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Occlusion training for lagging muscles

Occlusion training or, blood flow restriction training, has been proven to stimulate hypertrophy, (muscle building) in localised muscle tissue. The basic idea is that we restrict blood flow out of the muscle whilst training with light weights at the end of the workout. By restricting blood flow out of the muscle we increase metabolic stress to the tissue and therefore stimulate one of the key mechanisms of hypertrophy. Because of the extra blood and fluid in the muscle it may also stretch the surrounding fascia, encouraging further growth potential.

Occlusion training is restricted to certain muscle groups such as the upper arms and forearms and thighs and calves. The  occlusion video shows how I have used knee wraps as occlusions for arm training. The occlusions should be no more than 2 inches from top to bottom as not to restrict arterial flow (blood into the muscle). Although it appears the occlusions I’m using are larger than that, the main restriction is coming from an elasticated band at the end of the wraps, not the wraps themselves.

A basic protocol would be:

  • To do your normal workout for a particular body part
  • Place occlusions at the proximal side of the muscle 
  • Do 3 – 5 sets of low weight (about 30% of your 1 Rep max) with the occlusions on
  • Work each set to failure and have 30 seconds rest between each set
  • Reps should be in the range of 12 – 25.

Have fun!