HOW TO USE BLOOD FLOW RESTRICTION
The key element of BFR training is the application of a strap. However, the strap cannot just be applied anywhere. To maximise the efficiency of BFR, the strap needs to be placed at the most proximal part of a limb. The strap should never be placed around the middle of the limb, such as mid-bicep or mid-thigh. Such incorrect placement significantly raises the risk of nerve damage.
Once the strap is in the correct place, it needs to be tightened appropriately. If it is too tight then it will totally stop the flow of blood, rather than restrict it. If it is too loose then blood will not be restricted. On a scale that goes from 1 to 10 where 1 is the loosest and 10 the tightest, the strap should be tightened to a 7. If in doubt, it’s better to have the strap too loose than too tight.
If you start to feel numbness or tingling in the limb you’ve overtightened the strap and it needs to be loosened. If you feel no pressure at all then the strap needs to be tightened.
At first, BFR training may feel strange. It is normal to feel a slight discomfort. For those totally new to BFR, it’s best to start slow and build up gradually. As with any new training that is metabolically demanding, your muscles may initially need slightly longer to recover. Train with BFR for no longer than 20 minutes a day, ideally 2-4 times per week.
It won’t be long before adaptations occur and BFR training becomes second nature. Any initial discomfort will seem worth it once the widespread benefits that come from BFR truly kick in.