When blockages develop in the coronary arteries, the restriction of blood flow causes a lack of oxygen to the heart muscle. This condition is known as coronary artery disease. Insufficient blood flow to the heart muscle can cause symptoms of chest pain (angina). There are potential risks associated with bfr training if not done correctly, says Drew Contreras, doctor of physical therapy and vice president of integration and innovation of physicians at the American Physical Therapy Association.
Pressure around the limb during exercise restricts blood flow. This leads to an accumulation of blood in the limbs, leading to an effect called hypertrophy. To help prevent serious complications, it should be done by a trained professional. Research data clearly demonstrate that training with restricted blood flow at low load can improve physical performance markers in athletes who are already well trained.
Interestingly, blood flow restriction creates hypertrophic muscle responses without high mechanical loads, but the underlying physiological mechanisms are not fully understood. Vein occlusion slows the return of low-oxygen, high-lactate blood flow from the arms or legs. Increased maximum oxygen uptake after 2 weeks of walking training with blood flow occlusion in athletes. Because blood flow restriction training does not significantly increase muscle damage, there may be brief periods of high frequency training.
Due to the low loads used with the restriction of blood flow and the limited muscle damage that occurs, athletes can benefit from decreased training loads, while obtaining a physiological stimulus for muscle adaptation. Basically, arteries can send oxygen-rich blood to muscles during BFR training, but oxygen-depleted and venous blood flow is restricted. Studies suggest that BFR helps your muscles grow because it affects the levels of vascular shear stress and the availability of oxygen in the muscle you're restricting. Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) services are available at select Athletico clinics performed by trained physicians.
But even if you're manipulating blood flow, studies suggest that this type of training generally shouldn't adversely affect your cardiovascular, endocrine, or musculoskeletal systems. However, when used in an environment controlled by trained and experienced personnel, blood flow restriction training appears to provide a safe training alternative for most people, regardless of age and training status. The goal of blood flow restriction training is to restrict venous return and, at the same time, allow arterial flow by strategically enveloping the upper limbs. Going for a walk with restricted blood flow (BFR) to improve maximum VO2, or lifting light weights with BFR to improve muscle mass may seem too good to be true.
Knowing this, when implementing blood flow restriction training, it is important to consider both the width of the cuff and the circumference of the limb. To do this, a person wears a strap or bracelet, tightly tightened around a limb, to reduce the amount of blood flow to that area.