Ever wonder if it’s possible to build muscle mass by lifting less weight? And if there was, would it be something you might want to try? If the answer is yes then strap yourself in for an effective technique known as occlusion training.
Occlusion training is the act of causing a blockage of blood to the muscle groups being exercised with the use of cuffs, bands, or wraps. The term “occlusion” has a literal definition of “a closure or blockage.” If you want to do more reading on this topic – it is also referred to as blood flow restriction training.
The main benefit of occlusion training is that it allows the body to respond to low level intensity exercise – best used for fat loss – in the same way it does to moderate intensity exercise best used for muscle gain.
This means you can get the same muscle building benefits while lifting lighter weight as you would by lifting heavier weight. The reason this is important for you is that allows us to develop your legs and glutes without putting excessive strain on the knees.
Studies have shown that for muscle growth during conventional training, you need to use heavy weights (over 65% of your 1RM). However, occlusion training with lighter weights (20 -50% of 1RM) has shown to achieve muscle & strength gains comparable to conventional training with heavier weights (around 80% 1RM).
How to do it?
You will need to purchase some blood flow restriction bands – you can find these anywhere online for not very expensive usually around $20 or so (we have found the best place to buy them from is here).
Once they arrive you will tighten these around the entry area of where the relevant muscle would be getting blood flow.
So, for your quads/hamstrings which is going to be our main target of use for these, you tighten the bands right at the top of your leg near your groin where blood would be getting pumped through your main leg arteries.
You don’t want the bands so tight that you are in pain, but you want to be able to feel the tightness and that blood is not entering your leg as it usually would be. You will perform the whole amount of sets with the bands on the leg and only loosen at the end of all the sets being completed.
The burn should get compressively worse as you work through your sets and you will feel your muscles get a ridiculously good pump!