That’s why submitted a support question asking about it. The reply came from Jim Stray-Gunderson, the founder, who I think is pretty knowledgeable in the field.
Interestingly, with their rep scheme, if reaching failure in both the second and third sets, you get pretty close to same total reps as 30-15-15-15. I’ll stick with it for now, and adjust as necessary…
Hard to argue with Gunderson, he’s smarter than me, and he’s trained more Olympic medalists with BFR than I have by a fair margin. If he says 30/30/30, I’ll trust that he has a better reason than “It’s easier to remember”. I’m going to stick with 30/15/15/15 at 40% 1RM, because that’s the best evidence based hypertrophy scheme I’ve seen, but I don’t doubt that 30/30/30 will yield substantial hypertrophy.
I really loved this interview by the way, thanks for posting it. Actually the whole damn channel is a goldmine. This is also where I saw Dr. McGuff’s incredible “Area Under the Curve” lecture.
One thing I’ll point out though is at 24:00. In answer to what stimulates muscle growth optimally his answer is that with his 30/30/30 set structure, Gunderson is calling for fatigue and failure. Here is the transcript:
Question: What are your thoughts on the occlusion stimulus necessary to achieve optimal results?
Jim Stray Gunderson: The real answer is where you get fatigue and failure in the working muscle is the right amount of restriction. Because you’re looking for that fatigue and failure sign to make sure you’re getting the systemic response.
On a different note, here is another interesting article that further supports the idea that BFR is the mirror image of BBS. It turns out that the benefits from BFR are achieved in the concentric portion of the lift, not in the eccentric portion. It’s been a while since I’ve read BBS, but my recollection is that McGuff believes that the majority of the benefit of BBS comes from the micro-tearing of the muscle in the slow eccentric portion of the lift. Interesting!
In this study, they essentially did BFR only for the eccentric portion of the lift on one arm, and then BFR only for the concentric portion of the lift on the other arm. Muscle volume for the arm that did BFR + Concentric Only increased by 12.5% vs 2.9% for BFR + Eccentric Only.
This is a picture of the most painful object in the world. I’ve been using a lacrosse ball to roll out my shoulders for the past couple days after the sauna. My shoulders feel amazing! While you’re doing it though, it hurts like a bastard.
You basically just lie down with the ball between your shoulder blades and your spine, and slowly look for a point that is so tight that the pain takes your breath away. Once you do, you stop on that point and just breath for about 10 seconds and move to another point. I did this twice today for about 10 minutes with a 20 minute sauna session before each (not necessary, but helpful). Each subsequent session is less painful. My shoulders already have better range of motion. My right shoulder was way tighter than my left shoulder, but both of them got a significant benefit from it. Highly recommended on anyplace you experience persistent tightness or acute soreness.
Is anybody else rolling with a lacrosse ball or tennis ball, or doing other kinds of mobility work? Any good technique resources you can share?
Interesting short article on mechanisms of BFR effect:
In summary, the mechanisms that most probably play the largest role in the beneficial adaptations seen in BFR resistance training are related to accelerating the time to volitional failure of the muscles distal to the cuff. Metabolite accumulation and cell swelling secondary to the restrictive cuff provide a window to replicate a similar local muscular environment as heavier lifting protocols through the earlier recruitment of type 2 fibers at lighter (20-50% 1RM) loads. The other mechanisms – hormone production, cross-transfer effects and SC proliferation are likely secondary reactions to local metabolic stress or BFR application and play variable roles in the response to chronic BFR training (Takada, 2012).
Another day, another ratchet along the roller coaster: one-armed preacher curls under BFR using a 14lb dumbell. Did 30/15/15/50… and then stopped voluntarily. Hands got cold as usual; lots of veins a’ popping. Palm capillary refresh @ roughly 2 seconds.
Whoa. Wait a minute. It’s kind of obvious looking back, but you said your 1RM is around 30lbs for both arms at once.
Last time I checked, my 1 rep max is around 60lbs. My BFR workouts with 10lbs get me to failure at 30/15/15/15.
Put differently, I’m wussing out at sub 20% 1RM for my biceps, and you’re pushing 50% 1RM and not even getting tired! I may have been on to something with my Type 1 vs Type 2 muscle thesis. I think Type 2 muscle degrades as we age. One of the thing BFR training does, is reverse this process and increase Type 2 growth.
I think @daddyoh shocked me with the high weights that he was using with biceps curls as well. Do you know your 1 rep max for biceps Daddyoh? I’m 42, and I think both of you guys are 20 years my senior if memory serves. Maybe there is something to it?
If I’m right, and you start restoring Type 2 muscle as a result of BBS and BFR, you guys might start seeing some pretty impressive strength gains compared to us mere mortals.
Ok, you spooked me and made me wonder if I had been reporting a bad RM weight figure. To be clear: when I say 30lb 1RM for a preacher curl, I mean using one arm at a time, I could perform only a single rep using a 30 lb dumbbell weight. I could not complete a full second rep at that weight. And this had been the case for either my left or my right arm.
So just now, I checked again and am pleased to both confirm and to report I think I’ve made some minimal progress. This time I could just b-a-r-e-l-y squeak out 2 reps (using either my left or right arm) using that same 30 lb dumbbell.
It kind of makes sense (and is encouraging) that I can now barely perform 2 reps. Now, with the benefit of the BFR strength training, I can manage to squeak out one more rep (although my form falls apart on that second one!)
You say your 1RM is 60 lbs? So I’m assuming you mean using both arms at once, right? And if so, then yeah, that seems to be equivalent to 30lb for each arm flying solo. In which case this is fascinating…
So you’re a 42 yr old guy who can lift 30 lbs in a single arm curl, and using BFR you can do 10lbs, but seem to fail somewhere around 30/15/15/15. Okay, noted.
Now, I’m a 62 yr old with the same 1RM weight, yet I can do 14lbs and still not reach failure after 50 reps in 30/15/15/50? Something clearly odd seems to be going on here indeed.
FWIW, I’m lean (140’ish lbs 5’9" with a 31" waist) but I’m not that strong - trust me. I was a jogger for decades (skiing in the winter) and rarely if ever paid attention to upper body strength (in fact, I barely ever had an upper body .
So this comparison does seem a bit puzzling. You really think this is an age-related Type 1 vs Type 2 muscle fiber thing?
Eager to hear from another member of the geezer cohort…
This makes more sense now that I’ve finally got it straight. Not sure what I was thinking there earlier.
The last time I checked I could do 60lb 1RM with a barbell with both arms.(ironically, there will be more on that in a separate post). You are pretty much the same.
Still though, you’re able to do BFR with 40% more weight than me and you’re still nowhere near failure. That’s really something!
Yup, I do. Type 1 muscle fibers are good for endurance exercises. Type 2 muscles are good for sudden bursts of power. If I’m using primarily type 2 muscle fibers to get a high 1 rep max, and you’re using primarily type 2 muscles to do it, you’d be able to exhibit more endurance with higher weights generally than I would.
Someone correct me if I’m spouting nonsense. Does this make sense to you @Stephen_Judd?
I was actually going to post about a point similar to one that this article makes.
Most BFR studies are performed work matched, such that the BFR group performs an equal amount of work as the free-flow condition (ie 30-15-15-15 or BFR exercises to failure, free-flow matches repetitions)
This is a major confounder when comparing BFR research results. This occured to me when I was thinking over that article that shows an inverse relationship between occlusion pressure and % 1RM. My thought was, if these sets were done to a set number of reps (e.g. 30/15/15/15), the difference between the hypertrophy levels could be explained by the proximity to failure. If the 20% 1RM guys barely broke a sweat, and the 40% 1RM guys went to total failure, then it’s not an accurate comparision. Unfortunately, the article doesn’t mention the rep scheme, so there is no way of knowing short of paying the $40 for paywall access. Not doing it.
Anyway, this is a brilliant article. Thanks for posting.
Makes sense, and may be testable to an extent. Since you both have approximately the same 1RM, you could compare your 15 RM (or 12, 10, etc.) and see how they compare. If predominately Type 1, I’d expect the max in a higher rep scheme to be higher than someone more Type 2 dominant.
Aha! Just as I suspected. These guys just evaluated volume equated work. In other words, in all likelihood, none of the subjects doing 20% 1RM approached anything close to fatigue, let alone failure.
Therefore their results can’t be generalized to repetition schemes that result in fatigue/failure, which is what Gunderson said is the primary indicator of efficacy.
Does that make sense?
(Eric - The patient needs to be patient!)
I’m not sure what my 1 arm 1 RM is for curling. When I was using the curl eqpt (not dumbells) I was doing 50+ lbs and 7 or more reps for 1 arm at a time. I can pull (seated pull) 2 arm 150 lbs for 12+ reps. But dumbbells are different. Next week I’ll test in the gym. I don’t want to do it tomorrow and mess up my recovery since I did BBS training today.
I can do 19 reps with each wrist at 40lbs. I’m ready to go to 45 lbs for each wrist.
BTW I’m 66 and used to be a couch potato. I’m not doing BFR these weeks for family care reasons.
[I was under the impression that BFR can be done with/beside BBS without it getting the way of recovery (due to the low load), no?]
(Eric - The patient needs to be patient!)
FRom what I understand BFR does not interfere with BBS. I’m not doing BFR right now for personal reasons. I don’t want to lift 1 RM with a dumbell until 4 days from this morning. That might mess up my recovery.
Funny thing is I don’t think I’m that strong because I have very little bulk. I have elongated muscles for the most part.