Occlusion Training (also known as Blood Flow Restriction Training) is a powerful and well-researched method for building muscle mass while using relatively light weights.
The driving force behind the results you get from Occlusion Training is the build-up of waste products from muscle contraction.
To perform Occlusion Training, you tie a band around your limb, then train the limb with high reps and light weight. The band slows down (i.e. occludes) the flow of blood out of the muscle, which causes waste products to build up locally.
These waste products (such as lactic acid, i.e. lactate) are a potent anabolic signals to the body, meaning they stimulate muscle growth.
Again, we're not trying to prevent blood flow IN...just slow it down from coming back OUT. The pump you will get from this style of training is intense.
Ronin Wraps are designed to perform this function...
Do Occlusion Training Bands Work For Building Muscle in General?
It does. This method of training in has been shown in a number of studies to result in muscle growth (e.g. Zachary Pope, et. al., “Exercise and Blood Flow Restriction,” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 27(10), 2013)
Do Occlusion Training Bands Cause Any Circulation Problems?
When using the bands, tighten them to about 7 on a scale of 1 to 10. You don't want them too tight so that they fully cut off circulation into the muscle...just enough to slow it down from coming back out.
Bands like that are made of cloth and elastic generally will not allow you put them on tight enough to cause any issues, even if you try. Straight up rubber (like surgical tubing CAN be put on too tight).
The material they're made of (and the width of that material) is ideal for getting the occlusion you want without allowing you to get them so tight that you mess it up. It takes the guesswork out of the use of occlusion bands.
How to Use Ronin Wraps
You thread the band through the buckle, pull it tight, then pull it through further. It locks down automatically. Honestly, this is the part that I had to refer to the instructions for. It's not immediately obvious how to do it. Once you do it once, it's pretty easy from there, though.
Also, there is a small loop that you can thread the loose end of the band through to keep it from flopping around. This is optional. It's useful but does take a bit of extra time to do.
And that's really all there is to it.
The rubber "Ronin Wraps" label actually serves to keep the band from easily coming out of the buckle once it's loose. I really like this feature (not sure if it was intentional or not!) because it keeps you from having to rethread the bands through the buckle frequently.
These bands are placed on your upper arm, just above the belly of the bicep. I recommend you have the black buckle "pointing" backwards. Put the band around the arm, pull your arm against your side to keep the band from sliding around as you pull the end, then pull until it's the desired tightness. It locks down automatically wherever you leave it.
When putting on your legs, they should go just above the belly of the hamstrings.
I recommend sticking with isolation exercises to promote blood flow to just one specific muscle. Use a light weight (e.g. 30-40% of your 1 RM) and go for maximum pump. Do your best to keep continuous tension on the muscles the entire set.
For triceps, I pushdowns or kickbacks will work. For legs, leg extensions or leg curls.
You CAN use bands for compound exercises, but I found them to be more effective for isolation training, especially as a finisher after performing a regular workout.
Occlusion Training gives you a very different feel in the muscle. You'll find that the waste product build-up actually prevents you from getting as many reps asyou would think, even with a light weight. You'll hit a waste product "saturation point" where all of a sudden your muscles will say "that's enough."
Occlusion Training is a very useful technique for building muscle using lighter weights. And Ronin Wraps perform their function very effectively. They're well-built and won't snap or break, when used as directed and for their targeted purpose.
If you're interested in trying Occlusion Training, I would HIGHLY recommend grabbing a pair of these. To get 15% off your Ronin Wraps, use coupon code MADNICK15 at checkout!
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