A Little Background…
The other day I was lifting weights and I was working on back, traps, and triceps. As many of you know, I’m a full-time college student and this semester I took an Astronomy lab that met at 7:00pm once a week.
I began my workout at about 5:45, but I started off taking really long rest periods because I was talking to a few buddies, getting water, and just not staying focused. (It happens!)
The next time I looked at the clock, it was 6:15 and I hadn’t even made a dent in my workout! Uh oh.. At this point I had a few options. I could either just slowly work my way through a partial workout, I could just work on a few isolation exercises, or I could bust my ass and get my full workout in with very short rest periods. I chose the latter – and I’m glad I did!
The pump that I was able to achieve was awesome! I literally felt like my muscles were going to burst through my skin! [Picture]
I don’t know about you, but I think it’s one of the best feelings in the world when you’re at the gym, smashing weight, and your testosterone levels are through the roof!
Anyway, I made a discovery that night that I really had never noticed before. If you want a better pump, decrease your rest periods and increase your weight or reps. More on this later…
So What Is A Muscle Pump?
A muscle pump, also scientifically known as hyperemia, is when your muscles swell up during your workout due to sufficient blood flow being diverted into them.
It is a very addicting feeling for bodybuilders and athletes, mainly because your muscles feel as though they are going to burst through your skin. The skin gets tighter around the muscle group you’re working and most of the time your muscles will feel fatigued.
If you want to achieve maximum muscle growth, you better get very familiar with the pump. Several studies show that during training, a muscle can receive three to four times the amount of blood it normally does. This is because your muscles need this blood and oxygen to keep contracting and working out.
When it all comes down to it, muscles need blood, oxygen, and the waste to be removed in order to work properly, effectively, and achieve muscle growth.
Many people will argue and say that the pump is not required to see increases in muscle mass, size, and endurance. I would agree, but if you’re looking to achieve the MAXIMUM amount of gains that you can, I recommend going until you achieve a good pump.
Your muscles will grow more from the fascial stretching that happens when a muscle is worked out and “pumped” past its normal size. Just like when you stretch out a pillow case, if you stretch your muscles out with a pump, it allows more room for new muscular tissue to go.
How Do I Get The Pump?
This is the simplest part of the entire process, but definitely not the easiest. Building muscle requires hard work and pushing your body beyond its limits!
The biggest thing you need to focus on when trying to get a muscle pump is to limit your rest periods and either use higher rep ranges or heavier weight.
When you use higher rep ranges, your muscles will be under tension for a longer amount of time and more blood will be forced into them. It’s almost the same effect with heavier weight and a little lower reps. Your muscles are under greater tension because they have to work harder in order to push/pull that particular weight.
So what exercises are best for achieving the pump? There are none! You can get a great pump from almost any exercise. One thing I highly recommend you focus on is the mind-muscle connection and really focus on each repetition.
Don’t just try to crank out your workout as fast as you can. When you’re in the middle of a set, slow down, think about the muscle being worked, breathe, and train like an animal!
I find that the last two or three reps are the best for getting the intense pump. This is the time when your muscles are just about to tap out!
Something that has also helped me is using “drop sets.” This is simply when you finish a set, then quickly strip some of the weight off, then do another set. It helps to have a training partner while doing this and it is probably most effective with machines because you can select a new weight in under a second. Try to incorporate drop sets in your next workout!
The pump is an awesome, addicting feeling. Once you’ve had it once, you’ll want it for the rest of your training days. Hopefully these tips will help you out in the gym and may your pump be as great as you are! :-)
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