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Using Blood Flow Restriction to Gain Strength, Mass, & Endurance with Light Weights

Using Blood Flow Restriction to Gain Strength, Mass, & Endurance with Light Weights


Many of us have already been stuck with a very limited amount of workout equipment for over two months now. Now that the cost of new and used workout equipment has skyrocketed, it isn’t feasible for many people to invest a lot of money in it right now. So what can we do? We can only do so many tempo and pause movement in attempts to induce hypertrophy and strength/power. Here is where Blood Flow Restriction comes in: the ability to cause muscle growth, strength, and endurance gains using much lighter weights.


What is Blood Flow Restriction Training?

It’s all about The Pump. When our muscles are working hard, we push more blood to those muscles than the amount that returns toward the heart. BFR training capitalizes on this theory, but increasing the restriction to the muscles so the blood stays there longer. This keeps both nutrients and metabolic byproducts/waste in the muscle cells longer, increasing the anabolic signals for growth.


One of these signals is known as mTOR, which signals protein synthesis to occur for muscle repair and growth. The other signal that BFR decreases is called myostatin, which is a limiting signal to stop muscle growth.


So How Do We Do It?

You’re essentially using a light tourniquet in your armpit for arm training, or up by your crotch for your legs. The aim is to do sets of 20-30 reps with 30-50% of your 1RM weight. So for many of us who may only have bodyweight or a fraction of the weight we usually use, this is a perfect solution to still make size, strength, and endurance gains during the quarantine. You can use simple bands, but it can become difficult to consistently apply the proper pressure between sets and workouts. The cuff should be tight on a scale of 7-9 out of 10, so it shouldn’t be too painful.

The most economical product with good reviews that we found seems to be the Edge BFR System, at $120 for an arm or leg cuff.

For $120, this may the answer to still produce gains in your legs or arms easier during this apocalypse! Hope it helps.