BFR Radio
BFR after Knee Surgery  - improved muscle strength, size & function in 12 sessions

BFR after Knee Surgery - improved muscle strength, size & function in 12 sessions

November 12, 2020

Welcome back to this month's episode.


It's been a busy couple of months and so firstly a few updates.

1. Valve upgrade - from a product viewpoint, I have upgraded the valve connectors and I have been getting positive reviews and these are much more preferable from my customers. All products from now on will be supplied with this. If you want to upgrade your valves please contact me via my website and I we can discuss how we can make this happen.

2. Online strength & conditioning programming - over the COVID period I increased the amount of online clients and have really enjoyed it. So it you want a personalised training program from BFR specific, rehab, general fitness & strength or elite performance please contact me.


When I started to prep for this article, I started to think that this would be best served as a small series of paper reviews which highlight the many ways you can utilise BFR around a knee operation. The first episode will highlight how beneficial the inclusion of 12 sessions post knee arthroscopy can be around improving muscle size, strength & function. 


The article I review is: 

Blood flow restriction training after knee arthroscopy: a randomized controlled pilot study

Tennent, D. J., Hylden, C. M., Johnson, A. E., Burns, T. C., Wilken, J. M., & Owens, J. G. (2017). Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 27(3), 245-252.

What I enjoy about these papers is how simple the intervention are and how beneficial it is.

And across the spectrum of everyone, the advantage of BFR is that is portable and can be done anywhere. Also with restrictions to gym access during the COVID period, this furthermore plays a great advantage to putting BFR into your rehab program.


If you are looking to purchase your own set of cuffs or want more information please visit my website at


Thanks for listening and see you next month.


BFR for Ballet, Back Rehab & Biking - interview with Tony Lewis

BFR for Ballet, Back Rehab & Biking - interview with Tony Lewis

September 4, 2020

Thanks for tuning into this month's episode.

I hope you enjoyed last month's podcast where I discussed a new training concept that I have been utilising. The results were absolutely surprising so in the mean time I've been working on a heavy load Isometric + BFR training program. I've just finished the testing for that 7 week training block so I'll have them to you all soon. Again I think you'll be surprised.

Onto this month's episode and a quick update around my product. I am about to update the valves which is a really nice touch to the product. The final function isn't any different but it's definitely is a good addition to the product.

In today's interview, I talk to S&C coach Tony Lewis. We both live in the same town (Brisbane) but more interestingly we were both born and grew up in the same town of Ayr (small farming town in North Queensland). 

I primarily got Tony on to talk about his work with BFR in ballet but he had lots of really interesting uses for BFR in other facets of his work. I am sure you'll get something out of our chat.

A little about Tony:

  • Like every kid in town, I played whatever sports were happening at that time.
  • Started dancing in 1984
  • Moved to Melbourne in 1986 to study full-time dance for 4 years
  • After graduating from the Australian Ballet School, worked with the Australian Ballet for a short period before moving to Europe, where he danced professionally for 3 years.
  • 1993 - offered a position with Queensland Ballet
  • 2003 -  retired from Queensland Ballet as a Principal Artist 
  • 2004 - started working full-time in the fitness industry
  • 2010 - started my own training business
  • 2014 - Strength Coach with the Queensland Ballet Academy
  • 2016 - Strength Coach for the Queensland Ballet Company.
  • 2020 - continue to learn, run my own business and work for the Queensland Ballet and the Academy.


If you want to contact him give him a follow or get to him via the following:






For more information or to buy your own set of BFR cuffs please visit my website


Thanks for listening.



BFR, Isometrics and lifting light weights for performance - is it time for a paradigm shift?

BFR, Isometrics and lifting light weights for performance - is it time for a paradigm shift?

August 10, 2020

Hi there and welcome to this month's episode.

The last 12 weeks I've been exploring a strength training concept that incorporates "at-home" Isometrics whilst using a combination of light loads and Blood Flow Restriction.
This training block has coincided with the COVID gym shutdown period and so I thought it was the best time to trial my concept. In particular the lockdown period has seen limited access to proper gym facilities.  Perhaps one of the best "at-home" training concepts that would give an athletic performance benefit is Isometric training. There is a lot of good information about Isometric training at present and if you are looking for good presentations, you can't go past anything from leading from S&C coach Alex Natera (
I also suggest reading the book Special Strength Training Manual for Coaches by author and coach Yuri Verkhoshansky. His section on Isometric training is another great resource. In particular he advocated the addition of Isometric training with the high external loads. However for those who have limited access to this (especially during the gym shutdown period) is problematic. And this is where I see Blood Flow Restriction playing it part as a proxy for high external loads. 
Therefore I want to put my theory to the test by creating a progressive training program that could be done at home with limited weight which incorporated both Isometrics and Blood Flow Restriction. As an overview I trained with a maximum of 40kg weight. I added external training stress through the addition of lifting bands and BFR. I also used plyometrics as a superset and progressed these exercises across the 12-week training period.  
I've quite an extensive battery of tests to monitor my progress and the results are quite surprising. 
This month's podcast therefore goes through my concept from the training framework, structure, session examples through to the results.  If you want to see some videos you can watch a similar presentation on my Youtube channel ( or alternatively my Instagram has a lot of training video examples (
If you know of someone who can benefit from this please share and if you want to know more remember to check out my full length video.
To order your own set of BFR cuffs please visit my website
Thanks for listening and see you next month.
Blood Flow Restriction in elite sport with David Young - Lead S&C for Australia Women’s Rowing Team.

Blood Flow Restriction in elite sport with David Young - Lead S&C for Australia Women’s Rowing Team.

July 7, 2020

Welcome to this month's episode of BFR Radio. 

In exciting news, gyms are back open!

During the COVID period a lot of people may not have had all of the equipment necessary for "traditional" strength training. So during the COVID period  I challenged myself away from more traditional high load lifting to create a hybrid strength program that worked around the constraints of not having access to lots of weight. The program involved combining  low load training (the max I lifted was 40kg). As I knew that this would be enough external load, I delved into my bag of tricks and used the addition of Isometrics (use of a tie down strap), lifting bands, Blood Flow restriction and Plyometric exercises with a goal to improve athlete performance.

As I‘ve always advocated, there is no substitute for higher external load (i.e. mechanical stress) and therefore the addition of bands and isometric straps provided an additional external loading with the “minimal equipment” challenge and then the addition of BFR was using metabolic stress as a proxy for the mechanical stress that was missing.  I’ve been collecting both upper and lower body testing for a few months that has actually predated me even starting this type of training so my preliminary findings are quite interesting. Once I’ve put them together I’ll share with you the results.


In other BFR work, I’ve been working on BFR use framework. Consequently I’ve been increasing my literature reading. There is so much is so many different areas, so if there is anything of particular interest that you want to hear on the podcast let me know and I’ll review those papers.


Today’s guest is NSWIS Senior Coach, David Young who is the lead S&C coach for the Women’s national rowing team based out of Penrith in NSW. As I usually preview a paper before we go into this segment, I actually wished I’d waited for the Rowing Paper I reviewed a few episodes ago. With the information that David will share with us today, I feel that we could have really had a BFR rowing special. And add last month's episode review from Sam Halley on the effects of IPC on kayaking performance (with a potential for it to transfer to rowing performance) then this would have been a really sports specific episode. 

I am sure you'll get a lot out of today's episode. David brings a wealth of coaching experience and he really brings some good practical take-aways for BFR use in an elite training environment.

Some more information:

David is a Senior S&C Coach with the New South Wales Institute of Sport, having previously worked at both the English Institute of Sport and the Sports Council for Wales. During his 16 years in High Performance Sport David has worked across a wide range of Olympic and Commonwealth sports. Since 2006, he has worked with rowing programs in the UK and Australia, being fortunate enough to support athletes to numerous World, Olympic and Paralympic medals. 

His current role sees him deliver S&C services to Rowing Australia’s Hancock Prospecting Women’s National Training Centre based in Penrith. David has a Master’s degree from the University of Sydney and ongoing industry accreditations with the ASCA, UKSCA and NSCA.

Contact him via LinkedIn or via email:

For more information or to order your own set of BFR cuffs please visit my website:

Thanks for next listening and see you next month.



Ischemic Preconditioning - what is it and how it can help improve your performance with Sam Halley PhD.

Ischemic Preconditioning - what is it and how it can help improve your performance with Sam Halley PhD.

June 15, 2020

Thanks for joining in for this month's episode. 

In this episode I am joined by Sam Halley who hopefully by the time this episode airs should have officially completed and be awarded his PhD. His PhD focused on the area of Ischemic Preconditioning (IPC) and this podcast will essentially be 2 parts.

The first section revisits what IPC is, what this means for exercise performance and some of his own work looking at the effect of IPC on nqurmusucalr function during intense exercise. The second part takes the concept of IPC into the real world of sporting performance. It looks at how the application of IPC on kayak 1000m performance.

The advantage of IPC is that it is a passive intervention that comprises of three to four 5 minute alternating cycles of blood flow occlusion and reperfusion across limbs. Exercise performance trials have demonstrated small, albeit inconsistent, ergogenic effects during aerobic and exhaustive tasks. His work with kayak athletes is well worth the listen.

We also discuss how this type of intervention could be of benefit with other athletes and in particular he highlights the potential for big-wave surfers and swimmers. Sam covers a lot in this podcast with a lot of practical take-aways.

If you want to contact him, his details are:



Researchgate: Sam Halley

I hope you enjoyed this episode. 

For more information or to order your own set of BFR cuffs please visit my website:


BFR and Spinal Cord Injuries - improving daily function through to elite sporting performance (Guest - ParaOlympian Sam Tait)

BFR and Spinal Cord Injuries - improving daily function through to elite sporting performance (Guest - ParaOlympian Sam Tait)

May 22, 2020

Hi everyone,

This month is jam packed full of great information. From a general training viewpoint, in Australia we are starting to see an ease of COVID-19 restrictions and this result in being able to access indoor training and gym facilities. It is therefore important to reload the body sensibly over the next month. For those who don't currently have access to sufficient training facilities (i.e. strength equipment) his is where I see BFR can be a good training addition.

Today's guest is ParaOlympian Sam Tait who I was suggested to get onto the podcast by a previous guest and Sam's S&C coach, Kelly Beahan. Sam is a complete T10 paraplegic and is an elite athlete who competes in the winter-based sport of sit skiing. Sam competed at the 2018 Winter Paralympics where he came 11th in downhill and a year later competed at the 2019 World Championships and finished 6th in downhill. Through Kelly's guidance, Sam really uses BFR to its full potential. His story is great so I thank him again for coming onto the podcast.

You can check what he is up to via:



Also, check out Kelly Beahan who has been instrumental in helping with his physical preparation: Instagram:

As I was putting this episode together ad trying to find relevant articles, I felt it was themed around Spinal Cord Injuries. Although I couldn't find an article that was sporting related, I did find one that was related to general function and felt this may provide some useful information and ideas for those who have spinal cord injuries and rehab specialists.

The article I review is: 

Electrical Stimulation and Blood Flow Restriction Increase Wrist Extensor Cross-Sectional Area and Flow Meditated Dilatation Following Spinal Cord Injury

Affiliations expand


Purpose: To examine the effects of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) and blood flow restricted (BFR) exercise on wrist extensors cross-sectional area (CSA), torque and hand functions compared NMES only in individuals with incomplete tetraplegia. The acute effect of an acute bout of NMES with BFR on flow mediated dilation (FMD) was compared with BFR only.

This is a great article that if you are interested in knowing more about to go and download it. 

As I am talking about Spinal Cord Injuries, I thought it was also useful to highlight contraindications and indications to BFR. There is a fantastic article that I refer to here:

Key considerations when conducting KAATSU training

International Journal of KAATSU   - 2011 Volume 7 Issue 1 Pages 1-6

T. NakajimaT. MoritaY. Sato

KAATSU training delivers a more thorough methodology and this article highlights that you can include BFR in those with Spinal Cord Injuries.
I hope you enjoy this episode and if you have any questions or want to purchase your own set of BFR cuffs, please reach out to me via my socials

Thanks for listening.



BFR - Pain Relief, Performance training and a World Record with Jacinta Carroll

BFR - Pain Relief, Performance training and a World Record with Jacinta Carroll

April 21, 2020

Hi there.

I hope everyone is doing well. With the current COVID-19 situation we are all in, I feel that BFR is placed really well for everyone irrespective of whether you are performing injury rehab or training for elite athletic performance. There is a lot of evidence that it is a great training tool is both of these scenarios.

This brings me to today's episode and it is over 12 months in the making. I get straight into "How you do BFR" with Jacinta Carroll. She brings a fantastic story and has multiple stories of how to use it in both an injury and performance sporting environment. I feel words don't do her justice to her CV but aside from being an elite athlete in two sports, a world record holder in one of them and a Physiotherapist, her interview is jam packed full of great applications of BFR.

A quick snapshot of her career so far:

  • 4 x world champion in Waterski Jumping (Currently undefeated for the last 40 international pro tour stops).
  • Ranked 2nd in the 59kg division got Olympic Weightlifting in Australia.


  • Full time physiotherapist.

    • Currently studying Masters of Sports Physiotherapy.

You can follow her journey on instagram: @jacintacarroll and if you like her bikinis checkout her swimwear sponsor: @finkitaswimwear


If you are interested in starting Blood Flow Restriction go straight to my website ( to purchase your own set.

Thanks for listening.

Improve your Rowing performance by using this simple BFR intervention.

Improve your Rowing performance by using this simple BFR intervention.

March 9, 2020

Hi there and welcome to this month's episode.

In this article review I look at a recent paper that investigated the use of Blood Flow Restriction cuffs whilst rowing at low intensities to improve aerobic (VO2max) capacity in elite rowing athletes. There is growing evidence in using Blood Flow Restriction during low intensity exercise (i.e. jogging, cycling and now rowing) whilst performing sport specific movement to improve performance parameters.

The other interesting point in this article is that they used elite athletes. The ability to improve performance in elite athletes is difficult and therefore the results that they showed in this article provides a great reason to look towards finding ways to incorporate BFR into athlete's training programming.

So whether you are a rower or an athlete looking to improve your aerobic I feel that there is definitely a place for including Blood Flow Restriction into your training. As per the article, it BFR was added during their low intensity exercise sessions making it an easy addition to your own training. 

For more information about BFR or to purchase your own set of occlusion training cuffs please come over to my website

Thanks for listening.

For more information on the article:

Low intensity rowing with blood flow restriction over 5 weeks increases V̇O2max in elite rowers: A randomized controlled trial.

J Sci Med Sport. 2020 Mar;23(3):304-308. Epub 2019 Oct 15.



The present randomized controlled intervention study examined the effects of practical blood flow restriction (pBFR) on maximal oxygen uptake (V̇O2max) during low intensity rowing.


Thirty-one elite rowers were either assigned to the intervention (INT) or control (CON) group, using the minimization method (Strata: Gender, Age, Height, V̇O2max).


While INT (n=16; 4 female, 12 male, 21.9±3.2 years, 180.4±8.7cm, 73.6±10.9kg, V̇O2max: 63.0±7.9ml/min/kg) used pBFR during boat- and indoor-rowing training, CON (n=15, 4 female, 11 male, 21.7±3.7 years, 180.7±8.1cm, 72.5±12.1kg, V̇O2max: 63.2±8.5ml/min/kg) completed the identical training without pBFR. pBFR of the lower limb was applied via customized elastic wraps. Training took place three times a week over 5 weeks (accumulated net pBFR: 60min/week; occlusion per session: 2-times 10min/session) and was used exclusively at low intensities (<2mmol/L). A spiroergometric ramp test (V̇O2max; 30-40W/min increase) on rowing-ergometer and one-repetition maximum test of the squat exercise (SQ1RM) was employed to assess endurance and strength capacity.


Significant group×time interactions (ηp²=0.26) in favor of INT were found for V̇O2max (+9.1±6.2%, Effect Size=1.3) compared to CON (+2.5±6.1%, ES=0.3). SQ1RM (ηp²=0.01) was not affected by the pBFR intervention.


This study revealed that 15 sessions of pBFR application with a cumulative total pBFR load of 5h over a 5 weeksmacrocycle remarkably increased V̇O2max. Thus, pBFR might serve as a promising means to improve aerobic capacity in highly trained elite rowers.

Repairing skeletal muscle - regenerative potential of BFR on skeletal muscle stem cells

Repairing skeletal muscle - regenerative potential of BFR on skeletal muscle stem cells

February 18, 2020

Hi there and thanks for tuning in for this month's episode.

Today's topic is actually a request from one of our follower listeners (thanks Dann) who wanted to hear about the role of BFR and muscle stems cells. The topic of muscle stem cells alone is fascinating where stem cells are present in skeletal muscle tissue and they can self-renew and are capable of giving rise to skeletal muscle cells. Stem cells are activated in response to muscle injury to regenerate damaged muscle tissue. So whether we are talking about general or athletic populations, the ability to activate or enhance muscle stem cell response around injury has fantastic implication for recovery.

As it worked out, I had an article in mind. I also try to explain some of the terms used in the paper to make it easy for you all to understand.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did reviewing it. If you have any other topics of particular interest please comment through my pod bean account, website or social media (@chrisgaviglio).

The paper I review is:

Proliferation of myogenic stem cells in human skeletal muscle in response to low-load resistance training with blood flow restriction.

J Physiol. 2012 Sep 1;590(17):4351-61. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2012.237008. Epub 2012 Jul 16.
Low load BFR training and achilles tendon adaptations - an alternative to high load training

Low load BFR training and achilles tendon adaptations - an alternative to high load training

January 28, 2020

Happy New Year everyone.

Today's podcast looks into low load BFR training and achilles tendons. This is quite an exciting paper due to the positive effects of Blood Flow Restriction training with tendon adaptation. Previously only high load strength training has shown positive responses to tendon so this is a great result for what BFR can bring to the user - i.e. we can finally use low load training to elicit a tendon response (with the addition of BFR).

The other advantage of this session was how simple it was. There was a couple of points that I feel are quite important to note. Firstly, it was a 14-week training intervention. Typically a lot of academic studies are of 4-6weeks in lengths and probably this is why previous studies may not have shown positive training responses. The other point, was an incremental loading protocol - although the loads were still low (20-35% 1RM) every 4 weeks the load was increased by 5% and the subjects' max strength was reassessed and readjusted. This highlights that the body needs a continual increase in strength, even if we are using low-load BFR training. Therefore we can start to look at bringing this type of training to an "at-home" situation providing a simple solution for everyone.

This same principle for other tendons (esp. shoulder and patella) I feel can also be applied. I've had great success with tendon issues acutely and this paper highlights that a longer (14 week) approach to tendon adaptation is needed.

The article I review today is:

Low-load blood flow restriction training induces similar morphological and mechanical Achilles tendon adaptations compared with high-load resistance training.

J Appl Physiol 2019 Dec 1;127(6):1660-1667. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00602.2019. Epub 2019 Nov 14.


Low-load blood flow restriction (LL-BFR) training has gained increasing interest in the scientific community by demonstrating that increases in muscle mass and strength are comparable to conventional high-load (HL) resistance training. Although adaptations on the muscular level are well documented, there is little evidence on how LL-BFR training affects human myotendinous properties.

Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate morphological and mechanical Achilles tendon adaptations after 14 wk of strength training. Fifty-five male volunteers (27.9 ± 5.1 yr) were randomly allocated into the following three groups: LL-BFR [20-35% of one-repetition maximum (1RM)], HL (70-85% 1RM), or a nonexercising control (CON) group.

The LL-BFR and HL groups completed a resistance training program for 14 wk, and tendon morphology, mechanical as well as material properties, and muscle cross-sectional area (CSA) and isometric strength were assessed before and after the intervention. Both HL (+40.7%) and LL-BFR (+36.1%) training induced significant increases in tendon stiffness (P < 0.05) as well as tendon CSA (HL: +4.6%, LL-BFR: +7.8%, P < 0.001). These changes were comparable between groups without significant changes in Young's modulus.

Furthermore, gastrocnemius medialis muscle CSA and plantar flexor strength significantly increased in both training groups (P < 0.05), whereas the CON group did not show significant changes in any of the evaluated parameters.

In conclusion, the adaptive change in Achilles tendon properties following low-load resistance training with partial vascular occlusion appears comparable to that evoked by high-load resistance training.NEW & 

Before you go and listen to the podcast could I ask a couple of favours:

1. If you know of someone who is suffering from achilles tendon issues please get them to listen to this podcast.

2. If you are enjoying the podcast please give it a positive rating on iTunes.


Thanks for listening.


In the methods, there was a couple of points around how Tendon properties was calculated and I mentioned that I would put it in the notes:

How did they measure Tendon Stiffness?

To assess tendon stiffness, elongation of the Achilles tendon was determined during ramped isometric contractions by B-mode US scans at 100 Hz at the gastrocnemius medialis myotendinous junction

After familiarization with the procedure and preconditioning of the tendon with five trials at 80% of MVC, participants were instructed to steadily exert torque to their individual maximum with a standardized loading rate of 50 Nm/s. This loading rate was chosen because it resulted in a ramped isometric plantar-flexion contraction lasting between 3 and 5 s for all subjects. During this process, visual online feedback of the torque signal was provided. Achilles tendon force was calculated by dividing plantar flexion torque by the tendon moment arm with a subsequent correction for ankle joint rotation by kinematic data

Tendon moment arm was calculated by measuring the perpendicular distance from the inferior tip of both medial (L1) and lateral (L2) malleolus (center of rotation) to the posterior part of the Achilles tendon. For this purpose pictures were taken from the medial and lateral sagittal planes (Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 Digital Camera). In accordance with previous studies, the mean of these two measurements (L1,2) was used for further calculations. Subsequently, the intersection of L1 and L2 was indicated with a needle and the perpendicular distance (M) from the needle to the tendon’s line of action was measured (32). Tendon moment arm was then determined by subtracting M from L1,2 (for detailed descriptions see Refs. 32 and 50). All analyses were conducted with ImageJ (1.51; NIH).

Tendon stiffness was then calculated as the slope of the force-elongation curve between 50% and 80% MVC. This procedure has previously been used in the scientific literature (56). Young’s modulus was calculated as the slope of the stress-strain curve between 50% and 80% MVC.

What is Young’s Modulus?

Young's modulus is a measure of the ability of a material to withstand changes in length when under lengthwise tension or compression. Sometimes referred to as the modulus of elasticity, Young's modulus is equal to the longitudinal stress divided by the strain.

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