance TechWear, it brings us particular pleasure to return to those roots.

As the Six Nations starts this weekend, we are delighted to announce that international rugby sevens star Dan Norton has now officially joined us as our first Hytro Athlete. The all-time leading try scorer in rugby sevens history and Olympic silver medallist uses our Performance TechWear with its integrated BFR as a training tool to enhance his game. He does so with a mechanism available to all rugby players: Hytro BFR’s dual function of Active BFR and Passive BFR.

Active BFR to Build Muscle and Strength

Active BFR is exactly as it says on the tin: strap in with Hytro Performance TechWear and get moving (how about starting with some of our favourite BFR training plans?). Once strapped in, de-oxygenated blood is restricted from returning to the body and begins to build up in the working muscle causing the muscle to pump up. This creates a hypoxic environment in the working muscle, increasing fast twitch muscle fibre recruitment while up-regulating muscle building hormones, and ultimately, improving the body’s ability to hypertrophy.

Sound good? Well, it gets even better. All of this can be achieved by working at no more than 30% one rep max. In a time of lockdowns and closed gyms, BFR training therefore offers a potent muscle-building stimulus without the need for fancy gym equipment or heaps of dumbbells. Even bodyweight and resistance band exercises are a great way of locking in gains with BFR.

A typical solo BFR lasts just twenty minutes. That’s because despite the lighter loads, it takes just five minutes to complete a BFR exercise. That’s five minutes to maximally stimulate one body part. Five. Minutes. So, what movements should a rugby player make in a typical BFR solo session? Below is one example of many that focuses on the upper body.

 

Exercise 1: Push-ups

Exercise 2: Banded bent over row

Exercise 3: Banded bicep curls

Exercise 4: Banded tricep extensions

 

Four exercises. Each one made up of four sets (30-15-15-15) that have 30 seconds rest between them. Talk about an extremely time-efficient training method for rugby players who are in a rush…

For those still training as normal, such as Dan Norton, BFR can easily be incorporated without increasing training load. In addition to solo sessions, BFR can be added as a finisher to a traditional training session to maximise workout adaptations by maximally stimulating muscle fibres and increasing muscle size, strength and power. Rather than the four exercises of solo sessions, it is recommended to use two exercises when completing BFR as a finisher. Discover which two work for you from our full list of BFR training exercises.

Whether used as a solo session or finisher, the low strain placed on the body and absence of central nervous system fatigue means BFR particularly benefits rugby players looking to train weaker or under-developed body parts, as well as those with joint issues. By focusing BFR sessions on these areas it will help to reduce the risk of injury, avoid placing weakened joints under excess stress and eliminate imbalances.

Whether used as a solo session or finisher, the low strain placed on the body and absence of central nervous system fatigue means BFR particularly benefits rugby players looking to train weaker or under-developed body parts, as well as those with joint issues. By focusing BFR sessions on these areas it will help to reduce the risk of injury, avoid placing weakened joints under excess stress and eliminate imbalances.

 

Passive BFR to Accelerate Recovery

While Active BFR requires you to move, the other function of BFR – Passive BFR – means, well, doing nothing at all. Because of that, a Passive BFR session can be done anywhere. On the bus on the way home after a game, on holiday, watching TV at home…take your pick. Wherever you choose to perform your Passive BFR, the main benefit is improved recovery times.

Passive BFR drives growth hormone release and increases the uptake of nutrient-rich blood to aid recovery simply and quickly. When the straps are removed after passive BFR, blood rushes back to the body flushing waste products out of the joints. This reduces inflammation, supercharging recovery. It’s therefore ideal in the hours after a game, the day after a game, or following a very heavy training session.

But Passive BFR doesn’t just have to take place after exercise. Players with joint issues can benefit from just five minutes of Passive BFR before working out. This will prepare their joints and tendons to work, reducing pain and improving their ability to train or play.

Ready for Rugby Performance

Hytro Performance TechWear allows you to convert your aims into achievements. Science indicates that blood flow restriction training is a secret ingredient to on-pitch success. And that ingredient doesn’t have to just be for elite athletes such as Dan Norton. Whether you play for England or play for your local rugby club, the dual function of Blood Flow Restriction Training is an exceptional way to build muscle size and strength, increase power and shorten recovery times, taking your rugby game to the next level. Get started with Hytro.

 

 

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Written by Seth Burkett and Dr. Warren Bradley Feb 3rd February 2021, 5:36 pm