What is the BFR training method?

Blood Flow Restriction Training, referred to as BFR training method, is also called KAATSU training method.

It is a training method that mainly uses elastic bandages to press the proximal end of the extremities to maintain arterial blood flow into the muscles, while limiting venous blood return, so that the target muscles can be stimulated and grown to the maximum extent. The goal is to limit venous return rather than arterial flow, and blood can be maintained and continuously fused to the target muscle, like filling a water balloon to its maximum capacity.

bfr training

BFR Workout with Homemade Biceps Strap



The main principle of BFR training is to reduce the excretion of metabolites such as lactate and hydrogen ions by restricting venous blood return. The accumulation of metabolites increases metabolic stress. Higher metabolic stress can stimulate the secretion of growth hormone 22-kDaGH from the anterior pituitary gland. Growth hormone plays a key role in guiding cells. It is one of the powerful synthetic hormones and plays an important role in muscle growth.

The main functions of growth hormone are:

- Allows amino acids to easily penetrate cell membranes

- Increase protein synthesis

- Increase the breakdown of fat

- Increase collagen synthesis

- Stimulate cartilage growth

At present, a large number of research and experimental conclusions have confirmed that BFR training is effective for increasing muscle volume and muscle strength. Among them, BFR training is also used as a training method for postoperative rehabilitation patients to prevent muscle atrophy, or to accelerate the recovery of muscle function and promote post-injury reconstruction.

Several research conclusions have confirmed:

1. For athletes with a higher competitive level, BFR training can effectively promote NOs, HGH and other hormones related to muscle synthesis compared with traditional muscle building training. and benign changes in bioactive factors.

2. Low-intensity deadlift KAATSU training increases the activation of blood flow-restricted distal muscles and unrestricted proximal synergistic muscles.

3. Four-week low-intensity KAATSU training has the same effect on mobilizing body composition as traditional training, and has significantly better effects on knee isokinetic muscle strength and the maximum strength of some core muscle groups than traditional muscle-building training. The gains from compression training can be transferred to the upper body and core.

Takarada et al  observed that the application of BFR training (238 mmHg, 9 cm wide cuff) to patients after ACL reconstruction surgery was effective in reducing postoperative disuse atrophy of the knee extensor muscles ( measured by MRI). In support of this attenuation effect, Kubota et al.  found that the application of BFR (200 mmHg, 7.7 cm wide cuff) to a cast externally immobilized limb prevented a reduction in muscle circumference (measured by leg circumference).


How to use BFR training

Where is it used?

· BFR is mainly used for the training of limbs. The compression position should be on the upper end of the arm and the heart end of the thigh, not the middle of the muscle belly or on the joints.

· You can apply pressure on the upper arm during shoulder or chest training. You can also apply pressure on your thighs when training your glutes. Stay focused while training and use lighter weights, the recommended load is 20%-40% of your 1RM.

Incorrect way:

• Press near the knee when training the calf, or near the elbow when training the forearm.

· Training load exceeds 50% of 1RM.

blood flow restriction training


How to wrap?

· Use a narrow bandage (5-9cm) to avoid pinching the artery.

• Winding in layers.

· Use a narrow bandage, tourniquet, or wrap around the knee

· Do not use a bandage that is too wide, such as a blood pressure band, or a bandage larger than 10cm.

· Concentrate pressure on the proximal end of the extremity rather than wrapping it over a large area in a helical fashion, which can lead to pressure dispersion.




blood restriction training


How tight to warp?

· If the score is 0-10, it should be pressed to 6-7 points.

Feels a little loose, most studies agree that a 40%-80% limit can achieve the best muscle and strength training results.

· You should not feel numbness after compression.

· After pressurizing, you should be able to complete more than 15 repetitions to get the best results.

bfr training before and after



Since this training method increases the burden on the heart, this training method is not suitable for people with cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure.

Intensity selection

General BFR use strength is 20-40% 1RM weight, for 15 times. Of course, the weight can also be adjusted according to your own actual situation. Generally, higher weight training is not recommended.