How to Build Muscle Faster: Blood Flow Restriction Therapy
By Jason Lunden, DPT, SCS
Blood flow restriction training (BFR) is a relatively new technique being used in physical therapy and gyms to increase muscle strength. We have been using BFR therapy at Excel Physical Therapy with promising results. BFR therapy utilizes compressive forces from a specialized blood pressure cuff to restrict venous blood flow from a muscle group while allowing for continued arterial blood flow to the muscle. The result of the restricted venous blood flow is a state of ischemia to the exercising muscle. Exercising in a state of ischemia seems to cause a physiological cascade that results in increased signaling that promotes muscle growth, even at lower loads on the muscle.
Utilizing BFR under careful supervision of a physical therapist, allows one to prevent muscle atrophy and increase muscular growth and strength while recovering from injury or surgery. BFR is not a panacea and therefore is just one component of a proper rehabilitation program. The ability of BFR to stimulate muscle growth at lower loads of resistance make it a perfect modality to consider for the earlier stages of rehabilitation. To learn more about BFR therapy and to see if it would be appropriate for you, be sure to ask your physical therapist here at Excel Physical Therapy.
Jason Lunden, DPT, SCS specializes in the rehabilitation and prevention of sports-related injuries, with a particular interest in the biomechanics of sporting activities – running, cycling, skiing, snowboarding and overhead athletics. Jason serves as a physical therapist for the US Snowboarding and US Freeskiing teams, along with the US Paralympic Nordic Ski Team, and is a local and national presenter on sports rehabilitation and injury prevention topics. Jason is a Certified Clinical BikeFit Pro Fitter.