Restricted blood flow therapy offers unique way to get in shape fast

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (KABC) -- Freddy Wexler wanted to be a better runner so he tried a technique that's gaining some traction in the fitness community.

"It feels like you're lifting more than you could ever do. But you do it and you feel like your legs are going to explode when you're done. But then you feel fine. Your legs feel like you've walked up 500 flights of stairs," said Wexler, a Los Angeles resident who just tried blood flow restriction training.

It's not only good for your normal Jane and Joe, it's also good for athletes and the elderly and beyond athletes, it's been used for war vets who've lost limbs.

"We put the blood pressure cuff on the upper arm or the leg, depending on what area we're training," said Karen Joubert, doctor of physical therapy.

Joubert found out about the treatment from a physical therapist who was the head of the limb salvage program for wounded warriors from Iraq.

So she used restricted blood flow training that was used in Europe.

"It was so successful, fast forward to now - it has revolutionized the way we strength train," Joubert said.

Using a medical grade blood pressure cuff a trained therapist first establishes a base line resting blood pressure.

The cuff is used on a particular muscle, three sets using low or no weight.

"What it does is it cuts off the arterial flow in the venous output. So it generates a lactic acid production," Joubert said.

An increase of lactic acid means increased metabolic activity, increasing growth hormones and muscle strength at a faster rate with minimal soreness.

"It's not for every single time you workout or on every single muscle on every single movement. Know when to apply it and you can really benefit from it, for sure," personal trainer Gunnar Peterson said.

It isn't typically used on diabetics, those who are pregnant, or who have a history of blood clots, tumors or wearing a pace maker. Joubert said a doctor's okay is recommended.

Her protocol is two to three times a week for 10 weeks. At Joubert Physical Therapy a session is $75.
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