Whoever watched the iconic film ‘pumping iron’ was definitely mesmerized by the way Arnold Schwarzenegger himself describes a good pump as experiencing an orgasm.
A good pump is something that every bodybuilder aspires, some believe that a pump has nothing to do with building strength and mass but some consider it as an essential ingredient of bodybuilding.
The fact is skin splitting pump is more than just a ‘wonderful sensation’, apart from increasing the workout motivation it has been found to improve muscle hypertrophy in various different ways.
A muscle pump is nothing but an accumulation of body fluid in the target muscle while weight training.
When you lift a weight, the body sends maximum blood to the target area to clear lactic buildup and supply essential nutrients for recovery.
When you grind your muscle for maximum reps, you force maximum accumulation of bodily fluids in the target area which leads to a temporary muscle pump.
This muscle pump might be temporary in nature but poses multiple benefits.
Muscle pump has been proven to have numerous benefits, lets have a look at them:
Now let's talk about the practical ways to improve muscle pumps.
Taking your pre-workout meal seriously should be your first resort to achieve a superior muscle pump.
Most of the people who complain about muscle pumps are either training empty stomachs or eating too little carbohydrate in their pre-workout meal.
When you strength train, muscles use their glycogen reserves to replenish the stored energy. Sufficient carb intake in pre-workout meals ensures adequate glycogen supply.
Additionally, glycogen is not only a source of energy that can fuel a workout, but it also binds water. Each gram of glycogen stored in your body is bound to 3 or 4 grams of water
A good pre-workout meal will supplement your muscle with additional glycogen and will make it look fuller and bigger. That's the reason people on a low-carb diet usually struggle to get a muscle pump.
One of the most common reasons for not getting enough muscle pump is due to lack of muscle activation.
Muscle activation is a technique through which you wake up your target muscle fibers to do the lifting work.
Muscle activation improves the target muscle activation and reduces the stress on stabilizer muscles.
How to activate muscle before a workout?
For example, most gym newbies don't feel the stress on their glutes while deadlifting, that's because of the inactive glute muscles. Doing some single leg RDL warmup is a great way to activate glute muscle which also improves the lifting quality.
Being mindful about muscle contraction is something that ensures muscle hypertrophy and pumps as well.
Instead of going through the motion without feeling stress on the target muscle, lower down the weight and lift it with your eyes closed.
Training with eyes closed helps in establishing superior mind-muscle connection.
Slowing down the tempo and squeezing the target muscle for peak contraction is a sure shot way to achieve a skin-splitting pump.
Keep yourself hydrated, hydration leads to greater blood volume and amplified pump.
Creatine is one of the best supplements to increase hydration on a cellular level.
Most Pre-workout supplements are designed to provide mind-boggling pumps while increasing the workout intensity and clearing lactic buildup.
Pre-workouts contain powerful nitric boosters such as L-citrulline malate or L-arginine. These nitric boosters dilated the blood vessels to increase the supply of blood hence leading to a muscle pump like never before.
Sometimes nutrition is not everything, changing the training pattern may improve the quality of the pump.
Adding drop sets to your training session surely helps in improving the quality pump.
A drop set is a strength training technique for continuing an exercise with a lower weight once muscle failure has been achieved at a higher weight.
For example, you do lat pull down with 100 kgs for 10 reps, once you reach the muscle fatigue then you decrease the weight to 80 kgs and do 10 reps more, then reduce the weight to 60 kgs and do 10 reps more.
With each continuous drop in weight, you are pushing more blood into the cells, strengthening the overall effect of the pump.
Drop sets are an incredible technique to push your muscle to its limits and experience the best pump of your session.
You might not be experiencing quality pumps because of prolonged rest periods.
Try to keep the rest periods shorter.
The shorter your rest period remains, the more blood will be forced into muscle cells to achieve greater muscle pumps.
Shorter rest periods should be preferred while muscle isolation workouts and avoid taking short rest periods while compound lifts, heavy compound lifts require longer rest duration for proper recovery.