• Bracing/DME
  • Total Joint Replacement
  • Arthroscopic Surgery
  • Fractures & Trauma
  • Physical Therapy
  • PRP/Stem Cell Injections
  • Sports Injuries

Blood Flow Restriction Training

Rudy Ellis Sports Medicine Center is now offering Blood Flow Restriction training at our Dixie Highway location.

What is BFR?

BFR training uses a pneumatic tourniquet at the upper part of an arm or leg. Light strengthening is performed with occlusion along the upper arm or leg. Occlusion restricts venous return and partially restricts arterial inflow. Exercise with occlusion has been found to have benefits of strengthening at 20%-30% of a 1 rep max which were thought to only occur with high intensity training at 65-75% of a 1 rep max.

How is BFR performed?

A Delphi Personalized Tourniquet System (PTS) is used with a cuff at the upper part of the arm or leg being treatment. The unit detects the amount of pressure required to occlude vascular flow for the extremity. Exercise is performed with pressure maintained at the therapeutic range. Guidelines show  occlusion is most beneficial at 50% for the upper extremities and 80% for the  lower extremities.

What are the therapeutic benefits of BFR:

Physical Therapy is often required to address deficits either post injury or postsurgery which include a significant decrease in muscle activation,muscle size, and muscle strength. Traditional guidelines have called for high intensity training of at least 65-75% of a 1 rep max to address deficits in muscle size and strength. Most patients are at least initially unable to exercise in a range that can produce muscle hypertrophy or accumulate significant strength gains. The use of BFR with light strengthening allows for a Physical Therapist to manipulate the healing environment to facilitate healing of muscle, ligament, and bone structures.

BFR can allow for the benefits of high intensity strength training earlier in the rehab process. Low load strengthening with BFR create effects of high intensity training including progression of muscle size and muscle strength without damaging muscle cells or creating an inflammatory stress response.

BFR with light intensity exercise allows for increased muscle fiber recruitment as slow twitch type I fibers are quick to fatigue in the oxygen deficient state causing greater diversity of muscle fiber recruitment with increased activation of type II fast twitch fibers.

Exercise at 20-30% of 1 RM with BFR produces large increases in growth hormone release. GH release plays a primary role in collagen synthesis. The anabolic environment with occlusion training cause quick onset of fatigue and lactic acid accumulation. Large spikes in lactate correspond to large gains with GH release. GH release was found to increase up to 290% over control with 20-30% 1 RM without occlusion. Improved collagen synthesis is found to speed recovery of soft tissue, ligament, and bone

We are excited to add BFR training as an additional tool in assisting our clients reach their rehabilitation and functional goals in a more efficient manner.


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  • Ellis & Badenhausen Orthopaedics, PSC