What is Blood Flow Restriction?

athletes blood flow restriction injury prevention muscle growth strengthening

What is blood flow restriction ? 

In simple terms it is using a ‘tourniquet’ style technology, safely applied to the arm or leg by certified physical therapists to enhance muscle cell hypertrophy. Check out this site to learn more!


How does it enhance muscle hypertrophy or muscle growth ? 

Muscle cells deprived of oxygen and nutrients during exertion, actually respond by enlarging those muscle cells. It is the wonderous way of the human body to “produce” desired effects under duress. This is the same reason why cross training and changing up exercise programs can be so beneficial to muscle growth as well. 


What is tourniquet style technology ? 

This technology uses a shoulder or thigh wrap, similar to a blood pressure cuff. When inflated, it properly restricts blood flow to that extremity during exercise. Imagine wearing a blood pressure cuff on your arm and then doing 10 – 15 minutes of exercise. It might feel a little strange and uncomfortable, but it is not painful. While wearing the inflated cuff, awareness of your limb, how it moves and connects with the rest of your body, actually increases! This is helpful when you are trying to correct specific movements of muscles and limbs during therapy. Think of a baseball pitcher being able to focus on how his arm moves during a pitch. Increased proprioception helps him prevent injury and enhance his throw. 


Is it safe? 

Blood flow restriction to an exercising limb is not for everyone. There are some contraindications to consider and, for others, it just may not be the right treatment to help them. Before we use BFR, Physical Therapists go through a certification process to ensure effective and safe use. In particular, the Delfi PTS BFR system used at Evergreen PT, has the most precise pressure control and is the safest for personalized blood flow restriction in strength programs. When used under the supervision of a certified Physical Therapist, blood flow restriction is a safe and effective form of treatment.


How is it applied ? 

A cloth sleeve is placed on the upper arm or thigh. A protocol of exercise with the pressure sleeve donned, would be 30 reps, followed by 15 reps, twice. Thus upwards of 60 repetitions with flow of blood restricted to the limb is the ‘design’ of the program. 


The desired effects of this technology advancement are

  1. Reverse atrophy from disuse or lack of weight bearing after surgery or injury. 
  2. Improve strength and muscle cell growth with 30 % reduced strain and load. 
  3. Improve muscle endurance in less time. 
  4. Improve muscle protein creation even in elderly. 
  5. Improve muscle awareness and activation 
  6. Increase growth hormone effect / response 


Check out this testimonial of Rockets basketball player, Dwight Howard ( 2018 ) 


At Evergreen, we are excited to bring BFR technology to our community. Every one of our patients, whether pro-athlete or not, deserves to have access to this proven technology for combating atrophy.


Call us today for more information 626 683 8536 




email Dave at [email protected] 


Cheers to lifetime health , strength , and peace of mind. 



Dave is the owner and founder of Evergreen Physical Therapy Specialists. He and his wife Tammy, an RN at CHLA, opened Evergreen over 15 years ago to provide the community of Pasadena with specialized and compassionate care. David has over 25 years of experience in orthopedics, neuro-rehabilitation, and pediatric physical therapy. 



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