Not everyone is open to the idea of restricting blood flow to the legs or arms using kaatsu belts or cuffs during training because it doesn’t sound right. Why would one think of preventing blood from flowing properly through their blood vessels? This sounds like a valid concern, but if you take a closer look at the purpose of blood flow restriction during training and what it actually does to the muscles, you’ll be convinced that it is safe to do and it is effective in developing muscle size and strength.
How Does Blood Flow Restriction Work Exactly?
Blood flow restriction or occlusion training involves the use of kaatsu cuffs or belts around the top of the arms or legs. The cuffs are wrapped around the limbs at a pressure that is enough to obstruct the flow of blood to the veins, but not the arteries. Take note that the arteries should not be blocked to make sure that blood is being delivered to the limbs. The purpose of occluding is to allow blood to pool in the limb and make it hard for the veins to take the blood back to the heart.
How Is Occlusion Training Done?
There have been a number of studies that were conducted to find out the best way to use blood flow restriction training. One study compared walking with BFR to lifting with BFR at maximum 40 percent of a person’s 1RM, and it was found that lifting with BFR was much more effective than walking with BFR.
Researchers, however, recommend walking with kaatsu or BFR bands for injured individuals. It is also advised that individuals get used to the technique first before they progress to lifting. Studies also show that taking short rest periods of about 30 seconds can optimize lactic acid accumulation and swelling of the muscle, which are vital factors in muscle growth.
Another common question from users of occlusion training is in terms of how tightly the wraps or kaatsu belts need to be wrapped around the limbs. Experts say that ideally, one should wrap at a pressure of 7 on a scale of 10 for the leg muscles, and 5 to 6 on a scale of 10 on the arms. That way, veins will be occluded and not the arteries. In terms of the weight to be lifted, experts say that there is no use going heavy when training with BFR. In fact, the recommended weight is 20 to 40 percent of your 1RM.
Now that you know how safe blood flow restriction training is, there shouldn’t be any reason for you not to try it! Get started by looking for reliable BFR bands or kaatsu cuffs for sale and be on your way to developing bigger and stronger muscles!