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Even though I’ve done BFR training before, I still get nervous whenever I have to put the bands on because I’m afraid that I’m going to make them too tight. Despite the high price tag, I was intrigued by the SAGA Fitness BFR Cuffs, which inflate the cuffs with air and apply a consistent, accurate amount of pressure to your arms and legs based on your blood pressure.
Are the SAGA BFR cuffs worth it? The SAGA BFR cuffs are worth it for certified personal trainers, physiotherapists, strength and conditioning coaches, or other individuals who work in a professional or clinical setting. But for healthy individuals who are more casual gym-goers or don’t do BFR training often, I would opt for a cheaper alternative.
With that said, there are some risks associated with BFR training if the bands are too tight (muscle numbness and bruising), and the SAGA BFR cuffs are the only product on the market currently that gives you peace of mind that the bands are the exact right tightness according to your individual blood pressure.
So if you’re at all concerned about mismanaging the pressure of the BFR bands while working out, the SAGA cuffs are the gold standard.
In this article, I’ll provide an honest review of the SAGA BFR cuffs and discuss their pros and cons to help you decide if these premium cuffs are right for you. I’ll also provide some alternative BFR bands that may better suit your needs if you don’t want to splurge on SAGA.
Interested in the SAGA BFR Cuffs? Check today’s price on the SAGA website.
SAGA BFR Cuffs: Detailed Overview
SAGA Fitness was founded in 2020 by VALD, a team of researchers, scientists, sports professionals, engineers, and other individuals with an interest in studying human movement and performance.
Recognizing a need for innovative ways to help people achieve their athletic goals, SAGA developed the world’s first Bluetooth-enabled BFR cuffs. These cuffs enable users to safely, quickly, and accurately reap the benefits of BFR training, such as increased hypertrophy and the ability to get stronger even when lifting lighter weights.
The SAGA BFR cuffs are available in two sizes, one for arms and one for legs. The arm cuffs are 2.7 inches wide while the leg cuffs are just under 4 inches wide. A module containing a rechargeable battery and sensors that measure your blood pressure and transmit data to your phone is attached to each cuff.
Before using the cuffs for the first time, you have to calibrate them using the SAGA Fitness mobile app. During the calibration process, the cuffs inflate with air to determine your blood pressure. I found this process uncomfortable, but it only lasts about a minute for each cuff.
Once the cuffs are calibrated, the sensors will calculate the amount of pressure needed to occlude blood flow in each limb. You can then increase or decrease the pressure as needed during your workout. Everything is controlled through the mobile app, so you don’t need any additional wires or parts to use the cuffs.
SAGA BFR Cuffs: Pros and Cons
The SAGA BFR cuffs are worth the price if you can afford to pay a premium price and want the peace of mind of knowing that you’ll get an accurate determination of how much pressure you need to apply to your limbs. BFR training has some risks, and these cuffs can help mitigate issues that can arise from making BFR bands too tight.
Furthermore, if you’re a personal trainer, physiotherapist, strength and conditioning coach, or anyone else who uses BFR training for clients in a professional setting, the SAGA BFR cuffs are some of the best on the market. You’ll definitely get your money’s worth out of them, and I’m confident that they can withstand being used multiple times a day by different people.
However, if you don’t do BFR training often, you have access to someone who can teach you how to apply regular BFR bands correctly, or you just don’t have the budget available, other less expensive options are more than sufficient.
I also don’t recommend these cuffs for lifters who have thick arms and legs. According to the size chart on the website, the arm cuffs fit arms between 10-18” and legs between 18-26”. My arms fall in the middle of that range, but I don’t have much room left over after I fasten them. I also have thick thighs that measure at the high end of that range, and the cuffs just barely fit.
- Blood pressure calculation system ensures consistent pressure for each workout
- Can easily adjust the pressure mid-workout using the free mobile app
- Comfortable sweat-resistant material
- Includes a carrying case and USB charger
- Expensive and may not be worth it for people who only do BFR training occasionally
- May be too small if you have thick arms or legs
- Leg cuffs don’t sit flat against your legs and take some adjusting in order to inflate before your workout
SAGA BFR Cuffs: Key Features and Benefits
Below are three of my favorite features of the SAGA BFR cuffs:
- Wireless control using your phone
- Secure velcro
- Sweat-resistant lining
Wireless Control Using Your Phone
The SAGA BFR cuffs are equipped with Bluetooth technology. Using the SAGA Fitness mobile app, which works on both iOS and Android devices, you can increase or decrease the cuffs’ pressure, view sample workout programs, and start and stop workouts.
Once you pair the cuffs to your phone, the app will pick up on them automatically when you power them on. You can only pair two cuffs at a time, which is one of the safety features that I like a lot. It prevents you from trying to do BFR training on your arms and legs at the same time, which isn’t recommended.
At the end of your workout, you can view data including the duration of your workout and the starting, maximum, and minimum amounts of pressure that were applied. The app doesn’t save historical data, though, which is a drawback if you want to compare your results to previous workouts.
One thing that I don’t like about regular BFR bands is that they can become loose or slip down your limbs in the middle of your workout.
I was concerned that this may be an issue with the SAGA BFR cuffs because of the weight of the sensor. However, they have a secure velcro that helps keep the cuffs in place throughout the duration of your workout. Once they’re on, they won’t move.
The SAGA BFR cuffs have a sweat-resistant lining that’s made from material similar to that of moisture-wicking performance apparel. If you’re applying them directly to your skin, the material won’t make you itchy once you start sweating.
What Others Say About the SAGA BFR Cuffs
People who have used the SAGA BFR cuffs are in agreement that they are a high-quality product when compared to other BFR bands.
This reviewer considers the SAGA BFR cuffs to be a huge upgrade in relation to other BFR bands on the market:
I also asked Chris Roberts, a nutrition coach, what his thoughts were on the SAGA BFR Cuffs, as I’ve seen him regularly using them on his Instagram posts.
The Saga BFR Cuffs have allowed for more volume to be added to target areas in a time-efficient manner. With the reduced loading required it is perfect for home-based training while travelling.Christ Roberts, Nutrition coach
I’m not quite sure what he meant when he said the cuffs allow you to do “more volume” in a “time-efficient manner”. I followed up and asked him, but never got a response.
However, I do agree that BFR training is a great way to stimulate the muscle without a lot of load required, especially if you’re taking the reps to failure and only have limited equipment.
If you’re not convinced the SAGA BFR Cuffs are for you, then let’s cover some alternatives in the market and how they compare.
Alternative BFR Bands
1. Gymreapers Occlusion Straps
The Gymreapers Occlusion Straps are made from a smooth, comfortable elastic that won’t irritate your skin. Even though they don’t have a blood pressure monitoring system, the bands are numbered, so you can still ensure a consistent fit on both limbs and from workout to workout.
They also have a secure locking mechanism that helps keep the bands in place and is easy to adjust by yourself. I have pinched my skin with the buckles before when I’ve tried to adjust them in a hurry, but if you pay attention to what you’re doing, you shouldn’t have an issue with this.
2. Ronin Wraps
The Ronin wraps are ideal for lifters with thicker arms and thighs. I always have plenty of leftover material once I’ve adjusted the bands to my desired tightness. I also like that there is a fabric loop to secure the excess fabric so it doesn’t get in the way while I’m lifting weights.
There is a large rubber logo on the bands that’s difficult to get through the fastener, and I find the material on these wraps to be itchier than other bands. But there is no pinching of the skin from the buckle, and the straps are easy to adjust by yourself. I’ve also never had an issue with them slipping mid-workout.
Things To Consider When Buying BFR Bands
1. Intended Use
How you intend to use BFR bands will dictate the types of bands you should buy. People who are looking for BFR bands to use on occasion don’t need cuffs with fancy bells and whistles as long as you understand that the amount of applied pressure may not be consistent each time you wear them.
On the other hand, trainers, coaches, and other people who may use BFR bands on clients should look for products that can deliver more consistent and accurate pressure with each use.
If you’re using them temporarily while you’re recovering from an injury, you won’t need to pay top dollar for a product that will end up sitting in a drawer after a couple of months. But if you plan on regularly doing BFR training, a more expensive product may be worth it because you’ll be able to justify the cost.
Premium BFR cuffs are also better suited for individuals who use them in professional or clinical settings where multiple people will be using them and you need a product that can last for a long time.
3. Medical History
I should preface this by saying that if you have any of the following conditions, you should not do BFR training:
- Previous blood clots or a history of DVT
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
If you don’t have any of these conditions but have other reasons to be hesitant about BFR training, I would first recommend talking to a physician before you try it. But to put your mind at ease, you should look for BFR bands that use your blood pressure to determine the amount of pressure you need. They tend to be safer than bands that you have to adjust yourself.
Other BFR Resources
- 7 Best Blood Flow Restriction Bands
- Blood Flow Restriction Training For Calves (Complete Guide)
- Blood Flow Restriction Training For Chest (Complete Guide)
- Blood Flow Restriction Training For Glutes (Complete Guide)
- Blood Flow Restriction Training For Arms (Complete Guide)
If you’re interested in BFR training and you’re looking for an accurate way to determine the amount of pressure you need, you can’t go wrong with the SAGA BFR cuffs.
They come with a premium price tag, but they’re safer than BFR bands that you have to adjust manually. The intuitive mobile app is also something that you won’t find with any other BFR cuffs that measure your blood pressure.
However, if the SAGA BFR cuffs are outside of your budget, you can opt for cheaper alternatives such as the Gymreapers Occlusion Straps or the Ronin Wraps. When used correctly, manual bands like these are still effective and come with very few risks for healthy individuals.
About The Author
Amanda is a writer and editor in the fitness and nutrition industries. Growing up in a family that loved sports, she learned the importance of staying active from a young age. She started CrossFit in 2015, which led to her interest in powerlifting and weightlifting. She’s passionate about helping women overcome their fear of lifting weights and teaching them how to fuel their bodies properly. When she’s not training in her garage gym or working, you can find her drinking coffee, walking her dog, or indulging in one too many pieces of chocolate.