Blood Flow Restriction training

I know people with injuries preventing them from loading certain joints with much weight, this is a technique that helps them get a decent strength training stress without that loading.

Beyond that, the only application I can fathom is the only other time i know people who have used it, which is really tip of the spear body building. I can’t imagine you would want to incorporate this into cycling training.

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“A wide scan of the science shows that applying BFR to serious endurance training is not impressive.” – Coach Carl Valle

There was no significant difference between IPC and sham-IPC with respect to VO2peak…VT (ventilatory threshold)…cycling economy…or any moderate-domain VO2 kinetic parameter.

…there was a possibly beneficial effect of IPC on 4-km time-trial mean power output (2.2 ± 2.0%)

So you might possibly get a very small increase in short power.

I would disagree. Often statistics can be used to confuse and manipulate data to try and get close to what you are trying to show. Study design and number of subjects is far more important. The studies you’ve quoted are poorly designed, with not enough subjects to draw any conclusions.

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Unless you did BFR on one arm and not on the other, your anecdotal evidence is not useful. That’s not to attack you personally, I just think people should take these things with a large pinch of salt.

I personally think this reads like more pseudo science nonsense. There are far too many claims in sports science and coaching that are based on poor quality research (or none at all). Small group sizes with inadequate controls and often without proper consideration for confounding factors.

Yes you’re right, my anecdotal evidence doesn’t mean anything so I’ll just keep my bro science to myself next time instead of try to add to the conversation.

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Now that we have everyone’s opinions out of the way, I’d still like to hear more personal experiences and I think coach @chad could dive into the actual research on the subject and maybe form an informed opinion.

From everything I’ve seen so far (yes, even from Coach Carl Valle,) it looks like:

It is safe.
It’s best use may be for rehab or priming/preconditioning.
It tends to do more for bulk than anything, but also helps VO2 max compared to control groups.
The method has been in use for a long time, but research still appears to be building.

Thanks again for sharing your experience @jinro. Sorry it turned into a sh…show.
I’m gonna go have some tart cherry juice.

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Here’s an interesting podcast that addresses how it might be used in cycling training.

Starts at about 4 minutes in. Very intriguing.

I’ll have to look up the episode but ben greenfield does this and has talked about it in his podcast before

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Thanks, I’ll look him up!

I have no personal experience but I do follow on Strava a professor working at Loughborough University who i know is experimenting with this. He does also use TR but i don’t know his user name. Anyway, I’m only saying this as it seems clear there is further work being carried out on this.


Recently got an ad email from the feed mentioning this and a “new” product they are carrying. I’m certain that the benefit they claim is exaggerated at the least in an attempt to push some sales, but again - interesting nonetheless.

Got that email, also. Laughed at the first product (aerofit?) and really questioned the Kaatsu. Seems like a good way for people to really damage their bodies. Interesting to hear the science behind it.

Greenfield is a quack and I would take any training tips from him with a shaker of salt. He has hawked magic bracelets, claimed an 8 lb :poop:via the Squatty Potty and other bunk.

That said, BFR training does seem to have some benefits for weightlifting and injury rehab. I am not certain there are benefits for endurance training, however…I will read the study above.

From my initial understanding of the concept, proper BFR includes setting the pressure on the restriction to be inline with your systolic BP. Just using tourniquets and bands can cause problems. Proper restriction therefore involves an inflatable cuff with controlled pressure. Not certain that translates well to endurance training.

Whadya mean?! According to Olympic-level testimonial, this device is “good for people from 12 years old to 80”.

Not so sure I’d be willing to slow “down the blood flow back to the heart” of an 80-year old or trigger “the pituitary gland to flood the body with growth hormones” in a 12-year old. But whateves, as long as grandma’s gettin’ swole, it’s all good.

As a side note, brilliant handle, Captain. :man_pilot:t2:

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Coffee just went flying all over my screen and kb! Thanks a lot! :joy:

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A lot of colleagues (physical therapist) getting in on this and doing certifications. The upsides for strength are irrefutable at this point (@Jinro might agree here). Will just add the perspective that while there is a small but growing body of studies showing benefit from BFR, it’s still very much in the hype phase, and the early studies are in large part being done by folks who want to see good results. Some unbiased labs are now getting in on it and those papers should be out in the next 1-2 years. Further, BFR hasn’t been around long enough to see detrimental effects, and it’s hard to predict whether there will be any once folks have been using it for 5-10 years.

There’s a good argument being made for using BFR in post-surgical cases (i.e. knee surgeries, where quad muscle function often lags badly), however there’s a huge body of studies showing that the long-term issues there are more nervous system-related (much more of a low-hanging fruit) rather than issues of pure muscle function.

On a personal note, one word terrifies me: atherosclerosis. I can’t imagine what would happen if you BFR a compromised vascular system. Our bodies are great at compensating, and you can have circulatory compromise years to decades before anything shows up. That alone is keeping me out of this, but I also have no evidence to back that up.


But artherosclerosis is an arterial disease. Used properly (key phrase obviously), BFR does not impact arterial flow, only veinous flow (it is flow in veins that is restricted).