Blood Flow Restriction

Blood Flow Restriction can help:


+ Increase muscle strength

Stimulates equal amounts of muscle hypertrophy despite using much lighter weights


+ Decreased stress on joints & tendons

Increases muscle strength while using light weights, decreases the stress on joints & tendons


+ Increase cardiovascular capacity

Increase VO2max, allowing you to run/bike/swim for longer without losing our breath

Trainer measuring a girl's leg with a BFR tool

What is BFR?

Blood flow restriction training involves the application of a pneumatic tourniquet to the muscle that is being trained. The cuff is then inflated to a specific pressure with the aim of partial blood flow occlusion. This forces the muscle to work harder than without BFR, and stimulates muscle growth at weights that normally would not create muscle growth. Resistances as low as ~20% of 1 repetition max is performed with rest periods in between sets. It can be applied to both the legs and arms. 

Blood flow restriction training has shown to increase growth hormone which aids in muscle recovery and facilitates the muscle growth and strengthening process. High intensity training, which blood flow restriction training mimics, has been shown to reduce a protein called myostatin which controls and inhibits cell growth in muscle tissue. Less myostatin means increased muscle hypertrophy. Since blood flow restriction training safely compresses blood vessels within the muscle being trained, this causes a hypoxic environment and a buildup of lactate. Lactate is a by-product of metabolism and exercise. This accumulation of lactate further increases the release of growth hormone leading to strength gains and muscle hypertrophy.

  • Goal of blood flow restriction training is to induce strength and hypertrophy in working muscle with low resistance 
  • Research is showing benefits for bone healing, tendon healing, cardiovascular rehabilitation, endurance gains, performance enhancement, and pain modulation. 

What you need to know

Woman lifting weight while using a BFR tool on her leg

Why is this important?

Patients who are in pain often cannot tolerate traditional heavy weight lifting required for improving strength. Blood flow restriction allows for similar strength gains while performing exercise at a much lower intensity and weight.

Trainer measuring a girl's leg with a BFR tool

Who is this good for?

Pre & Post Surgery (ACL, joint replacement, rotator cuff, achilles), arthritis, knee & ankle injuries, recovering athletes, and more.

BFR tools

How Does it Work?

A pneumatic tourniquet is applied to partially restrict blood flow to the exercising limb. This limits the amount of oxygen and nutrients supplied into the muscle, while also limiting the byproducts of exercise to be flushed out of the muscle. These effects stimulate muscles to work harder at much lower intensities of exercise than normally required to build strength. Lastly, it has been shown in the research to be very safe when performed by a licensed medical professional, even in the older adult population.

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From Pain to Play

“If you are looking for a peak performance or serious healing this a place to go to. It’s a fantastic team of professionals that work really well together. After a thorough evaluation of your personal therapeutical needs they will come up with a customized plan. You just need to be committed and keep showing up at least once a week and the results will be there within a few weeks if not before.”

– Robert K.

“This is a special place. My life would be much different if I hadn’t found React. Probably a life of limitations and pain pills. Their techniques combined with one on one time with trained professionals and some hard work will enable the change you desire. I highly recommend anyone with pain to setup time. You don’t have to live in pain.”

– Jett M.

“As a competitive triathlete, React in the West Loop over the years has gotten me through two meniscus tears and now a recent rotator cuff issue. The staff and facilities are outstanding and along with getting me healthy, I appreciate the time educating me on what exercises I should do to remain injury free. Both Michele Schultz and Charles Queano are highly recommended and they really care about your well being.”

– Thomas A.

“Michele is seriously the best and the main reason I keep coming back to React. I go to React on a weekly basis for a chronic shoulder injury and I always leave feeling so much better than when I came in. Throughout our time together Michele has encouraged me to try a bunch of different exercises, stretches and even treatment options. Michele thought I might benefit from dry needling so she introduced me to Andrew who is also awesome. Can’t say enough good things about working with her, she truly is the best.”

– Danielle P.

“I am so indebted to React. For so long, having pain in my shoulder was so normal, I didn’t even think about it. The first time I woke up and walked around for hours before realizing I wasn’t in pain was amazing. I can’t thank them enough for their detailed, careful, and hard work to fix me up.”

– Emily B.

“For the past 2-3 years I had been experiencing right leg pain, back pain, and a slew of other issues. A friend of mine referred me to React and I’m truly amazed by my progress. A few months later and I’m now 100% healed. If you have imbalances, flexibility issues, mobility issues, call React.”

– Jordan T.

“What Dave did to me in 3 weeks was deemed “night and day” by my local athletic doctor. He let me stay after and train for hours after my appointment. He showed personal care in my well being and answered every question I threw his way. I’m still not 100 percent, but I continue to get stronger and more agile by the day. Dave educated me about my body and I’m now pursuing my goal to get back on the ice.”

– Kyle Lee, Prospective Athlete, Boston College

“A silver medal for your rehabbed athlete! There was a lot of chop in the water but my shoulder held up and I had a good swim, until a guy kicked me in the face and left me with a nice shiner. My bike time was the fastest I have ever done at the World Championships and my run was the slowest I have ever done at the World Championships. Looks like my shoulder had more impact on my legs than my arms! But I was thrilled to cross the finish line, a feat I never would have accomplished without the wonderful care I received from all of you!”

– Elizabeth Brackett

“The biggest change is explosiveness and everything lined up before the game…[Having] all my joints lined up and muscles activated. It allows me to be more explosive out there on the field and that’s important at a skill position as a running back.”

– Matt Forte, ESPN Chicago (2011)