Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) training is a technique that combines low intensity exercise with blood flow occlusion that produces similar results to high intensity training. It has been used in the gym setting for some time but it is gaining popularity in clinical settings.
BFR training was initially developed in the 1960’s in Japan and known as KAATSU training. It involves the application of a pneumatic cuff (tourniquet) proximally to the muscle that is being trained. It can be applied to either the upper or lower limb. The cuff is then inflated to a specific pressure with the aim of obtaining partial arterial and complete venous occlusion. The patient is then asked to perform resistance exercises at a low intensity of 20-30% of 1 repetition max (1RM), with high repetitions per set (15-30) and short rest intervals between sets (30 seconds).