Muscle loss during injury recovery can keep you sidelined longer than necessary. According to a 2015 study in the Journal of Rehabilitative Medicine, young people can lose up to 30 percent of their strength after just two weeks of physical inactivity, whlle older people lose about 25 percent.
Fortunately, a new technique called Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) training now offered at the Zenergy Sports Rehab Clinic is helping to change all that.
BFR involves applying a specially designed tourniquet system – similar to a blood pressure cuff – to an injured arm or leg to partially restrict blood flow while doing strength training exercises at very low resistance. The idea is to let blood reach the muscle without letting it leave and causing cells to swell, creating the perfect recipe for muscle growth.
Originally developed by a Japanese bodybuilder in the 1970s, BFR training is just now getting attention in the sports medicine and performance training worlds, says Kyle Sela, Zenergy’s new sports medicine program developer.
Experts say the technique – also known as tourniquet training – can help keep muscles strong as you recover from an orthopedic injury such as a torn ACL, ruptured tendon or damaged cartilage. In recent years, specialists have been using it with wounded veterans and professional athletes, but the average person can benefit as well.
“Typically, to increase strength, you need to lift loads that are at about 80 percent of your one-rep max,” explains Sela. “But there are a lot of times in life when you aren’t able to do that, such as after an ACL repair.” With BFR, you can gain strength with a load as low as 20 percent of your one-rep max, Sela adds.
Currently, Zenergy is the only health club in Idaho to offer BFR training with an FDA-approved device under the guidance of certified professionals. Growing scientific research indicates that BFR can benefit a variety of people – from the elderly to the elite athlete. Pregnant women and people with deep-vein thrombosis, varicose veins, high blood pressure and cardiac disease are advised to avoid this type of training.
Call 208.726.7246 to learn more about BFR training at Zenergy.