Want Some Help?

Lower Back Pain

Lower Back Pain





Unbelievable new strengthening tool: BFR

BLOOD FLOW RESTRICTION TRAINING - Why would you ever do this?

Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) Training has been gaining some momentum in the rehabilitation community and the strength and conditioning world.

We are really excited about this topic here at Mobo Physio because of the amazing gains and the quick improvements in rehabilitation we are getting clinically.

Just last week Mobo Physio's Morris Senior, Nathan Atkinson and Dr. Arseneau did a workshop introducing this topic to the community. It was an impressive group. Some people who were just interested in this novel topic, some personal trainers who want the best for their clients and we even had some Physiotherapy and chiropractic practitioners in house wanting to improve the outcomes in certain populations.


Well BFR brings intriguing possibilities. The gains you can make with muscle hypertrophy and strength using Low intensity Training are unmatched by any other system. Think about training at low loads and making the strength gains you would make with High Intensity and High Volume Training. The implications for this are tremendous as now you could potentially rehabilitate injuries faster without risking mechanical injury to the tissues you are trying to heal. At the very least you can prevent atrophy to those same muscles which are immobilized for a short duration after injury.


The Aging population - As we get older we naturally lose muscle which is called Sarcopenia. This is a form of anabolic resistence which means that they may have a little more difficulty putting on muscle. We also lose bone density as we get older and at it's extreme it is called Osteoporosis.

Post injury/ surgery rehab - After surgery there is a delay where high intensity/high load training would be considered unsafe. Without blood flow restriction, low intensity exercise would not produce the strength and hypertrophy gains and high intensity training would be the only way to make such changes. In rehab we often use low intensity exercises as a way to prevent Atrophy while the tissue is healing. Wouldn't it be nice to make useful strength changes in muscle while the tissue was still healing. This might be crucial to speed up recovery!

Those with Chronic Disease - This population crucially needs muscle gains but many times high intensity exercise can be contraindicated. We need a solution for this. BFR may be the solution for select individuals.


In our practice it is the application of a pneumatic cuff (much like a blood pressure cuff) to our extremities (arms or legs) which essentially acts as a tourniquet to occlude blood flow while exercising. Our goal with this is to improve strength and size of a muscle which will in turn improve it's oxygen delivery and utilization. We are actually able to create similar if not better gains in the muscle without putting that muscle in too much risk for injury.  Increased metabolic stress created by the tourniquet without excessive mechanical stress which is usuallly created by high loads is the secret to the benefits of using BFR with Low intensity exercise.


Not so scary. Actually it is really safe albeit it is important that the practitioner working with you understands all the precautions. BFR training should include a frequent interaction between the patient/client and the Trainer/therapist. The client must always report whether they feel tingling or numbness and lightheadedness. The practitioner should measure the pulse and always monitor the pressure of the cuff. This way you can avoid any adverse events.

Not all populations can do BFR Training and should be medically cleared before attempting it. Here are some contraindications:

History of Deep Vein Thrombosis


Varicose Veins

High Blood Pressure

Cardiac disease

This was a very brief overview of Blood flow restriction training. The science behind it is steadily growing and its applications are expanding. If you have any questions regarding this science, please feel free to ask the North York Physiotherapists at Mobo Physio 250 Sheppard Ave E #201, North York, ON.