Need a BFR Elevator Pitch? We Have You Covered!


Demand is coming-Are you ready?

Need a BFR Elevator Pitch?  We Have You Covered!
Nicholas M. Licameli, PT,DPT





If you’re like me and are passionate about the ability of blood flow restriction training to impact people’s lives and help them achieve their goals, you may find yourself in one of the following situations. 

Scene 1: It’s Christmas Eve and you’re at your great Aunt Betty’s annual Christmas Eve party, when all of a sudden your Uncle Frank approaches.  After 20 minutes of him talking about his endeavors in crypto currency, he asks about a certain exercise technique that he saw in the most recent edition of Men’s Health.  He asks, “Have you ever heard of BFR?” 

Scene 2: You find yourself in a lunch meeting with a local orthopedic surgeon and have 7.5 minutes of face time.  He asks if you’ve ever heard of BFR because he’s been hearing more and more about it, but doesn’t know too much about it.  

Scene 3: You are at the gym and are using BFR with dumbbell curls to work around some minor elbow pain.  You feel a gym bro slowly approaching, like a lioness stalking a gazelle.  You finish your set, place the dumbbells back on the rack, and sure enough, he asks, “Hey man, that’s some pump you have there.  What’s with the straps on your arms?”

What happens when you are short on time, but need to explain BFR in a professional way, but also not dive too deeply into the details?  You search your brain for a quick BFR elevator pitch to answer the question… “So what is blood flow restriction training?”  Fear not!  The BFR Pros are here to help!  Here are some of the main points to use when introducing BFR without getting lost in the weeds.

  • BFR Training involves applying a tourniquet to a limb and inflating it to partially restrict arterial inflow to the muscle and completely restrict venous outflow. Pressure is determined by calculating a percentage of full limb occlusion pressure (LOP).  The tourniquet is applied proximally on the upper or lower extremities, regardless of the target muscle.


  • BFR can be performed passively, with aerobic exercise, or with resistance exercise.  When BFR is performed with low intensity aerobic exercise, we see greater improvements in VO2 max compared to low intensity aerobic exercise and when BFR is performed with traditional low intensity resistance exercise, we see greater muscle hypertrophy and strength compared to traditional low intensity exercise.  This makes BFR a viable rehabilitation tool for those who are load intolerant. 


  • Strength improvements tend to favor high intensity training, therefore BFR should be used as a bridge to heavy training.


  • When BFR exercise is prescribed and used correctly, it is safe and presents no greater risk than as traditional exercise.  However, there are inherent precautions and contraindications associated with BFR, which is why being trained in BFR before implementing it is highly recommended. 


  • BFR can be used with those recovering from injury or surgery, but also with healthy individuals.  When used to train around pain and/or recover from injury or surgery, BFR should be used as a bridge to traditional high intensity training.  When used in healthy individuals, BFR is not necessarily essential and should be used as a tool/intensity technique to supplement traditional training.


  • Do not view patients and athletes through “BFR lenses” and think, “how can I use BFR with this person?”  Rather, focus on the individual’s goals first and then ask yourself, “Can BFR help this person achieve their goals?”  BFR should be viewed as a one of several tools that can help our patients and athletes reach their goals.  


  • Always use the principles of evidence based practice when deciding whether or not to use BFR, or any treatment for that matter: (1) Summation of the best current scientific evidence, (2) Anecdotal/clinical expertise, and (3) The individual patient/athlete’s values, beliefs, and goals.



****Remember, the decision to use BFR, or any treatment for that matter, should be based on the pillars of evidence-based practice.

Are you ready to meet the growing demand as a Confident BFR Provider?


Be sure to check out our engaging 4-hour On Demand On-Line BFR Training course at

Our course is for both Rehab and Fitness professionals and will provide everything you will need to overcome the three hurdles for successful BFR Training and help guide you to become a Confident Successful BFR Provider.

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