It seems like with all the products currently being released, it's hard to separate truth from falsehood, science from bro-science and new training methods from gym bro advice. But,
alas, fret not. We have found that the best way to cut the cheese is through research. But, first, let's do a backstory.
Most people who go to the gym are there for one common purpose – to get fit. Whether that means losing fat, building muscle or training to be stronger, weight lifting is the best way to go. There's no dispute there.
Of course, there's plenty of debate surrounding which approach that gives the best results.
Heavy load vs progressive heavy load.
Variation in exercise or weight.
Let’s not even begin to discuss diet!
To keep it simple, the general scientific consensus when it comes to building muscle is this: Lower reps with more weight leads to thicker and stronger muscle fiber, ultimately giving you that bulky look all guys dream of (and all girls fear).
Why is it like this? By increasing the amount of weight you lift, you will improve your 1RM (1 repetition maximum, aka the most you can lift on a single exercise), which in turn helps you heavier and with more volume in your working sets, which again helps you build a bigger body. Supplement that with proper diet and rest, and voila, you have got yourself a routine. (You can simply acquire such workout plans here)
However, what if I were to tell you there’s a way to get the same muscle growing effect while only lifting 20% of what the big boys are lifting?
There's been a lot of attention and popularity around the magic of BFR (Blood Flow Restriction) training in the past couple of years. Although it’s known online and in the gyms
under multiple names (BFR training, Occlusion training, KATSUU), the concept remains the same, and anyone looking to boost their muscle growth by restricting blood flow from the working muscle needs to know how, what and where.
So let’s start with a quick dive into the science behind it all.
When we train a muscle, blood flows from your arteries into the muscle. Toxins and oxygen-poor blood moves from your muscle, through your veins, and into your heart again in the
process of purification. When you occlude (aka restrict blood flow), you flood that muscle with higher concentrations of lactic acid, growth hormones and multiple other hypertrophic
elements, which boosts the growth hormones and allows the anabolic waste to grow that muscle fiber.
The best part is that this process accomplishes the same result with about 20% of your 1RM as lifting heavy weights (around 60-70% of your 1RM) would.
Unbelievable, we know.
The research done on this training system is thorough and heavy. Scientists have discovered several benefits ranging from increases in muscle memory, mind-muscle
connection, strength gains, fat burning, muscle building, as well as balancing your blood pressure and having other physiotherapeutic benefits. The list goes on.
How do you apply BFR to your own training?
1. When training a muscle such as biceps, triceps and forearms it's easy to use the BFR system. A strap is wrapped above the muscle you want to exercise, but not onto the joint, as you want to include a small portion of the muscle itself for most benefit. The process is similar for wrapping your thighs when training quads, hamstrings and glutes, as well as calves. Preferably, you should apply this technique at the end of your workout while maintaining a pump. Use weights around 20% of your 1RM on that particular exercise.
2. After wrapping the bands on the desired area, make sure to do so with a tightness on a “5-6” on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being so tight that you restrict blood flow completely. This will allow sufficient blood to be occluded (restricted), while enough passes to let your muscle function optimally.
3. Perform 15-25 reps for 3 sets and 30 second rest between sets. Remember to keep the wraps on during the full 3 sets, not taking them off between sets. This allows the buildup
of anabolic waste and keeps the muscles flooded with high concentrations of growth hormones which otherwise would be reduced through regular blood flow.
4. When you are done with the 3 sets, remove the bands and perform a short set with light weight to failure to contract those fibers and boost the efficiency of your muscle’s protein synthesis.
5. It's often recommended to take a cold shower afterwards as it aids the blood flow throughout the body and through the muscle that has been occluded, helping it heal and grow stronger and bigger. Repeat every other day 3 times a week, with 2 weeks on, 1 week off.
And watch the magic happen!
(You can simply acquire such workout plans here)
This training method is endorsed by major league athletes and scientific communities. It only recently started to gain popularity in conventional gyms and training circles.
What gear do I need?
Currently, a proper KATSUU suit, which is what is being used for occlusion in physiotherapeutic research in Asia, costs approximately $10,000.
So, what did normal gym-goers like yourself decide to do instead? They made their own occlusion straps, similar to those used in hospitals, or even just using the knee/wrist wraps they had lying in their gym bag. However, these straps are not very safe as the size and width and inconsistency of placement can lead to worse results, for not to mention blocking of the arteries.
For this simply reason, VOTwear decided it was time to introduce occlusion straps build into a training shirt, making it completely safe to use (in fact, we dare you to try to block your arteries with our vest).
So, it’s time to go out there and create your resolution for your fitness journey and be sure to
implement the occlusion training system asap! And if you want to make absolutely sure that you are doing everything in a safe manner while getting optimal results, we highly recommend you head over to votwear.com and check out our products.
Curious? incorporate this into your life here and get the beginner's training plan and get started !
Author Of This Blog Post: Nayyer Ettehadulhagh