Ever since we felt it for the first time or heard Arnold speak of the legendary pump, we've all been chasing it. And we all know why. It's addictive. Your skin starts feeling tight, like it's going to explode, your muscles feel full. The feeling is unlike anything else. It feels good. So much so, you might find yourself glancing towards the mirror and think, “damn, the hard work must've paid off because I'm looking pretty jacked!”. The cherry on top? The pump contributes to long-term muscle growth.
What is a Muscle Pump?
Working muscles need sufficient blood flow to supply them with oxygen and nutrients to remove waste products, such as lactic acid and carbon dioxide. Blood is diverted from other processes to sustain the contractions, which result in a pump. The tight feeling is because you have up to four times more blood in your muscle than usual.
“Blood is rushing into your muscles and that's what we call 'The Pump'. Your muscles get a really tight feeling, like your skin is going to explode any minute, and it’s really tight - it’s like somebody blowing air into it, into your muscle. It just blows up, and it feels really different. It feel fantastic."
How does a muscle pump it contribute to long-term growth?
In addition to the drastic short-term benefits of the pump, it can benefit muscle growth over time. When exposed to increased challenge and stress, your muscles have to adapt. You’re flooding the muscle with blood containing nutrients and oxygen, and the pump results in cellular swelling, which increases muscle protein synthesis, and decreases muscle breakdown.
How do you get a muscle pump?
Now, the benefits of the pump are apparent. So how do we get there? First of all, you need an immediate energy source, namely Adenosine Phosphate (ATP), Creatine, and muscle glycogen which is already present in your body. It helps if you’re sufficiently hydrated and have consumed carbs before your training. In terms of the workout itself, volume is key. A rep range between 10-15 reps is optimal. Focus on contracting the muscle and keeping the rest period short. Drop sets and supersets work really well, too. Supersets are when you stack exercises back to back, with no rest in between. If you’ve tried working your triceps and biceps this way, you probably know what we’re talking about.
The benefits of pump products
Increases nutrient uptake
Anything that increases nutrient uptake will help. As mentioned, the reason for the pump is the increased blood flow that carries nutrients and oxygen into the muscle. As you increase the amount of fluid, minerals, and muscle-enhancing ingredients entering muscle cells, your muscles will subsequently increase fullness, size, and growth.
Increased muscle fullness and volumisation
Pump products typically contain glycerol, which not only keeps you energised and hydrated during your workouts but helps draw in and retain fluid in the muscle cells. The result? Increased muscle pump, fuller muscles, and yes, extreme vascular pump!
Increased athletic performance and endurance
Research has shown that glycerol can be used as an ergogenic aid to increase athletic performance and endurance. It can help prevent dehydration and allow you to train harder, for longer.