If you’ve ever wondered how to use occlusion or blood restriction training to kick-start gaining bigger muscle sizes, keep reading. Here you’ll learn all about the science behind occlusion, its benefits and best practices.
What is Occlusion or Blood Restriction Training?
Occlusion, or in other words, blood restriction training, is a way of training with restricted blood flow of a working muscle. During occlusion training, the veins that supply the working muscles are contracted and the movement of blood is decreased.
Occlusion is an extremely effective training technique for gaining muscle mass.
The very term occlusion means a blockage, closure, or a barrier. That makes it easier to understand how occlusion/blood restrictive training works. Restricted blood flow makes muscles work harder, and gain strength quicker.
The Gear - Occlusion Bands
In order to apply occlusion or blood restriction training, you'll need specific equipment, namely Occlusion Bands.
Occlusion Bands are essential for this type of training. Reliable occlusion bands usually have clips for extra security and protection during training.
It'll be impossible to effectively attempt occlusion training without occlusion bands, since the effects of training with the bands just can't compare to other methods. Prepare to experience unparalleled muscle mass growth with this method.
Wondering how to use a pair of Occlusion Bands? Just place each around the top of your muscle and tighten around your arm or leg, securing the clips in place before starting your training.
The simple use has made them very popular and indispensable for bodybuilding.
Benefits of Occlusion or Blood Restriction Training
The main benefit of occlusion training is that you can get bigger muscles with lifting lighter weight in comparison to classical bodybuilding and weightlifting practice. This is something that bodybuilder beginners will rejoice at. Thanks to occlusion training you don’t need to lift enormous weight to gain a substantial amount of muscle mass. Due to restrictive blood flow, you can now lift less weight and still get more than satisfactory muscle growth.
The main benefits of occlusion training can be summarised here:
- Bodybuilder beginner-friendly training
- Not so intensive like hardcore bodybuilding
- Quicker effects with less effort than classical bodybuilding
Blood restriction training, as a form of muscle growth training, requires a warm-up and cool-down. A general and light warm-up is recommended, such as light cycling. Then, place your occlusion band properly start your first set of exercises with light weights. You can gradually increase the weights as you make progress. However, exercises with fewer weights will be also effective.
Also, you need to be aware that occlusion bands are not too loose neither too tight. You want to keep the blood from the veins in the working muscle, but you don’t want to cut the entire blood flow from the muscle. Don’t wrap the band to the point of numbness and that you have issues performing your exercises.
Make sure you don’t overdo the exercises. Everyday training might be a little too much, but training every two days gives muscles enough time to recover.
The Science Behind It
Numerous research has shown that blood restricted training can contribute to significant strength increase in muscles with less effort than traditional bodybuilding techniques. They may take longer to achieve than effects from classical bodybuilding, but effects are as equally permanent as with bodybuilding.
To better understand the science behind occlusion training, we’ll mention two different types of muscles. The muscle type 1 require oxygen as the main fuel for their work. They are not very active in blood restriction training. However, the muscle type 2 activate during this training, which is important, since they are larger muscle type.
Blood restriction in addition to lactic acid (which releases during the occlusion training) stimulates the type 2 muscles to engage and grow. Moreover, lactic acid stimulates growth hormones, which protect tendons and muscles.
This makes it easier for novices to start occlusion training, and the damages of muscles and tendons are less likely to happen.
Likewise, occlusion training helps tissue repair more quickly due to the healing effects of lactic acid and growth hormones.