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BFR Training: the proof is in the science

Science is our superpower. At Hytro we’re informed by research, which means we’re forever looking at the latest literature from Blood Flow Restriction studies around the world to help us improve our products.

Man wearing Hytro BFR Tee

Although we make sure to read each and every study, we thought we’d save you the time and pick out three recent high quality publications to share with you. That way, you don’t just have to take our word for the amazing benefits that BFR can add to your training schedule.

Research Paper 1: Blood Flow Restriction Exercise: Considerations of Methodology, Application and Safety

REFERENCE – Patterson, S. D., Hughes, L., Warmington, S., Burr, J., Scott, B. R., Owens, J., Abe, T., Nielsen, J. L., Libardi, C. A., Laurentino, G., Neto, G. R., Brandner, C., Martin-Hernandez, J., & Loenneke, J. (2019). Blood Flow Restriction Exercise: Considerations of Methodology, Application, and Safety. Front Physiol, 15;10:533.

What’s it all About? World-leading BFR experts Patterson et al. give a comprehensive overview of BFR and its varied effects on the human body. Covering important areas such as BFR application and safety, they aim to set out a unified position stand on BFR, drawing from a wide variety of literature.

In conclusion, they advocate using BFR with different forms of exercise (resisted, aerobically, passively) 2-3 times per week to promote strength, hypertrophy and aerobic adaptations, and to accelerate recovery. This recommendation comes as a result of BFR’s clear impact on muscle strength hypertrophy, along with its ability to prevent muscle atrophy when using the training method passively.

Research Paper 2: Low Intensity Rowing with Blood Flow Restriction over 5 Weeks Increases VO2 Max in Elite Rowers

REFERENCE – Held, S., Behringer, M., & Donath, L. (2020). Low intensity rowing with blood flow restriction over 5 weeks increases V̇O2max in elite rowers: A randomized controlled trial. J Sci Med Sport, 23(3):304-308.

What’s it all About? Held, Behringer and Donath sought to improve the V̇O2max of elite rowers using practical blood flow restriction (pBFR). This form of Blood Flow Restriction Training uses an elastic wrap or strap, rather than a pneumatic cuff. They split 31 rowers into two groups: a control group that trained normally, and an intervention group that trained with pBFR.

The two groups trained over a period of 5 weeks. The intervention group benefitted considerably from fifteen sessions of BFR, totalling more than five hours. The results, the authors state, were ‘remarkable’. Passive BFR ‘significantly improved’ the aerobic capacity of the elite rowers in the intervention group in comparison to those in the control group.

This illustrates the effectiveness of blood flow restriction with aerobic exercise (BFR-AE), and, of practical BFR. That’s why all of our Hytro BFR wearables incorporate practical BFR. We have developed hi-tech elasticated straps to restrict blood flow, integrated within sportswear at a specific anatomical location to ensure safety. Furthermore, using hi-tech and patented materials we have manufactured our strap dimensions in line with the scientific literature – as detailed in Research Paper 1 above.

Inspire | Rory Gibbs

Research Paper 3: Effects of Blood Flow Restriction Training on Muscle Strength and Architecture

REFERENCE – Korkmaz, E., Dönmez, G., Uzuner, K., Babayeva, N., Torgutalp, Ş. Ş., & Özçakar, L. (2020). Effects of Blood Flow Restriction Training on Muscle Strength and Architecture. J Strength Cond Res.

What’s it all About? Much debate has centred around the effectiveness of Blood Flow Restriction Training vs Resistance Training, and whether BFR can produce similar or better results than resistance training alone. A study by Korkmaz et al. focused on quadriceps and hamstring muscle strength in youth team soccer players, along with rectus femoris and vastus lateralis architecture.

23 players were separated into two groups: one that practised traditional high-intensity resistance training (RE) and the other that practised low-intensity resistance exercise with BFR (LI-BFR). The high-intensity resistance training was carried out at 80% of their one rep max with 4 sets of 12 reps. In contrast, the BFR group worked at 30% of their one rep max with sets of 30, 15, 15 and 15 reps.

Both groups performed two resistance training sessions of unilateral knee extension exercises a week for six weeks. Upon completion of the training period, the researchers found that muscle strength had increased in both groups. However, muscle thickness was statistically higher in the LI-BFR group than in the RE group.

These findings support the theory that blood flow restriction training can provide enhanced benefits and improve muscle hypertrophy to a greater extent than traditional strength training.

Woman wearing Hytro BFR Tee and adjusting the strap

Whether it’s gaining muscle, enhancing oxygen uptake or speeding up recovery times, it’s clear from the literature that blood flow restriction training is a powerful tool. Far more than just a performance aid, it has diverse health benefits which continue to be explored. Constant review of blood flow restriction research feeds into our products, dictating factors such as the strap placement, strap dimensions, and material composition. That way we make sure that you, the wearer, gets the ultimate benefit from the training technique that is changing the face of the modern workout. The future is here. Strap in.


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