Admit it, there's nothing better than hitting the weights and feeling your skin start to stretch as you begin to pump up like a freak... veins everywhere, people mirin. It's an amazing feeling, and one that keeps us going back to the gym day after day.
But, what exactly is this "pump," and why does it happen. Well, that's exactly what we're going to talk about here.
In nerd-speak, the pump is actually called hypermia. It occurs when when muscles contract, releasing more nitric oxide into your blood, causing the blood vessels to dilate and swell. This allows more oxygen and nutrient rich blood to get to the muscles that are working hard.
Psychologically, the pump is incredibly motivating. You look great, feel massive, and want to keep pushing your body to the limit. But, is this all it does?
Of course not!
Besides looking awesome and feeling incredible, the pump actually very beneficial for muscle growth and performance increases.This increase in blood flow to working muscles brings more oxygen and nutrients, removes waste, and helps you recover faster. It also stretches your fascial tissue, allowing for more growth over time.
Through proper training, you can achieve incredible pump, and certain supplements can take it even further. In order to maximize your pump:
Control The Weight:
Getting a ridiculous pump is about isolation. Control every rep that you perform to stimulate the muscle that you're trying to work. For example, if you're performing curls, don't swing the weight to complete the rep, just focus on contracting your bicep as hard as possible. Lower the weight if needed, this is not about ego!
Slow Eccentric Phase:
Muscle contraction is split into two phases, the concentric (lifting the weight) and eccentric (letting it down). Think of a dumbbell bicep curl, the concentric phase is when you lift the weight, and the eccentric phase is when you lower it back to your hip.
It's far too common to see an explosive concentric phase, only to essentially drop the weight , missing the eccentric phase. Take your time on this phase! It burns, but it leads to a phenomenal pump.
Utilize Multi-Drop Sets:
At the completion of each exercise, perform a series of drop sets, decreasing the weight by 25% of the original weight each time. For example... If you're performing shoulder press with 40lb dumbbells, after your last working set, drop the weight to 30lbs, then 20lbs, and finally 10lbs, taking each drop to failure. This is an incredibly difficult way to end each exercise, but also takes the targeted muscle group to failure, and forces an insane amount of blood into them.
Pump on my friends!
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