Building strong muscles with blood flow restrictions: A surprising way to fight aging

Credit: Unsplash+

Strength training is important for maintaining muscle mass and function as we age. However, heavy weights can pose a risk of injury, especially for older adults.

But what if there was a way to build muscles without lifting heavy weights?

Researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark have discovered a unique exercise technique called Low-load, Blood Flow Restricted Resistance Exercise (BFRRE), which could help reduce age-related muscle loss.

Let’s explore this fascinating study and learn how this exercise method can be beneficial for older adults.

Understanding Age-Related Muscle Loss

As we grow older, our muscles naturally tend to weaken and shrink.

This age-related muscle loss, known as sarcopenia, can lead to decreased mobility, balance problems, and increased risk of falls and fractures.

Maintaining muscle mass and function is crucial for overall health, independence, and quality of life as we age.

Introducing BFRRE

BFRRE is a form of strength training that involves partially restricting blood flow to the targeted muscle group using a pressure cuff.

This unique technique allows individuals to build muscle mass with lighter weights, reducing the risk of injury associated with heavy lifting.

The Study

To investigate the effects of BFRRE on older adults, researchers conducted a study with 23 healthy participants who were not regularly engaged in high-intensity physical activity.

The participants were divided into two groups: the exercise group and the control group.

The BFRRE Program

The exercise group participated in a six-week BFRRE program, while the control group maintained their usual daily activities.

During the BFRRE sessions, the exercise group performed bilateral knee extensions until they felt fatigued. The weight load was set at 30% of each person’s maximum capacity and adjusted as needed throughout the study.

Additionally, personalized levels of blood-flow-restricting pressure were applied to each participant.

Positive Results

After the six-week program, both groups were evaluated for muscle strength, endurance, and body composition.

The exercise group showed significant improvements in various measures of muscle strength, endurance, and walking capacity.

Biopsies of the participants’ thigh muscles revealed an increase in the size of both slow- and fast-twitch muscle fibers. On the other hand, the control group did not experience any such changes.

The Potential Benefits of BFRRE

The findings of this study indicate that BFRRE could be an effective strategy for combating age-related muscle decay.

What makes it even more remarkable is that these positive results were achieved with a modest exercise volume and in a very time-efficient manner.

BFRRE sessions typically lasted less than seven minutes, making it a convenient option for older adults with busy schedules.


BFRRE presents an innovative and potentially beneficial exercise method for older adults to maintain muscle mass and function.

By using this technique, individuals can build strength and endurance without the need for heavy weights, reducing the risk of injuries.

Further research is needed to explore the long-term effects and safety of BFRRE, but the initial findings are promising.

So, if you’re looking for a way to stay strong and defy the effects of aging, give BFRRE a try under proper guidance and supervision.

If you care about health, please read studies that zinc could help reduce COVID-19 infection risk, and this plant nutrient could help reduce high blood pressure.

For more information about health, please see recent studies that olive oil may help you live longer, and vitamin D could help lower the risk of autoimmune diseases.

The study was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Copyright © 2023 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.