NEW RESEARCH: BLOOD FLOW RESTRICTION (BFR) TRAINING and Betaine for Enhanced Muscle Growth
Muscular Development|March 2021
Synergy is a phenomenon that occurs when combining one stimulus with another causes an effect greater than either stimuli alone. In other words, one plus one is somehow greater than two.
Michael J. Rudolph
The counterintuitive outcome from the synergistic effect makes it seem almost magical. Yet, the truth is, the synergistic effect can typically be understood when each stimulus triggers a similar influence that when combined provides a relatively superior impact. Recent scientific evidence indicates blood flow restriction (BFR) training combined with betaine supplementation possesses this seemingly mystical synergistic effect on muscle tissue resulting in remarkable muscle growth and strength.1 Since both betaine and BFR individually promote fluid influx into the muscle cell causing the muscle cell to swell, which ultimately boosts lean body mass and strength, a combination of both BFR and betaine should promote even more muscle swelling for greater synergistic gains in lean body mass and strength. Moreover, employing BFR training with betaine supplementation should provide greater strength and muscle mass while lifting considerably lighter loads than typically required for maximal strength and size gains. Taken together, the ability to considerably increase size and strength with lighter weight provides an excellent alternative training approach that minimizes risk of injury while providing a resistance training protocol for the elderly, who normally do not lift heavy weights.

Proper BFR Training Is Safe and Effective

Proper BFR training is typically accomplished by wrapping either elbow or knee straps just above the muscle you want to train without wrapping too tightly, as you must not completely occlude blood flow for safety reasons. For the standard approach to BFR training, it is necessary to keep the wraps on for the entire exercise, providing ample time to trigger the biochemical and physiological effects that strongly augment muscle growth without occluding blood flow for more than 20 minutes in total. Typically, four to five sets are performed at roughly 20 to 30 percent of your one-repetition maximum (1RM) with at least the last few sets taken to muscular failure2,3, all while resting less than one minute between sets. It is also very important not to exceed 50 percent of your 1RM, as heavier weights seem to defeat the BFR influence, mitigating any beneficial results from this form of training.

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