Now that the spring is quickly approaching it’s almost time to put away those long sleeve sweatshirts/sweaters and replace them with tees and tanks!
But of course, to feel confident when your arms are fully exposed, you will want to make sure that the bis and tris are looking big, primed and pumped!
And now that I brought it up, let's talk about that amazing rush of blood we feel in our muscles when we train them – the all-important PUMP.
What is the Pump?
Many of you reading this may think that getting an intense pump while working out is a transient phenomenon that simply looks and feels good while it's happening – but let me tell you, it's far more than that!
Here is exactly how I describe what it truly means to us as bodybuilders/athletes when the target muscle is optimally pumped while training: “It is important to understand that a freaky muscle pump is actually far more than just a temporary ‘cosmetic’ enhancement, but also a good indication that you are adequately rested, well-nourished, using the proper pumping supplements and are intensely focused on your training.
Additionally (and most vital to know), maximizing blood flow to the working muscles will assist in hyper-igniting hypertrophy by not only feeding them with essential nutrients like amino acids, hormones (ie. Testosterone, GH, IGF-1), creatine, and oxygen, but also by stretching the muscle cells, which acts as a direct anabolic signal!
Thus, achieving a crazy pump should be one of the major goals you shoot for at each and every workout (along with progressive overload, of course).
10 Ways to Improve Your Pumps!
Ok, so now that you are fully aware of how important the pump is when it comes to stimulating hypertrophy, here is a quick list of ways you can make sure to get that blood flowing like a wild river bursting through a dam.
1. Get Your Rest
I can tell you right now that if you are only getting 4-5 hours of sleep per night then both your muscles and central nervous system (CNS) are not adequately recovered.
This lack of recovery will negatively affect your strength, stamina, energy levels, muscle firing capabilities, and your PUMP. Shoot for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night.
2. Consume Carbs
Make sure you are taking in enough quality carbohydrates (oatmeal, rice, potatoes, quinoa, whole grain bread, fruit, etc.) every day so that your muscles are full of glycogen (which is stored carbohydrate).
Without adequate glycogen stores, the muscles will also be low on water content and thus will not pump maximally. Load the most carbs with breakfast and at the post-workout meal.
3. Supplement Savvy
About 30 minutes before training, make sure to utilize such pump-priming compounds as citrulline, agmatine, taurine, creatine, beta alanine, and Glycerpump.
This will help you to release more nitric oxide, volumize muscle cells, increase blood flow and allow you more reps per set.
4. Get Those Reps
While it is important to utilize a wide variety of rep ranges to stimulate all muscle fibers and ignite the various anabolic pathways, when looking for a skin-tearing pump make sure to get in some sets in the range of 13-20 (or more).
5. Stay Tense
When your goal is to literally fill your muscles with blood you should perform some of your reps/sets in constant tension fashion. This means you should not fully lock out at the top, nor stop to relax when at full stretch.
Keep the weight moving like a piston, up and down, but always with controlled tempo and form.
7. Extend Sets
For those who love to train at max intensity and achieve a pump/burn that can literally bring you to your knees, try adding in some set extending techniques such as supersets, tri-sets or giant sets, as well as some strip and rest/pause sets.
8. Time Under Tension
Try to make sure the majority of your sets last between 35 and 50 seconds if you really want to get a freakish pump.
This can even be accomplished with sets of only 6-8 repetitions if you take 3-4 seconds to lower the weight and 2-3 to raise it.
9. Less Rest is Best
When the main goal is manifesting a perpetual pump then try to take no longer than 45-90 seconds between sets, so that the blood has no choice but to remain in the muscle and continue to accumulate as the workout progresses.
10. Stretch it Out
Instead of just completely relaxing between each set, try stretching the target muscle hard, and hold for about 30 seconds.
This will force even greater blood flow and thus encourage an even sicker pump!
3 Week Workout to Pump Up Your Arms!
Enough talking about getting a pump – let's get PUMPED!
Below is a 3-week “Big-Gun Blast” meant to shock your arms into major growth by not only shocking and overloading them to the max, but also pumping ‘em to the point of near explosion!
|Cable Rope Hammer Curl||2/0/1||2||16-20|
|Lying Low Cable Curl||2/0/1||2||16-20|
|Seated Concentration Curl||4/1/1/1||2||6-8|
|Lying Barbell Extension||4/1/1||2||6-8|
|Bent Overhead Cable V Bar Extension||2/0/1||2||16-20|
|Seated Single Arm Overhead Dumbbell Extension||3/2/1||2||6-8|
|High Pulley Standing Cable Curl||2/4/1||2||7-9|
|Barbell Preacher Curl||2/0/1/4||2||7-9|
|Low Cable Curl||5/0/1/1||2||7-9|
|Seated Hammer Concentration Curl||2/1/4||2||7-9|
|Incline 2 Arm Overhead Dumbbell Extension||2/4/1||2||7-9|
|Lying Barbell Extension||5/0/1||3||10-12|
|A1. Barbell Preacher Curl||3/0/1||2||7-9|
|A2. Alternating Dumbbell Curl||3/0/1||2||7-9 Each|
|Barbell Curl (Rest-Pause)||3/0/1||2||7-9|
|High Pulley Standing Cable Curl (Drop Set)||2/0/1/1||1||7-9, 4-6|
|B1. Reverse Grip Pushdown||2/0/1/1||2||10-12|
|B2. Tricep Cable Pushdown||2/0/1/1||2||7-9|
|Smith Close Grip Bench Press (Rest-Pause)||3/0/1||2||7-9|
|Seated Single Arm Overhead Dumbbell Extension (Drop Set)||2/1/1||1-2||10-12, 6-8|