Blood Flow Restriction Training

Blood Flow Restriction Training


Blood flow restriction (BFR) training has become increasingly popular in both the sporting and rehab setting due to its unique ability to improve muscle strength, endurance and hypertrophy at lower intensities and in shorter time frames than traditional training methods. BFR training was originally developed in Japan in the 1960s by Dr. Yoshiaki Sato and was referred to as KAATSU training. 

BFR training works by restricting blood flow to targeted muscles whilst you do simple low-load exercise for 15 minutes or less. This is achieved through the application of a soft tourniquet or inflatable cuff to the upper arms or legs during low-load strength training or cardio. 

In order for muscular adaptation to occur we need mechanical tension, a degree of microtrauma and metabolic stress which can be achieved through high intensity exercise. Reducing blood flow during training allows us to produce similar muscle strength, size and endurance gains but at lower intensities and with lighter weights. This can be advantageous, especially in the rehabilitation setting as it reduces the load and stress placed on joints and healing tissues. For early post-op patients it is important to respect any restrictions set by your surgeon whilst engaging in physiotherapy. Of course, consistency is key, so 2-3 sessions a week is recommended, and it must be safe. See below. 



The likelihood of adverse events occurring is low however, the impact to health can be quite catastrophic. It is important to ensure you understand the contraindications, precautions and risks associated with BFR training, conduct a pre-screening evaluation and provide your informed consent.

A link to the AIS pre-screening evaluation can be found here: 

Absolute contraindications to BFR training
(ie. You are absolutely not a candidate – sorry!)

  • Peripheral Vascular Disease
  • Previous Vascular Surgery to the affected limb
  • An arteriovenous fistula to the affected limb
  • Pregnancy


Relative contraindications/precautions
(ie. You need to be cleared by your surgeon, specialist, or GP to participate)

  • Hypertension
  • Venous thromboembolism (including deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism)
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Haemophilia or other bleeding/clotting disorders
  • stroke/cerebral infarct
  • Peripheral Neuropathy


BFR training is an emerging form of exercise rehabilitation that has become increasingly popular due to its ability to effectively produce muscular adaptations at reduced exercise intensities and loads. If you are interested in learning more about BFR training and would like to access our specialised inflatable cuffs, book an appointment with one of our highly skilled Physiotherapists today. 



  1. Australian Institute of Sport. (2021). Blood Flow Restriction Training Guideline.
  2. The efficacy of blood flow restricted exercise: A systematic review & meta-analysis – Pubmed. (2016, August 1). Pubmed.
  3. Centner, C., Wiegel, P., Gollhofer, A., & Konig, D. (2018, October 10). Effects of Blood Flow Restriction Training on Muscular Strength and Hypertrophy in OlderIndividuals: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Pubmed Central (PMC.
  4. Patterson, S, D., Hughes, L., Warrington,S., Burr, J., Scott, B. R., Owens, J., Abe, T., Nielsen, J. L., Libardi, C. A., Laurentino, G., Neto, G. R., Brandner, C., Martin-Hernandez, J., & Leonneke, J. (2019, May 15). Blood Flow Restriction Exercise: Considerations of Methodology, Application, and Safety. Pubmed Central (PMC).



Benita is a Curtin University graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy. She has gained experience in multiple health settings including hospitals, outpatient clinics and as a sports trainer for football, soccer and basketball teams. She has competed at a state level for bodybuilding, gymnastics and netball and at an international level for equestrian and tetrathlon.

Benita enjoys creating personalised rehabilitation programs to help you achieve your optimal health and fitness in the most effective way possible. She is passionate about helping restore athletes to their full potential and her extensive sporting background has equipped her with the skills to treat multiple musculoskeletal conditions.

When not at work, you can find Benita cruising along the coast on her skateboard or training for her next bodybuilding competition.

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