The biggest innovation in fitness for 2018 promises big muscle growth results while using as little as 10 to 20 percent of the weight you’d typically use.
How’s this possible?
Restricting your blood flow.
Blood flow restriction (BFR) training uses specialized blood pressure cuffs or bands to stop the flow of oxygen-deprived blood out of your limbs.
Once your blood pressure reaches optimal levels, you perform traditional muscle-building maneuvers, but you use smaller weights.
A study in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that BFR training increases muscles while using loads as light as 20 percent of your one-rep max.
Research suggests restricting the blood flow reduces the oxygen your muscles can access during the exercise.
Without oxygen, your muscles go into metabolic stress.
You don’t need heavy weights to shock them into growth when they’re in this low-oxygen phase.
Before you head to the gym with a band or strap, Dr. William P. Kelley, DPT, ATC, CSCS, with USA Sports Therapy, advises that you consult someone trained to properly perform BFR.
“You should absolutely only do BFR training with someone who is a certified BFR clinician,” Kelley told Healthline.
What could happen if you try do-it-yourself BFR?
It “can cause nerve or vascular damage if done incorrectly or without proper training and supervision and with subpar equipment,” Kelley said.