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Free 01-03-2020 01:35 PM

Blood Flow Restriction Training
Hi John, I was wondering if you have looked into Blood Flow Restriction Training (BFR also known as Kaatsu) and what your thoughts are on it. Here is a link to a new video that Dr. Mercola posted that explains what it is, and what the physiological effects are.

I was thinking it would be very interesting to use this tool in conjunction with DVR as well as bodyweight exercises. I don't think it would work as well with Isometrics, but I could be wrong. Anyway, I would appreciate your thoughts.

I wonder about the quality of the muscle that is developed in this manner, in comparison to that from conventional methods. I do think it makes a lot of sense for the elderly, and rehab due to the smaller amount of force required to get results.

John Peterson 01-03-2020 03:47 PM

Hello Free,

A few months ago Dr. Mercola was making reference to 'Blood Flow Restriction Training' and at the time I had been re-reading Sandford Bennett's 'Old Age: Its Cause and Prevention' as a resource for what I was then writing. On-Page 328 Bennett stated:


"To the celebrated athlete, C.A. Sampson, one of the world's strongmen and the rival of Sandow seems due credit of discovering that massage of the muscles during exercise greatly aids their development. The method employed by him was the application of strong elastic bands or straps, which he fastened tightly about his arms during his dumbbell exercise. The alternate pressure and relaxation of the bands as the muscles were contracted and relaxed made a very effective massage. He attributed his marvelous strength to this procedure.

After studying his methods, and the very logical reasons he advances in his book "Strength" for it I procured the elastic straps described and practiced according to his directions. The improvement that resulted was soon apparent, and it was evident that the system would affect all that it's author claimed for it, but the inconvenience of the device was such that I abandoned it. I substituted the exercise on page 327, using, instead of the elastic straps or bands simply the pressure of the hands clasped firmly over the upper arm which I massaged while using the dumbbell (4-pounds).

Development of the biceps and triceps muscles will be found to be very rapid by this system."

Free, I agree with you that this could be very effective but isn't it interesting that Bennett wrote the paragraphs above in 1912. Literally 108 years ago.

If you give it a try, please report to us your results.

---John Peterson

Free 01-04-2020 09:02 AM

Hi John, that is really fascinating.

I have been experimenting with this, but the main problem I am having is the complexity of the system, and process. I workout alone, and it seems like it is too difficult to do this by your self. To do it properly, you have to use equipment to determine the pressure at which you occlude the blood flow, on each individual limb, prior to each training session. Then put the cuffs on, and pressurize to 50% on the upper limbs, and 80% on the lower limbs, before exercising.

I am not a fan of too much complexity, which is one of the reasons I have been drawn to the methods taught here, and I am not interested in getting a personal trainer, which is really what I think is necessary to be able to use this technique safely and properly.

If you have any more detail on what you found in the writings of Bennett or others that might describe how this is achieved with just the hands, that would be ideal. I assume you would, somehow clasp one hand around the opposing muscle, while doing a single limb DVR, or both hands around the thigh while doing a single limb squat or lunge. I think I am going to see if I can figure out how to do this and how much pressure to apply. It is way more appealing to me than to have to get out these crazy complex pressurized cuffs and equipment.

John Peterson 01-04-2020 06:51 PM

Hello Free,

I agree with everything you are stating.

Bennett's book "Old Age: Its Cause and Prevention" is really an excellent book and well worth the time to read it.

BUT as relates to Blood Flow Restriction Training and all the complication that goes with it, I am totally with you.

NOT ONLY THAT but I also believe that it could have disastrous consequences in the wrong hands for people that apply the cuffs too long or too tightly and as a consequence could be the source of blood clots and other problems. Certainly there is nothing natural about this method of training.

One of the reasons that I mention Sandford Bennett is because he really did accomplish the seemingly impossible in the early 1900s by discovering how to rejuvenate muscle tissue to a very youthful extent through a series of exercises that are totally in line with what we teach here and have taught all along.

Bennett's method was all about rejuvenating muscle mass and achieving youthful elasticity in those muscles. He accomplished this by focusing on exercises that infused blood into the muscle tissue just as we have always promoted. Bennett's medical reports at 72 were amazing in terms of just how complete his rejuvenation truly was. At 72 he re-acquired a very youthful body. I believe that ALL of us can accomplish the same objective by eating good natural food, exercising our muscles for both strength and flexibility and learning how to de-stress.

---John Peterson

Free 01-05-2020 01:18 PM

Thanks John, I am going to continue to pursue this. I agree safety seems to be the primary concern. Here is Mercola's latest video, and the guys in the video seem to be very concerned with safety and have made their equipment with that in mind. I just ordered their system and will report back on my experience.

John Peterson 01-05-2020 09:44 PM

Hello Free,

Thank You. I hope every man reading this watches that entire video clip.

It was exceptional.

This is the kind of valuable information that can benefit everyone and I am grateful to you for placing it. I was especially amazed to hear what researchers were saying about the benefits of this type of training for helping insomniacs. Wouldn't it be a God-send if people suffering with sleep apnea and insomnia (in general) could get the help they need by utilizing this extraordinary drugless therapy and method.

The more I listened I couldn't help but think about how John McSweeney would have been all over this method for his Tiger Moves as well as Alois P Swoboda, considering what Swoboda stated his methods accomplished with blood flow by keep one's muscles as powerfully contracted as possible and periodically relaxing the tension to let the blood flow into the muscle. In fact, based on what is being stated in the clip from Dr. Mercola its easy to see why Sandford Bennett was sold on the benefits of Sampson's method using the strong elastic bands. Bennett said the only drawback was how cumbersome the apparatus was.

Another thing that I thought was amazing was Dr. Mercola's candor when he stated that you'd be far better off using weights that were 20% of your 1-rep max rather than 30% or 40%. That would literally mean using 30 pounds total if one was capable of doing a 1-rep maximum curl with 150 pounds. As he was saying that I was thinking about something George Jowett had stated in 'Un-Revealed Secrets of Man'. I couldn't help but wonder if Jowett was thinking about C.A. Sampson and had the BFR method in mind when he wrote the following:


George Jowett Quote:
Mental concentration is where thousands of bodybuilders fall; they fail to see the dividing line. Blindly they stagger about the road and fail to read the sign at the crossroads. Their case is a reminder of “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” You never saw a pitcher successfully curve a ball over the plate while arguing with the umpire. No, and you never saw a body culturist acquire the superstate of physical manhood with movements that lacked pep and a mind filled with “Gee whiz, how soon will I be done?” They are like the youngster learning music with his eyes on the clock.

Practicing a movement a hundred times or a thousand times will not get you anywhere, nor will pulling and hauling at a ton of iron. The more mental impulse you put behind an effort the less time is required. Movements become clockwork, too mechanical, and hauling a ton of metal is like praying to a bronze Buddha to hand you out a check for a million dollars.

Weight lifting is a sport like baseball or swimming. Your mind is centered on raising the object. In this take a lesson from the men who have acquired the most fame in feats of strength. They never used heavy weights, but dumb-bells light enough to supply them a certain amount of resistance, that did not interfere with their mental concentration. Likewise, they did not harness a set number of repetitions to each exercise, they allowed their physical condition to be the guide. As they became stronger the dumb-bells were increased slightly in weight, but never exceeded 25 pounds each. Not even for the huge muscles that form the broad of the back, or the quadriceps femoris-four head muscle-that comprises the bulk of the thigh. The success of their methods is proved by the marvelous demonstrations of strength they are capable of and by the beauty of their lordly body. As Coolidge put it, "It is not enough to teach men science; the greatest thing is to teach them how to use science."

The science of bodybuilding is the science of concentration between mind and muscle.

Seriously, the more I thought about it the more I realized that performing the 3-stage Isometric Contractions literally accomplish much he same objective as BFR as is obvious from the extraordinary 'pump' you achieve a result. I can't help but wonder what would happen if one applied BFR along with the 3-stage.

Finally, I thought about Dr. John Jaquish's Heavy Duty Latex Band Training. Free, is there any reason that I am not considering that would make Dr John Jaquish's 10-minute workouts with the super duty latex bands incompatible with BFR training? It would almost seem to be a perfect match considering what Jaquish says about pump one achieves with his method of one high rep set to the max. What Jaquish states is 100% in line with what Dr. Morehouse told me were the results of of experiments conducted at the Human Performance Laboratory at UCLA (for building mass 1 to

---John Peterson

P.S. Free, please do keep us informed about your results with BFR Training. This really may be one of the greatest advances in physical training history and if done intelligently it would be "all gain-no pain". Thanks again for posting it.

John Peterson 01-06-2020 09:41 AM

Hey Everyone,

You can't help but to like and admire Dr. Mercola. There is a part of the video in which Dr Mercola makes clear that he has tried the self applied bands that are something like $20 and that he liked them better because of their practicality and affordability for one and all. It was obvious that the Kaatsu people were somewhat distressed by Dr. Mercola's admission. Granted, he agreed that the self applied bands did not have adjustability of those you program with Kaatsu device. BUT c'mon friends its just like Isometrics at multiple angles within any given range of motion that are performed in the 3-stage sequence. The results are unreal and it costs nothing. My point is this: Kaatsu is a more refined method---I get that. BUT for a tiny fraction of the money you can achieve SUPERIOR RESULTS with the self adjusted bands. WHY? Because YOU will have to become intimately aware of when and how to apply them for maximum effectiveness.

It reminds of a time when I was a kid. My Grandmother's best friend Aunt Hilda was having a problem with mice. She tried everything including traps, poison, and what not. But she confessed that the problem was only getting worse. So Uncle Wally told her to get rid of the poison and traps and he went to a pet store and brought Aunt Hilda two of the most beautiful Siamese cats that you can imagine. He literally told her with great confidence, "All you have to do is feed these cats right and they'll be your friends and even get rid of your mice for you." So what's my point in telling you this Uncle Wally story? Simple, you could spend lots of money on a new and different 'Mouse trap' but why do that when your goal is easily within reach using self adjusting bands that are a tiny fraction of the price. The results relating to YOU will be far better because YOU will become intimately aware of how to use them rather than relying on someone else program.

---John Peterson

Free 01-06-2020 03:04 PM


Originally Posted by John Peterson (Post 111267)

Finally, I thought about Dr. John Jaquish's Heavy Duty Latex Band Training. Free, is there any reason that I am not considering that would make Dr John Jaquish's 10-minute workouts with the super duty latex bands incompatible with BFR training? It would almost seem to be a perfect match considering what Jaquish says about pump one achieves with his method of one high rep set to the max. What Jaquish states is 100% in line with what Dr. Morehouse told me were the results of of experiments conducted at the Human Performance Laboratory at UCLA (for building mass 1 to

---John Peterson

John, here are my thoughts and experience on what you are asking above. Since I have the X3 Band system, I can attest to the fact that, done with extreme mind/muscle focus, you can indeed get the intense workout described. However, when I add the inexpensive BFR bands and try to use the X3, I notice I am working way too hard, even with the lightest X3 band, to follow the BFR protocol. Pushing to 30 reps is a very intense thing to do with X3 on many of the exercises, and then to do a second or a third set, as is outlined with the BFR method, is really not workable, they are two entirely different intensities of training. Now, what I am doing, is similar to what was described in the interview with the special operations teams, who do their entire workout, and then use the BFR bands doing grappling moves etc. That seems to work perfectly doing the high intensity of X3, and following up with low intensity DVR, Flexing, Tiger moves etc, while wearing the BFR bands, is a perfect way to finish off the workout.

I also want to comment on what you have posted on Sampson, massaging the muscles during exercise, sounds a lot like what the Kaatsu device is doing in its cycle mode, where you are contracting the muscle, while the pressure is applied, and relaxing on the deflation part of the cycle. It would not be a stretch to consider you could achieve similar results, without equipment, but only if you have a supreme mind body connection, and know exactly what you are doing. One of the things I like to do, is reverse engineer things, which is why I am purchasing their device. Once I experience what it feels like to use their equipment, I feel confident I can re-create that physical sensation in the muscle, using my hands, or the inexpensive bands that are a lot more convenient.

John Peterson 01-06-2020 07:17 PM

Hey Free,

Thank You.

That whole video of Mercola's was awe-inspiring and I was amazed to hear how much the method decreased rehabilitation time or to say it another way, how much it accelerated the body's ability to rejuvenate tissue. Even more important than all of that was what Dr. Mercola stated about the benefits of enhanced blood flow to the brain. That really blew me away. Free, there were so many benefits to this particular training method that I don't think I have ever seen anything as wide-ranging in terms of benefits and I have a feeling that they have not come close to tapping into all of them.

The one thing I wanted to ask you about that has me just a little confused is that although I fully understand the extraordinary pump you would achieve by using the method with only about 20% of your one-rep maximum and doing high rep sets of 30 reps in the first set and going down from there is how this could equate to very real and dramatic increases in muscular strength. I'll put it another way. Let's say that a man is far stronger than average and can do a "real" strict curl with 50 pounds in each hand for his one-rep max with no cheating or compensating body movement. Following Dr. Mercola's 20% percent formula that would equate to using 10-pound dumbbells for doing curls. According to what Mercola states BFR simultaneously builds strength and endurance in the muscle fibers far beyond what conventional training would accomplish which would equate to the man above using a pair of 35-pound dumbbells for sets of 6 to 8 reps. I'm mentioning this because I could not help but see the parallel between the BFR 30 rep sets and what Dr. Jaquish was recommending in his single set to maximum fatigue. In essence, it seems as though Mercola and Jaquish are using different high rep approaches to achieve the same objective of maximized blood flow into the muscle that simultaneously flushes out toxins while delivering concentrated nutrients to the working muscles and hence accelerated growth. No matter how you cut it, this a completely different approach than using 3 to 5 sets of 6 to 8 reps as seems to be so widely advocated these days.

Now, as relates to Dr. Jaquish, I had no idea that Jaquish's method would be that intense. But, on the other hand, I saw him do a set of curls in one of his demonstration videos that looked like it went on for 35 or 40 consecutive reps (I didn't count) maybe even more. He was doing partial reps at the end of the clip and he looked as though he had given it his all. and I think you'll agree that the man has arms that look to be as big around as most men's thighs. I mention this because I can't imagine doing more than one set in the fashion that Dr. Jaquish demonstrated. He even indicated that he believed that with his resistance method that just one maximum set would be all that is ever necessary to achieve maximum results. As I watched him I couldn't help but think that what he was doing seemed to be inspired by the kind of reps and intensity that Dr. Morehouse was always recommending when I talked with him. As I watched the Jaquish video clip it was obvious that he was recruiting stabilizer muscles with the latex resistance bands to the extreme. The man was literally shaking. The latex bands that he was using looked tas though they were supplying a perfect level of resistance for him and the way his muscles were working looked much different than when someone is lifting weight resistance. He was doing curls until he couldn't do another complete rep and even he was in obvious discomfort at the end of the set. I don't think one could safely do what he was doing if one were using weights that have uniform resistance throughout the entire range. It's uncanny how he figured out what levels of intensity to create with his band training. He's really on to something with his method. Question: How long do you think the bands would last if someone were to be conscientious and take good care of them, kept them out of sunlight and maybe periodically cleaned the sweat off using a product like Armor All. Probably a very long time.

---John Peterson

Free 01-06-2020 08:06 PM

John, I seem to remember in the video they mentioned that the BFR bands will increase strength, but not as much as other methods, which is why I think it is good to use them in conjunction with something like Isometrics or X3. I believe the way they could benefit strength as well as mass, is the recruitment of the fast twitch muscle fibers due to the rapid fatigue of the slow twitch endurance fibers from the reduction in oxygen, and also the hormonal effects of the lactic acid retention. I am one who generally does not get much mass from resistance training, but I do get pretty strong. It will be interesting to see if I can gain some size, hopefully I will be able to eat enough food to support that kind of growth, that is my weakness.

Regarding the X3 bands, they are unlike any other resistance bands I have ever used. They are made of really heavy duty latex that is layered in a way that makes them incredibly strong, especially the wider bands. I just picked up the Orange band that is supposed to be 500lbs resistance, and I don't know if I am ever going to be strong enough to use it (you probably could) but it is motivating to have it. The bands kind of remind me of a fan belt in a car. I always roll mine up and put them away in a drawer when I am not using them, and so far they show no signs of wearing out. I got one of the earlier versions of the system and just got one of the newer versions and the new bar is really a nice improvement, as is the platform you stand on which used to be some sort of fiberboard, and now it is metal, so the whole thing is well made.

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