Occlusion training, also called blood-flow restriction training or BFR, isn’t a new thing. It’s been around for a few decades and was originally developed to help those rehabilitating from injuries recover much faster (and safer).
As discovered by health enthusiasts everywhere though, whether you’re recovering from injury or not, it’s one of the most effective ways out there for getting big arms and legs at a faster rate than what exercising normally, without occlusion training, would get you.
We’ve covered what occlusion training is a few times in our other blog articles, so be sure to check them out here. You’ll basically need to wrap a band tightly around the narrowest part of your upper arm or leg, and aim for a 6 for your arms or a 7 for your legs, out of a 10 for the perceived level of tightness where 10 is as tight as you can possibly go.
In this article, we’re going to be a looking at some of the exercises that are paired best with occlusion training. You’ll only need to do 20% to 40% of your 1 rep max to get gains with this method.
- Dumbbell Curl
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand, arms hanging by your sides
- Keep your elbows close to your torso and your palms facing forward
- While keeping your upper arms stationary, slowly exhale as you curl the weights up to your shoulder level, while contracting your biceps
- Squeeze biceps in the peak position and hold for a brief pause
- Inhale as you slowly lower weights back to starting position
- V-Bar Triceps Pressdown
- Stand with feet shoulder width apart in front of a high pulley machine enabled with a V-bar attachment
- Grasp the ends of the V-bar with your palms facing forward and elbows by your waist
- Keep your body stationary and exhale as you lower the V-bar completely by extending your arms until they are straight down in front of you
- Hold for a brief pause, then inhale as you slowly return the V-bar to the starting position
- Seated Leg Extension
- Sit on a leg extension machine with your legs under the pad
- Pad should be resting against your shins, just above your feet
- Keep feet pointing straight forward
- Grip the hand bars firmly
- Using only your quadriceps, fully extend your legs
- Slowly exhale as you do so, and hold for a brief pause once you reach full extension
- Slowly return to the starting position as you inhale
- Front Squat
- Position bar in squat rack at shoulder height
- Stand facing the squat rack with feet shoulder-width apart
- Feet should be below the bar
- Grab the bar with hands shoulder-width apart, palms facing the floor
- Bend elbows downward and bring the bar to your upper chest until it touches the base of your throat and is resting on top of your shoulders – palms are now facing the ceiling
- Push your elbows toward the ceiling and bring your shoulders forward so that the bar is pressing into them
- Lift the bar off the rack and step back. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart
- Take a deep breath and drop your hips straight down between your feet
- Keep your elbows pointing forward
- Once your thighs are parallel with the floor, return to standing position
For these exercises, again, you’ll only need 20% to 40% of your 1 rep max, but don’t worry – you will feel and see the effects of a heavy workout.
If you have a vascular disease or disorder, consult your doctor before attempting to control or limit your body’s blood flow. For gym gear and accessories to help you perform these exercises better – and safer – be sure to check out our shop.