Safety of Blood Flow Restriction Training
Blood flow restriction training (BFRT) partially restricts arterial blood flow into the muscle while venous outflow is occluded during exercise.
Substantial strength gains can be elicited with lighter loads versus heavy resistance training.
Current research has investigated a wide array of BFRT protocols and variables.
To address varying advice and guidelines, some research has synthesized best evidence around standardized protocols.
The use of BFRT during aerobic training and Resistance Training can be effective to increase muscle strength and size.
The physiological mechanisms behind these muscle adaptations include:
Acute muscle cell swelling.
Increased fiber-type recruitment.
Satellite cell proliferation.
It is also important to consider the safety of BFRT.
The issue of safety remains inconclusive and inconsistently reported.
Given the conflicting literature and lack of a validated, standardized protocol, the consensus on safety of BFRT use in a clinical population is unknown.
Minniti et al. (2019) assessed the potential adverse events associated with BFRT.
19 studies were eligible. .
Various knee-related disorders
Inclusion body myositis
Thoracic outlet syndrome
Achilles tendon rupture
Bony fractures. .
No adverse events (9 Studies)
Rare adverse events (3 Studies) - [Upper lImb DVT and rhabdomyolysis]. .
Common adverse events (3 Studies). - [Acute muscle pain and fatigue].
BFRT was not more likely to cause adverse event vs normal exercise alone. .
BFRT appears to be a safe strengthening approach.
Improved definitions of adverse events related to BFRT are needed to include clear criteria for differentiating among common, uncommon, and rare adverse events. .
Effective screening for those at risk for rare adverse events is needed. .
Thoughts? Questions? Comments?
Write them below. .
Minniti et al. 2019. Safety of BFRT as a Therapeutic Intervention. The American Journal of Sports Medicine 1–13.