Blood Flow Restriction, Cold Weather Cramping and More – Ask a Cycling Coach 358

Is BFR training your missing piece to getting faster? Coach Chad, Amber, and Jonathan cover this along with pedaling technique, whether cold weather causes cramps, and much more in Episode 358 of the Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast!

Tune in Thursday at 8:00am Pacific!

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Topics Covered in This Episode

  • Does blood flow restriction (BFR) training make you faster?

  • How to appropriately mix carbs, electrolytes, and caffeine supplementation during a long ride

  • Do base layers help cooling in hot conditions?

  • What is proper pedaling technique and how do you improve it?

  • Does HR elevation prior to training make it less effective?

  • Mobility exercises to hold the aero position

  • Does cold weather cause cramping?

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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I really liked the bit on summer base layers. I tend to wear one but not for any claimed cooling reason the opposite (British summers :roll_eyes:) it also lets me feel safe opening my jersey and not exposing my milk bottle chest to the sun :joy:

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Haven’t listened to the podcast, but when crossing the country last summer, my Castelli bibs crossed right over my nipples. Days were often over 100 F so too hot for a base layer. I resorted to a couple of Bandaid pasties.

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Definitely giving BFR a go. I appreciate the nervousness around it, but it feels low risk to incorporate it in to lower intensity sessions with potentially a huge upside - and it does not require a change to the training plan as it stands.

My view, which maybe says a lot about me, is that if you wait a few years for more research, by that point everyone is doing it and the potential edge is lost. I’m in.

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Coach Chad: It‘s amazing how pros hardly look like they are working when they are on their limits, never losing form.

Davide Formolo: hold my beer :grin::smile:

That man looks like there are no limits to his suffering, I wish I could go that deep :slightly_smiling_face: You see him pulling at the front looking like he‘ll blow up any second, and 5 minutes later he‘s still pulling and half the peloton behind him blew up!

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Have been using the Kaatsu brand BRF bands for the past 6 months now. This is the company whose founder first discovered BFR almost 40 years ago which was later validated by many research studies.

So far I’ve only been using it for strength training and as a hard gainer was shocked to see my arm circumference increase by 1.5 inches using this protocol below. Note the gain in circumference is not based on measurements immediately after but using a digital circumference measuring band every week on non-training days so these are legit gains and for me significant

Protocol for strength training
75 repetitions across four sets of exercises, with 30 repetitions in the first set and 15 repetitions in each subsequent set with 30 seconds rest in between. Repeat 2-3 times per week

For the majority of individuals exercising with loads corresponding to 20–40% of an individual’s maximum strength level (e.g., 1-RM) will likely maximize muscle growth and strength.


Going to start experimenting with using BFR with my daily walks on non-interval days. Have tried it a bit on the bike as well which you definitely don’t want to do more than 15-20 at a time at low intensity. Also for the bike you might consider wireless bands as the cords are a bit cumbersome.

More on this here: Frontiers | Blood Flow Restriction Exercise: Considerations of Methodology, Application, and Safety | Physiology

And if you really want to nerd out on the subject listen to this Peter Attia podcast interview with a scientist focused on BFR research here: #179 - Jeremy Loenneke, Ph.D.: The science of blood flow restriction—benefits, uses, and what it teaches us about the relationship between muscle size and strength - Peter Attia

Hope this helps…

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