Blood Flow Restrictions

Blood flow restriction (BFR) training or Occlusion Training is an exercise and rehabilitation modality whereby an occlusion cuff is applied to a limb, the arterial and venous blood flow is temporarily occluded and structured sets of exercise or movements are performed with little or no resistance.

The cuff is very similar to the type used on a blood pressure monitor. Once the cuff is in place and the exercise chosen, four sets of exercises are performed; one of 30 reps initially and then three of 15 reps. The total exercise time is about 7 minutes.

Using BFR results in getting stronger faster, without having to use heavy loads so, in the clinical setting, it provides an effective rehabilitation tool with less joint stress. Historically BFR has been popular amongst bodybuilders as it has been shown to reduce the cardiovascular risk associated with heavy-load training.

How it Works

The occlusion cuff restricts venous blood flow throughout the contraction and rest period of the movement.

We use a madup-pro machine which monitors the amount of arterial blood flow restriction and can be adjusted to suit each situation.

Whilst arterial blood flow in is restricted, most significantly it is the restriction of venous outflow from the muscle which promotes an anaerobic environment much sooner than without the occlusion, and it is in this environment that muscle hypertrophy occurs.


BFR has been shown in studies to improve pain, stiffness and functionality in patients with knee osteoarthritis.

Following ACL reconstruction of the knee, BFR is a great adjunct to increase lower limb muscle mass and strength in the quadriceps.


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