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SRT - Sports Rehab Tourniquet

How BFR works

Advantages of BFR training

The bulk of the research focuses on the ability to gain improvements in muscle cross-sectional area and strength using training loads of only 20% of 1RM. Traditional training requires using loads of at least 80% of 1RM. The ability to train at lower loads is not only safer but a unique way to increase the total training workload without extra fatigue.

An increase in metabolic stress using BFR training elicits responses similar to that of high load (mechanical stress) training.  This results in an increase in desirable hormonal responses (e.g. Testosterone, Growth Hormone).  

Recent research has also demonstrated improvements in bone density and reformation and cell signalling in tendinopathies. 

Selecting your cuff

Measure your limb circumference according to which body part you want to train (see training zones pic)

Cuff Sizing

Small (red trim) = 43cm or less

Medium (white trim) = 74cm

Long (blue trim) = 84cm

Extra Long (green trim) = 104cm

SRT Cuff placement for BFR training

Setting your pressure

Literature gives a wide range of effective pressures varying from 75-220mmHg and 50-80% of arterial pressure (AO). There is a lot of debate as to the best pressure to use.

There are a few  ways to do this:

a. Individualised pressure calculation: this provides a pressure setting that is specific to the user and takes into account limb circumference and blood pressure. Using an equation, you can calculate a theoretical arterial occlusion pressure (50%) providing a more accurate pressure setting.  I have a downloadable spreadsheet to assist you with calculating your own pressure.  Please note  you will need a blood pressure monitor to use this method.

b. Set pressure (literature indicates that between 75mmHg -200mmHg works).  75mmHg is quite light and 200mmHg is very tight. I would only take experienced athletes with a large thigh to that pressure. A standard thigh you are looking at anywhere between 120-150mmHg.

Approximate pressure for a thigh I look towards:

45-50cm = 100mmHg

51-55cm = 130mmHg

56-59cm  = 150 - 160mmHg

60cm = 160-170mmHg

Please note that these pressure are for thighs only and that arms and calf pressures are a lot lower.

Putting on your cuffs

Using your cuffs - the first few weeks

Once you have calculated your pressure remember that this is an upper pressure guide. For first time users I typically reduce this pressure by 20mmHg for the first few weeks. Again the pressure is a guide so decrease if you are feeling uncomfortable during initial use.  My experience is that you will get used to the pressure over time.

Continuous vs intermittent pressure depends on the level of user and what it is being used for.  Generally speaking for rehab-based training I will build towards a continuous pressure method whereas for performance lifting I suggest using an intermittent pressure method.

This is my suggestion: 

Weeks 1-2: Intermittent pressure – release the pressure after each major set (or in rest periods).  If they are very comfortable with it, instead of releasing after each set, just release pressure after each exercise grouping. (i.e. after 5-10min).

Weeks 3-4: Increase the amount of time that continuous pressure is kept. Typically this is reflected by releasing after each exercise grouping (e.g. do your 3-4 sets of single leg squats, release pressure then reinflate for your next exercise).

Weeks 5+: decision on pressures comes down to the comfort of the user.  They can keep inflated for longer periods of time (20min) with a continuous methodology.

Exercising with your cuffs

Warm-up

Bike, cross-trainer and walking are good options. Use slightly lower than 50% AO pressures here.

Rehab and activation

Use during rehab-based and activation exercises such as gluteal (mini-band routines) and VMO (straight leg raises) exercises.

Strength development

Lower body: includes most exercises that is quad dominant. For example: leg press (single and double leg), single leg squat, squat, step-ups, bulgarian squat, lunge.

Upper body: most pushing exercises and pulling exercises are suitable. However a slightly restricted range may occur due to the cuffs.