When it comes to your training, it’s about working smarter, not harder. You don’t want to overwhelm your muscles or to tire yourself out too much, but what else can you do to improve your results besides an intense workout?
Well, in conjunction with your usual workout, consider using a blood flow restriction band. These bands have become more well-known recently, but before you buy, check out our guide for everything you need to know.
NOTE: If you suffer from high blood pressure, please see a doctor before you try this type of training
What is Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) Training?
Blood flow restriction training or occlusion training, or BFR, is a strategy developed specifically to improve the strength of your muscles while training. Essentially, you’ll place a band or cuff around the limb during exercise and work out as usual.
Now, this might seem odd to restrict your blood flow. But doing this can actually provide you with real gains in the size and strength of your muscles.
This is because you maintain the blood flow in your arteries while preventing it from returning through your veins. The blood will enter the muscle and remain there, leading to the gains in your muscles.
You can use BFR for resistance training or even something simple like walking. This type of training has been known to increase strength and muscular size more quickly than usual training types. Of course, remember that you are not completely restricting blood flow. This is important since the blood is what helps your muscles grow; you don’t want your arms and legs to begin getting numb.
How to Use Blood Flow Restriction Bands in Training
First off: know that this type of training will lead to a burn. This is normal, so don’t be alarmed.
This occurs because your muscles quickly become deprived of oxygen and can’t get rid of the waste like they would normally. The added stress causes the burn.
Now knowing that, how should you get started?
You’ll want a specialized band or cuff that will restrict the venous blood flow without restricting the flow of your blood completely. You can use regular wraps on your own, although do be careful that you know how to use it properly.
Once you have your band, wrap it at the top of your leg or arm in a layered manner, rather than a spiral manner all along the leg. The size of your arm or leg will determine how tightly you should wrap it, but most people will end up wrapping at 7 out of 10 on your legs and a 6 out of 10 on our arms.
After you’ve wrapped your arm or leg, you shouldn’t feel any numbness or tingling. That will mean that it’s wrapped too tightly and that you’ve got the arterial blood flow blocked off too. If you’re not sure if you have it on too tight, wrap it a little loosely to get started. You can always try different levels of restriction as you advance in your training and get used to the feeling.
With BFR training, do be sure you’re training safely. Lift light loads with high reps and short rest periods. Know that these bands won’t replace your training, but just enhance it.
But to enhance it properly, you’ll need durable wraps to help you. That’s where our three top options below come in handy.
Best BFR Bands for Occlusion Training
These signature bands are meant to help you dial in the pressure properly so that you remain completely safe during your training. So, you’ll get one pair of armbands and one pair of legs bands.
The arms are 2 inches wide and 21 inches long while the legs are 3 inches wide and 30 inches long, but these bands can be used for muscles of any size since the Velcro allows for adjustability.
The Signature Series bands are unique compared to some other bands thanks to the quick-connect valve. This device holds pressure after you disconnect the band, which will allow your results to continue even after you’re finished.
The hand pump will display the pressure that you’re at so that you’re able to adjust it at will, but you’ll never have uneven pressure either. The design of the cuff is made to provide you with 360 degrees of even pressure at all times.
• Easy to control how much pressure you apply to your muscles
• The quality is high, providing quick results
• Durable and meant to last
• You may feel overwhelmed by the pressure valve if you’re just beginning
These bands are made to help you improve the size and strength of your arms and legs. They’re elastic and easy to extend over your muscles without squeezing them too tightly.
Just use the elastic loop to adjust the pressure on your limb, and use the unique pinch-free buckle design to make sure the size fits your muscle. With the numbers on the size, you’ll always know the pressure you’re at.
The PRO-X bands are easy to use with the one-handed buckle mechanism, making them easy to put on and take off by yourself. But you don’t only get these bands with your purchase. You’ll also get 5 workout tapes to help you get started no matter what level you are. These will help you use your gear even more effectively.
• The buckle design makes it easy for anyone to use
• The elastic feels comfortable on the muscle
• Easy to use and to figure out right away
• The pressure numbers are small and not obvious, making them harder to see
These PRO bands are 3 inches wide and 80 inches long, providing you with lots of adjustability depending on your size. This will help you achieve more gains with the amount of times you wrap it around your muscle too. They’re made out of thick, durable, and comfortable material, with extra-long Velcro for easy wrapping every time.
One of the biggest things people worry about though are their bands slipping out of place accidentally. That’s why the quick wrap thumb loops on these PRO bands are so helpful. They prevent pressure loss and slipping, while the optimal pressure guide lets you know the idea pressure with easy-to-see numbers visible and standing out against the blue fabric.
• The bundle includes videos to help you get started
• The numbers are easy to see, making the bands easy to use
• The material won’t slip when you’re using it
• They are more low-key compared to some other wraps
BFR Bands -- Final Verdict
BFR training has been getting much more popular in these recent years. People everywhere are using it to improve the size and strength of their muscles, wrapping bands around their muscles securely to restrict the blood flow.
Make sure that you do this process safely and that you don’t fully restrict your muscles. With one of these bands and this guide, you can get started on improving your workout quickly and effectively.
BFR Training Resources
Jodie is a professional writer and is addicted to cross fit.