Tracee Ellis Ross recently shared a video of an intense workout on Instagram.
The actress performed a weighted sled push while wearing blood flow restriction cuffs.
Trainers and physical therapists often use blood flow restriction training for weight training and injury recovery.
Tracee Ellis Ross posted yet another epic workout to Instagram earlier this week, but with a surprising twist—blood flow restriction cuffs. The 48-year-old is no stranger to working out (she's always regaling her followers with clips from her sweat sessions), but she just recently started experimenting with the technology.
The Black-ish star posted a video rocking a high bun, black sneakers, black leggings, and a white tank top. Music blasted and other gym-goers grunted in the background as she hinged forward to push a weighted sled. Her trainer, Jason Walsh of Rise Nation who trains other A-list celebrities like Brie Larson and Mandy Moore, can be heard in the background cheering her as she powered through the movement.
As the actress pushed the sled along the track to the other side of the gym, she slightly tipped over and exclaimed, “I’m off the track!” But she quickly recovered and kept pushing the cart until the very end. When she finally hit the wall at the other side of the track, she bent forward to stretch and catch her breath.
The movement, called a weighted sled push, is a functional body exercise that helps build power and endurance, depending on your goals and the weight and time you use it, explains Marisa Golan, C.P.T., owner of e(M)powered personalized fitness training. But what really caught our attention are the black cuffs that Ellis Ross has strapped to her thighs.
The cuffs appear to be the blood flow restriction Smart Cuffs from Smart Tools, and are used for blood flow restriction and instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization. “It’s a great option for strength training,” Golan explains.“It essentially allows you to make greater strength training gains, while lifting lighter loads. So, your body thinks it’s lifting heavier without the actual stress placed on the limbs.”
What is blood flow restriction training?
According to the American Physical Therapy Association, blood-flow restriction training is achieved through the application of external pressure over the extremities (like the thighs). Also known as occlusion training, BFR safely restricts blood flow, which can reduce the amount of oxygen reaching your muscles and trick your body into thinking it’s lifting more weight than it actually is. This will fatigue muscles faster, and stimulate muscle growth quicker, without working much harder, according to Smart Cuff's website.
A 2017 study found that overall, BFR training appeared to be a safe and effective tool for rehabilitation. But, the study cited that additional research was needed prior to widespread application. So it's important to consult your doctor before trying the cuffs for yourself (especially if you have heart disease or are at risk of thrombosis or blood clots).
Ellis Ross further explains the tech in her caption, “Pushing through...with those dang cuffs on my thighs,” she wrote. “Explanation on the cuffs: BFR or blood flow restriction training allows you to get the same results with a lighter load as you would a heavier load. I use these for the first 10 minutes of my workout.”
According to Smart Cuff's Instagram page, the cuffs can be used on the upper thigh for squats, stationary bikes, and single-leg box raises, and on the bicep for bicep curls, pull-downs, and push-ups. It is often used in physical therapy for muscle recovery while allowing for a lighter load on joints.
In a second Instagram video from earlier this month, Ellis Ross is seen laying on a bench with the cuffs around her thighs, but isn’t performing any exercise. The actress makes reference to actor Mark Wahlberg who also has been seen using the cuffs to perform exercises. “Is this what they mean when they say cuffing season,” she joked in the caption.
If you’re interested in blood flow restriction training, be sure to check with your doctor first to make sure it's safe for you, and check with a physical therapist or personal trainer to ensure you're exercising safely.
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