Ask any experienced gym-goer and any reputable sports scientist, and they will tell you that “the pump” or the swelling of the muscle tissue under mechanical tension, is a crucial component of muscle growth, strength gain, and progression in training. If you want your fitness lifestyle to succeed over the long term and build the body you dream of, then you really should be chasing the pump at the gym, or at home when you’re stuck in quarantine. After all, there are many ways you can get a decent workout in even if you’re working with limited resources.
If the gyms have reopened in your area, though, then you should maximize your time in training and exercise regularly to get a consistent muscle pump throughout the week, and force your muscles to grow while shedding away that excess fat. That said, getting a good pump is often easier said than done, and it requires a combination of good supplementation and quality training to maximize the results. So, let’s take a look at the best tips that will get you the sleeve-busting pump you dream of.
It all starts with the warmup
Assuming that you’re not going to the gym on an empty stomach, and assuming that you have at least some amount of carbs and protein in your system, you can start by paying special attention to your warmup. Unfortunately, this is where most people make their first mistake, one that keeps hindering their progress for years on end until they realize that warmups play a vital role in muscle growth and the pump itself.
Instead of just doing a few stretches and maybe some light cardio before getting into the workout, you want to spend time pre-pumping the muscles you’re going to work on that day. In order for the targeted area to accumulate stress under tension and in order to maximize blood flow in that region, the muscle has to be activated beforehand. With that in mind, be sure to do some quality reps with serious weight to really pump up the muscles before heading into the main working sets.
Know your rep ranges
Chasing the pump is often synonymous with light weights and high rep training, but that’s a misconception that we need to clear up right away. You can, in fact, generate a decent pump in a variety of rep ranges, varying from six to twelve, from ten to twenty, and even from twenty to thirty reps on specific exercises.
If you want to maximize your pump in a single workout, you can’t just do five reps of bench press for five sets, because you’re missing out on the benefits that other rep ranges bring to the table. Be sure to train in different rep ranges, alternating between heavy, medium, and light-ish weights to really exhaust the muscle.
Supplement your way to a better pump
Nutrition is essential for success, no matter if you’re looking to build muscle, improve your cardio, or compete in powerlifting. In the case of maximizing muscle growth, though, you have to really focus on nutrition and take some crucial supplements to boost your performance in training. Now, there are many supplements that work, but in order to maximize the pump, creatine should be your number one choice.
No need to get any fancy new creatine blend, because monohydrate works best for all intents and purposes, and you can even find and buy creatine supplements online from reputable brands that can guarantee its quality and support their claims. Be sure to supplement with 3-5 grams of creatine every day, preferably after your workout to maximize its content levels in your system, boost performance, and let the muscle cells swell up for a better pump.
Focus on holds and eccentric movements
When you’re at the gym, you want to be focused on the workout at all times, making sure that you’re really feeling the muscles you’re working and that you’re focusing on proper form. When you have your form down, you can really start to focus on all aspects of the movement, and not just the concentric portion of the lift. It’s important that you control the eccentric portion of the exercise on each repetition, and don’t be afraid to hold the eccentric on the last rep of every set for that extra squeeze.
Shorten the rest period
When in doubt, shorten your rest periods between sets. If you’re training for powerlifting, you have to rest three or five minutes between sets or you risk injuring yourself, but when you’re trying to maximize the pump, then you have no reason to rest more than thirty to sixty seconds at a time. Use a stopwatch to time your rest intervals, and be sure to get back into the exercise as soon as those sixty seconds are up to keep the pump going and maximize your results.
Oftentimes, it is the inexperienced or the scientific-illiterate who will tell you that the pump is not a precursor of muscle growth and strength gain, but in reality, muscle swelling during exercise is an essential component of long-term progress. Be sure to use these tips to maximize your pump in the gym or at home, and you will achieve better results much faster.