Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) / Occlusion Training: What Is It?

Blood flow restriction training example

Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) / Occlusion Training: What Is It?

Most of us view our workouts as a break from our busy daily lives; a place where we can let go and work on ourselves.

At the same time, we want to see results as fast and as efficiently as possible – but how?

Blood flow restriction (BFR) training, also sometimes referred to as occlusion training, may certainly be the answer to this. Studies have now been carried out widely on an international scale leading sports scientists and highly respected Ph.D.’s to be more conclusive with regards to the benefits and overall potential of this new and upcoming way of training.

Origins and terminology

Actually, the idea behind BFR training isn't new but was first discovered in Japan back in the 1960’s by a man named Yoshiaki Sato, who would later become the inventor of the KAATSU training principle. Often you'll see three terms - occlusion training, blood flow restriction training, KAATSU training - being used interchangeably to describe the same thing, and there are indeed many similarities between these three forms of training, but technically there are some (slightly nerdy) differences between them.

How it works

The main idea of what we try to teach you guys about here is that by restricting (occluding) part of the blood flow from your extremity like your arm or leg back to your heart you cause a pooling of blood in your muscles along with increased levels of lactide acid which triggers a state of hypertrophy (muscle growth) by increasing the level of growth hormone from your brain.

The muscles react to the decrease in oxygen level caused by the restricted blood flow forcing them to work harder and fatiguing also the fast twitch (Type II) muscle fibres, which are the ones with the highest growth potential compared to the slow twitch ones (Type I).

The best part is that you should only do your sets using between 20-50% of your 1RM (meaning 20-50% of what you can lift one time only) in weights.

This means that your joints and ligaments - well, your whole body in the long run – will thank you for taking away large parts of the stress that traditional heavy lifting causes.

Therefore, BFR training is an amazing supplement to traditional training but has also proven to be a very powerful tool in injury prevention and during rehabilitation. If you'd like to dig in to the physiological details about what goes on in your body during a BFR workout, check out this post by our guest blogger and BfR Pro ambassador James Ruckley. (Also, if you'd like to be an ambassador for us yourself, don't hesitate to contact us!).

In other words, BFR training is intelligent training where you trigger your body to naturally produce more out of less. "Simple concept, intelligent training", as we put it.

Here at BfR Professional, we want you to reach your physical goals faster and more efficiently, and we can’t wait to be part of your journey towards a fitter, stronger you. 

Link on types of muscle fibres for further inspiration:

Take it to the next level!

Team BfR Professional




Lars Thorn
Lars Thorn


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