Weight training and muscle growth is all about progressively overloading your muscles, the most common way that people do this is by lifting more weight. However, what if you could build more muscle mass by lifting less weight ? well it’s actually possible by using a technique known as occlusion training:
What Is Occlusion Training ?
Occlusion training involves restricting blood flow in the veins of the muscle you’re currently working to force gains in strength and size. It is also known as “blood flow restriction training” and this blockage is often caused by the use of bands, wraps or cuffs.
The Benefits Of Occlusion Training
- It increases growth hormone and IGF-1, in fact one study done in 1999 showed that growth hormone levels increased by 290 times in occlusion users.
- It can increase your 1 rep max.
- It allows the body to respond to low and medium levels of exercise intensity meaning that you’ll get the same muscle building benefits while lifting lighter weight (25-50% of your 1 rep max) as you would when lifting heavier weight (over 70% of your 1 rep max).
- It improves muscular hypertrophy, strength and size.
- It stimulates a massive release of anabolic growth factors, induces more production of protein due to the rapid accumulation of lactic acid and recruits more fast twitch muscle fibers.
- It can also increase the production of heat shock proteins, this protein helps transport other proteins across cell membranes to aid in cell repair.
How It Works
During occlusion training instead of letting your body flush all the metabolic products of exertion through the system, it keeps it all in one area so that your muscle cells will reach a point where they’re so full of fluid that they either have to explode or grow.
This is known as “metabolic accumulation” and because the oxygen levels are so low during this process it forces your body to recruit the larger type 2 fast twitch muscle fibers much earlier in the set resulting in more muscle growth.
How To Do It
Occlusion training is done by using a tool known as a KAATSU device, but the cheapest version costs more than $2000… So here’s a more practical way to work occlusion training into your routine:
This method has been proven to produce the same type of stimulation and muscle gains achieved with the KAATSU device, so you won’t be missing out on anything !
- Start by wrapping a strap, band or cuff around the top of the muscle you’re currently working at a pressure where you feel a rather uncomfortable blockage of blood. Make sure that you don’t any tighter than this because you only want to occlude the veins and not the arteries.
- Now choose a light load around 25-50% of your 1 rep max and begin your set with no more than 30 seconds of rest inbetween. Keep the reps between 15-30.
- Make sure that you don’t loosen the strap between sets since that’s what keeps the blood trapped in the particular muscle.
To sum up occlusion training has many benefits and is perfect for anyone who wants to gain more muscle mass/strength. Although it’s important to remember that occlusion training is just something extra and should not replace heavy lifting.
Lastly, if you have anymore questions about occlusion training then please feel free to leave a comment below.