You’ve decided you want the edge that occlusion training provides. Whether you want bigger, stronger muscles, improved performance on the pitch, faster recovery from training or accident or surgery, you’re ready to get started. You’ve bought your Hytro TechWear and it’s time to strap in.
The first thing to do is to read our health advice. If we suggest that you speak to your doctor or other health care professional before starting occlusion training, do that.
Let’s go. Pull the strap tightly, and then loosen slightly. This ensures that the pressure is applied evenly over the length of the integrated occlusion band. You want to set the strap at a tightness of 7 out of 10, where 5 is a comfortable squeeze and 10 is as tight as you can get it. Then secure the strap by placing the upper and lower velcro patches together. Rub the velcro patches with your finger to ensure the velcro is fully hooked in.
If you feel any pain, numbness or tingling, the occlusion band may be too tight. Loosen it a bit.
Occlusion training can be performed actively (lifting weights) or passively (when at rest). Active occlusion training is best if you seek gains in size, strength or performance. Passive occlusion training is more about accelerating recovery. There are several different occlusion training protocols. The most common protocol is a finisher following your workout. Strap in and select a reasonably light weight (not more than 30% of your one rep max). Choose an exercise, ideally one that involves contraction and extension of the occluded muscle – for instance, bicep curls for upper body and leg extension for lower body. Perform one set of 30 reps, rest 30 seconds, then one set of 15 reps, rest 30 seconds, then repeat 15 reps twice more until you have completed 30, 15, 15 and 15 reps. For a more complete list of training protocols using Hytro TechWear, see our training plans.
Occlusion training is meant to be a bit uncomfortable to be effective, but not painful. The correct weight is the weight that will deliver a massive pump and for which you feel the burn in your muscle on the last few reps of each set. If you don’t feel that, the occlusion band is too loose or the weight too light. If you feel pain (rather than discomfort or burn), stop. If you feel more than mild tingling or numbness, stop. Loosen the strap. If you cannot perform almost all reps because of muscle fatigue, use a lighter weight.
You can only safely occlude a limb (arm or leg), so it’s obvious to you how to perform occlusion training for biceps and triceps, and for quads, hamstrings and glutes. What about occlusion training for chest or back? Do not ever place an occlusion band around your neck or in any other manner try to occlude blood flow to your chest or back. That’s dangerous in a life-threatening way. The good news is that occlusion training works “systemically”. Your body over produces the metabolites that trigger the repair and growth of muscles. The metabolites travel around your body in your blood. So, occlusion training of biceps and quads will deliver the benefits of occlusion training to your pecs and lats. The science is solid on the point. You won’t feel the pump or the burn in your chest and back, but your body is doing the job for you.
How often can you perform occlusion training? The answer is every day. Occlusion training is performed with much lighter weights than conventional training – or is performed passively (at rest). Consequently, your body recovers much more quickly from occlusion training than from conventional training. The more important question is how long each occlusion training session can last? The answer is not more than 30 minutes per session, and 20 minutes or less is sufficient. Read our health advice.
As with any form of training, consistency matters. The massive pump you get from occlusion training is immediate. Sadly, it’s not permanent. For permanent gains in size, strength and performance, you need to integrate occlusion training into your regular exercise routine. If you have time, just add 10 or 20 minutes of occlusion training to the end of your workout. If you’re strapped for time, you can do an occlusion training workout instead of your normal workout one or more days a week. The choice is yours. Have a look again at your choice of protocols.
So, strap into Hytro and get started. It’s time to outlift, outperform and outimpress, whatever your game.