Building strength and adding size to the glutes is at the top of the agenda for many gym goes. But it’s easier said than done, and growing your booty may prove to be more difficult than anticipated. If you’ve been working hard at the gym and seeing little progress, it may be time to take your training to the next level.
Let’s introduce BFR aka blood flow restriction training! Also known as vascular occlusion training, this technique allows you to build muscle with lower intensity exercise. BFR training is gaining popularity in the fitness community, but what is it, and does it really work?
In this article, we’ll learn the basics of occlusion training, what benefits it provides, whether it’s suitable for everyone, and most importantly - how you can use BFR bands to enhance your workout and build your glutes!
|Table of Contents|
|What is blood flow restriction training|
|Benefits of blood flow restriction training|
|Is BFR suitable for everyone|
|BFR glute exercises|
|BFR training tips|
BFR training (also known as Occlusion training and KAATSU training) is an exercise method that involves restricting the blood flow of a muscle during an exercise. Specifically, BFR reduces arterial inflow and, more importantly, completely restricts venous outflow. (1) This method is achieved by using specific Occlusion cuffs or bands.
Blood flow restriction training allows you to receive the benefits of high-intensity exercise with much lower effort. The restriction results in higher metabolic stress, increased muscle activation, and muscle swelling. In other words, BFR training is proven to stimulate muscle growth. (2).
As a result, if your progress has hit a plateau, consider utilizing BFR cuffs to stimulate your glutes and increase gains. However, it’s important to consider that, although effective, this method isn’t suitable for everyone. Keep reading to learn whether BFR is a good option for you!
But before that, let’s learn the tangible benefits of Occlusion training. Keep in mind that it’s impossible to isolate any specific glute muscle with BFR bands. That’s not really an issue though – BFR bands are great for introducing a new stimulus to the entire glutes while the isolation work can be done afterwards.
To achieve the benefits of BFR training for the glutes, you need to target glute exercises while wearing the band high up on your thighs, just below the glutes.
If you’re training to build a nice big butt, you’ll be happy to know that BFR increases muscle mass, even in advanced athletes. A 2019 study found that blood flow restriction training results in muscle hypertrophy in professional powerlifters (3). If you’ve wondered whether Occlusion training produces results in a trained body, you’ve got an answer!
If your goals reach further than simply gaining mass, you’ll be happy to know that BFR training also increases muscle strength (4)! Strong glutes are so important for many reasons other than vanity. They protect you from injuries and improve your pelvic alignment, as well as your posture.
Even without occluding the glute muscles, you can gain impressive results by using BFR bands on your lower limbs. In turn, you’ll be able to perform better and train harder! Make sure to keep reading to find the best BFR glute exercises.
An important part of Occlusion training is reducing or preventing muscle weakness. BFR has been somewhat popular in the fitness culture for a while now. However, it’s slowly becoming more and more widespread in the medical community as well.
As mentioned, BFR training allows you to gain high-intensity results from low-intensity exercise. As a result, it’s a great rehabilitation for those with persistent muscle weaknesses due to trauma (5). Although this is of little interest to the weightlifting community, it’s very important to remember for gymgoers who shouldn’t practice high-intensity exercise, such as those suffering from chronic pain.
It could also be beneficial when coming back from an injury. Instead of jumping back into the heavy weights you’re used to lifting. Opting for BFR training can produce a similar stimulus, while not putting too much pressure on the affected area. The last thing we want to do is repeat the injury.
Unfortunately, BFR training is not suitable for everyone. A 2021 study found that the most common contraindications include a history of thrombosis, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and diabetes (6). Those affected have reported tingling, delayed muscle soreness, numbness, and excessive pain during exercise.
When it comes to personal health, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you are suffering from any condition that affects your physical health, we strongly recommend consulting a professional before beginning any new routine.
That being said, when done correctly, BFR training poses almost no risk to the safety of healthy individuals.
BFR training is suitable for a number of different popular glute building exercises. Whether you're using free weights, dedicated glute machines, or utilising cable exercises; BFR training can be implemented to upgrade the workout stimulus.
Popular exercises include:
Essentially BFR is a great way to place both the upper and lower glutes under new stress which can help drive muscle growth.
Other muscle building tips:
To sum up, blood flow restriction training (also known as occlusion training) is an exercise method that consists of restricting the blood flow of a specific muscle (or group). BFR increases the stress on the muscle, forcing it to work harder. The method results in increased muscle mass and strength with lower intensity exercise.
BFR training has been proven to work regardless of the current level of fitness; it is often used to rehabilitate patients suffering from muscle weakness, but it also shows results in professional powerlifters. Consequently, it’s a great technique to incorporate into your workout, whether you’re a beginner at the gym or an elite athlete.
It’s also important to note that you cannot occlude the glutes by themselves. However, utilizing BFR bands on your lower body does provide healthy muscle hypertrophy of the glutes. By incorporating BFR bands and our tips into your routine, you’ll add inches to the glutes in no time. Happy glute training!