How BFR can help you increase aerobic capacity

BFR and aerobic training

Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) training is well known for its benefits, in particular increasing strength and promoting muscle growth. But did you know that BFR can increase your aerobic capacity?

Whilst not the most popular reason that people use The BFR Cuffs, multiple studies have found that using BFR whilst undertaking aerobic activity results in an increase to VO2 Max.

Below, we will take a very quick look at three studies which examined using BFR whilst undertaking cycling. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.


The research

Study 1 – Participants were broken into three groups and prescribed an 8-week exercise training programs. The groups were 1) Endurance training 2) Resistance training or 3) Endurance training with BFR. With the endurance training, groups undertook cycling for 30 mins at a % level of their VO2 Max.

At the end of the study, it was found that the Resistance Training and Endurance Training with BFR groups resulted in an increase in muscle strength and muscle growth. However, the Endurance Training with BFR group was the only group to increase their VO2 max. Remarkably, this group had a significantly lower workload than those just undertaking Endurance Training.

Study 2 – This study looked at whether BFR had an effect on muscle size and VO2max. Participants split into two groups (BFR or non-BFR) and asked to undertake a cycling program.

At the end of the study, it was found that the participants in the BFR group experienced increase of up to 5% in the size of their quad muscle, 6.4% increase in their VO2max and their exercise until exhaustion time increased by 15.4%. Comparably, the non BFR group experienced 0.6% growth in muscle, 0% increase in VO2 and 3.9% increase in exercise until exhaustion time.

Study 3 – Participants in this study were put into four different groups: low intensity, low intensity with BFR, HIIT or HIIT plus BFR.

Important to note that the participants did not undertake the high intensity training whilst wearing BFR. On a training day they switched between types doing one set of HIIT, then one set of BFR.

 he study looked to track four potential physiological responses; VO2 Max, Power, Onset of Lacate Accumulation and Strength. Whilst all had some improvements, the low intensity BFR group was the only group to achieve positive results in all four.


Versatility of BFR

The above is just a very quick summary to show the science behind introducing BFR into your cycling program increase VO2 Max as well power and strength.

If you are interested in reading more, we encourage you to do your own research, the titles of the studies are provided below.

What these studies show is the versatility of The BFR Cuffs. No matter your fitness goal, The BFR Cuffs can help you get there.

Study details:
1. Conceição, Miguel S., et al “Augmented Anabolic Responses after 8-wk Cycling with Blood Flow Restriction” Medicine and science in sports and exercise (2019)

2. Abe, Takashi, et al. “Effects of Low-Intensity Cycle Training with Restricted Leg Blood Flow on Thigh Muscle Volume and VO2MAX in Young Men” Journal of Sports Science & Medicine (2010)

3. Oliveira, Mariana Fernandes Mendes de, et al. "Short‐term low‐intensity blood flow restricted interval training improves both aerobic fitness and muscle strength." Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports (2015).