T4C Podcast #40: Blood Flow Restriction Training for Climbers

T4C Podcast #40: Blood Flow Restriction Training for Climbers

In a departure from my usual lecture style podcasts, I'm happy to feature a guest on this month's T4C podcastDr. Tyler Nelson, a chiropractic physician and owner of Camp 4 Human Performance in Salt Lake City.

The focus of this podcast is Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) training. This training modality has been around for decades, but has only been recently popularized by some physiotherapists and coaches. Among climbers, perhaps no one is more knowledgable on this topic than Dr. Nelson. In this 40-minute interview we'll explore the different BFR training protocols, and how BFR training may be a beneficial intervention for injured and healthy climbers alike.

Listen to (or Download) Episode #40 on BFR Training Now!


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  • History of BFR and introduction into training in the USA.
  • The difference between "passive" and "active" BFR.
  • Ischemic preconditioning with passive BFRcomplete arterial occlusion for up to 5 minutes with no exercise or loading.
  • Keys for effective active BFR with intermittent loading:
  • 40% to 80% of arterial occlusion pressureor a subjective cuff tightness of 7 out of 10.
  • Resistance/loading of 20% to 40% of 1RM.
  • Protocol: 30 reps with first set, then 3 more sets of 15 reps with 30 seconds of rest between each set.
  • Perform 3 or 4 exercises per BFR session with 30 to 60 seconds between exercises. Fatigue larger muscles first, then smaller muscles.
  • Use BFR once or twice per week as an adjunct to regular training (for healthy climbers); or do up to 6 days per week, alternating upper-body and lower-body days, in the case of rehab from injury.


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