There are many situations when patients experience loss of muscle mass and function, for example, after a sports injury, surgery, fracture or joint degeneration. Resistance training is known to be effective for strength training but is often not advised for these patients because of the increased injury risk. Low-load blood flow restriction training, however, has been found to cause beneficial responses in skeletal muscle while avoiding heavy loads. This article reviews blood flow restriction training, the theories about how it works and how to use it so that your patients can get stronger quicker. It is useful in a wide range of clinical applications including prehabilitation, rehabilitation after injury or postoperatively, as well as for athletes looking for those elusive marginal gains when the benefits from their current training programme seem to have plateaued. Register free below (or log in if you already have an account) and you can access the article key points and other related resources.
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Kathryn Thomas (BSc Physio, MPhil Sports Physiotherapy) is a physiotherapist with a Masters degree in Sports Physiotherapy from the Institute of Sports Science and University of Cape Town, South Africa. She graduated both her honours and Masters degrees Cum Laude, and with Deans awards. After graduating in 2000 Kathryn worked in sports practices focusing on musculoskeletal injuries and rehabilitation. She was contracted to work with the Dolphins Cricket team (county/provincial team) and The Sharks rugby teams (Super rugby). Kathryn has also worked and supervised physios at the annual Comrades Marathon and Amashova cycle races for many years. She has worked with elite athletes from different sporting disciplines such as hockey, athletics, swimming and tennis. She was a competitive athlete holding national and provincial colours for swimming, biathlon, athletics, and surf lifesaving, and has a passion for sports and exercise physiology. She has presented research at the annual American College of Sports Medicine congress in Baltimore, and at The South African Sports Medicine Association in 2000 and 2011. She is Co-Kinetic’s technical editor and has taken on responsibility for writing our new clinical review updates for practitioners.
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