Let's be real, since the first day you felt the insane muscle pump of bodybuilding work outs, you've been trying to maximize that pump. Each session you try to get an even bigger pump than the work out before. Who could blame you? When you sweat out excess water weight and your muscles are pumped full of blood, you look the most aesthetic as hell! You look lean, vascular, and your muscles look even bigger. Why wouldn't we want to maximize the pump? Getting nutrients to the muscles, contracting the muscles better, and being stronger in the gym is nothing to scoff at. In this article describes four of the best ways to get a better muscle pump in the gym.
As discussed in my articles covering agmatine and vasky supplementation, taking a vasodilator can increase nitric oxide (which results in better blood flow). When nitric oxide is increased, more blood can make it's way to the targeted muscle area, shuttling heaping mounts of blood and nutrients. Ingredients such as Agmatine has been shown in studies to increase blood flow, decrease blood pressure, and improve nitric oxide. Agmatine has been, and will always be my favorite nitric oxide supplement. Improving the blood's ability to flow through the body means improving the blood's ability to flow right into your muscle cells.
Yes, the electrolyte you get from the salt you put on your breakfast everyday can actually help improve your pump in the gym. Don't get me wrong, overdoing your sodium intake is not recommended here. Rather, focusing your sodium intake around your pre-workout meal will be more beneficial to you when aiming for a sick muscle pump. Sodium, as we know, helps the body retain water. Also, blood in itself is 92 percent water. Guess what you fill your muscles with when you get a pump? Water! By consuming sodium pre-workout, you give your body the electrolytes to help achieve and maintain a pump without any serious changes to your diet.
Intra/Post Set Isometrics
Now that the nutrition/supplementation aspect is out of the way, let's look at the mechanical side of increasing your work out pumps. Either contracting your muscles between sets (flexing between sets) or performing paused repetitions (or even an isometric to failure on your last set) can both increase your pump when working out. How does this happen? Isomtric holds squeeze and contract the muscles for period of time. When this happens, you are initially "trapping" blood that has been flowing into the muscle. When you do this between sets, you combine a combination of flowing blood to the muscles and keeping the blood in the muscles.
Occlusion (Blood Flow Restriction) Training
Occlusion training, also called blood flow restriction training, is a method that has been used for quite some time, but has recently became popular again (another trend used, forgotten, then used again). Occlusion training deals with using a band, a lifting wrap, or another form of wrapping that involves covering the top of a limb (closest to the center of the body), for which the limb(s) being used have lowered blood circulation. These limbs wrapped are the ones that will be targeted during a given exercise. The goal which the wraps are to allow blood to circulate in the muscle (do to contracting the muscle through exercise), but lowering the amount of blood that leaves the area."Resistance training with BFR and low relative loads also displays greater post-exercise muscle protein synthesis, higher growth hormone elevations, and more robust molecular signalling responses than comparable conventional resistance training with matched loads", as explained HERE. Occlusion training is best performed with higher repetitions (15-30) with lighter loads (20-30 percent 1RM), while limiting yourself to only 30 seconds of rest (at maximum).
To get a muscle filling, skin stretching, and blood gorging muscle pumps, you can attack the pursuit through different angles. In order to maximize your work out muscle pump you can supplement with agmatine, consume sodium prior to your work out, perform isometric holds either between sets or during your last repetition of each set, and perform occlusion training at the end of your work out. Give these four tools to a better pump a try and you are on your way to achieving the best muscle pumps of your life!