In this BFR Bands review we’ll be taking a look at the most popular brand of occlusion training bands and discovering whether they should be an addition to your training equipment inventory. Spoiler alert: if your biceps or glutes aren’t bulging as much as you’d like, then you need to read this review.
BFR Bands Review
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While occlusion training has risen in popularity in recent years, there are many people who still don’t know what it is or why they may want to consider including it in their training regime.
If you are somebody who doesn’t know what occlusion training is, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
We recently published the ultimate guide to occlusion training and you should definitely check that out.
One of the most popular brands of inclusion training bands, or blood flow restriction bands as they are also known, is BFR Bands.
They have a simple range of bands which have proven to be very popular among customers. In this review we’ll find out whether the popularity is justified.
Features of BFR Bands
BFR bands are made from a nylon / elastic material. They are 2 inches wide which the manufacturer claims to be the optimal width for slowing blood flow but not cutting it off.
Again, if you’re wondering why on earth anybody would want to restrict blood flow to their arms when exercising – read our guide to this incredible method of training.
The bands feature a convenient clamping mechanism to keep the bands in place throughout exercise and they have an elastic hoop to secure the excess band and stop it flapping around.
Elastic who may sound like a minor feature, but owners of rival products that don’t have this feature complain of the discomfort and annoyance of having excess material getting in the way during exercise.
Handily, the bands feature number markings so that you can be sure you have each side set to the same level. Although if you are anything like me and suffer from quite pronounced asymmetry, the markings won’t be that much use.
The manufacturer generously includes a comprehensive occlusion training information brochure and workout program with every purchase. This could be very useful if you’re new to training.
BFR Bands Review
The first thing that strikes you about BFR Bands is that they are very well-made. The material of the band itself is sturdy and strong.
In terms of comfort, you have to be realistic with your expectations: you are seeking to restrict blood leaving your muscles which in itself is an uncomfortable sensation. So providing that you understand that you will find BFR Banda perfectly acceptable.
However, because of their width, BFR Bands stay in place during exercises such as bicep curls. For me, this constitutes comfort as there is nothing worse than trying to exercise and feeling that something isn’t quite in the right place.
The buckle/clamp on the bands is made of plastic and personally, I would’ve liked to have seen a metal buckle here. While the plastic buckle is perfectly robust, nothing beats metal in my opinion. It may be that the manufacturer deemed the additional cost of a metal buckle to be prohibitive – but it would be good to have the choice of a more premium version.
So that’s the part of review looking at what BFR Bands are, but now lets consider what they do.
Superpump with BFR Bands
You will never forget the first time you train with BFR Bands.
The pump is like nothing else you’ve ever experienced.
For years, I used creatine and found the pumps to be incredible. In fact, using creatine on leg day would leave me completely crippled the pumps were that severe. But even the effect of creatine is nothing compared to training with BFR Bands.
You may only be training with low weight (typically less than 20% of your 1 rep max) but the combination of high reps (typically 30 reps) and the BFR Bands means that you truly generate a superpump!
BFR Bands for Arms
The most obvious application for BFR Bands is arm training.
By wrapping the bands at the very top of the arm, blood flow out of the biceps and triceps is slowed down.
Bicep curls particularly bring out the best of occlusion training. The swelling of the bicep muscle becomes evident very quickly into your first set.
By the time your workout is complete, you will be shocked at how full and how pumped your biceps looks and feel.
It’s a similar story for triceps. The engorgement of blood into the three heads of the tricep will give a dramatic increase to the size of your arms during your workout.
Don’t be surprised if during an arm training session using BFR Bands you look in the mirror and find yourself asking, are those my arms?
BFR Bands for Glutes
I briefly mentioned training legs above and yes, squats and lunges performed whilst using BFR Bands will leave you with incredible pumps.
In fact, you’ll experience just as shocking results in your legs as you will with your arms. That makes sense given that both the arms and legs can have the bands placed at the top of each limb.
What I was surprised to find however is how effective they are for the glutes.
I had assumed that because the BFR Bands sit below the glutes they would not benefit from the reduced blood flow, but somehow it appears that they do.
I can’t explain the reason for this but what I can say is that I feel a pronounced activation in my glutes when performing my high rep squat and lunge routine.
What’s Good And What’s Bad About BFR Bands
- Relatively Cheap
- Excellent Quality
- Good Customer Service
- Clamp / Buckle Not Metal
- No Gauge of Tightness
BFR Bands Review: My Verdict
So there you have my full review of BFR Bands. I hardly need to say that I highly recommend them for all levels of fitness. BFR bands offer a cheap way to benefit from occlusion training and enable anybody to get most of the benefits of intense, heavy weightlifting, without the risks.
Whilst some people complain that the cost is high for what is effectively a strap and buckle, I believe they are completely missing the point.
With the added value of the workout plan and occlusion training information brochure that accompanies every purchase, I am happy to conclude that BFR Bands are the best occlusion training bands available for the money.
Whilst You’re Here
I hope you’ve found this review useful. If you have, why not have a look at some of these related articles:
If you’re here because you’re over the age of 60 and looking for ways to improve your fitness without lifting heavy weights, why not check out our guide to building muscle over the age of 60.
If my comments about creatine caught your attention and you want to know more, why not read our guide to the best creatine.