The Pump is the stuff of legend. Ever since Arnold Schwarzenegger first mentioned its existence, the pump has been the goal of any individual who embraces a life spent with the iron.
While there’s no denying the pleasure and appeal of the pump, a debate has erupted between bros and science buffs as to whether or not getting a pump rolling during your workout actually has any benefit aside from inflating your ego.
So, does a pump help build muscle, or is it all show, no go? Let’s discuss!
When pursuing the ever-elusive pump, lifters are ultimately concerned with enhancing vasodilation, the widening and relaxing of blood vessels. This widening or enlarging of blood vessels expands the diameter of the blood vessel and leads to some pretty incredible things. All of which are important for muscle building!
Increased Blood Flow
A wider, more dilated blood vessel allows for greater blood to flow through it, which means more nutrient rich blood is transported to your muscles, delivering the essentials it needs to repair and grow.
Improve Nutrient Delivery
Compounding off the previous point, blood carries with it essential nutrients used by your muscles to function, repair, and grow. With more blood reaching your muscle, more of these critical nutrients are supplied at a faster rate, leading to greater performance, endurance, and recovery.
Greater Oxygen Delivery
Oxygen is one of the critical nutrients carried in the blood and used by your muscles to break down glucose and create the energy source for your muscles to perform known as ATP. More blood flow, leads to more oxygen delivery, supporting increased energy production during training for superior performance.
Massive Muscle Pumps
The pump is a result of increased blood flow to muscle cells, which increases intracellular pressure. The result of this increased pressure is muscle cell enlargement manifested as sleeve-busting muscle pumps.
Improved Waste Clearance
In addition to delivering oxygen and nutrients to working muscles, blood is also tasked with the duty of removing metabolic waste products (carbon dioxide, urea, lactic acid) that accumulate as a result of physical exercise. Increased blood flow helps clear these byproducts more effectively, leading to better endurance and decreased recovery times while training.
Enhanced Hormone Transport
Blood also delivers important muscle-building hormones like IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1), Growth Hormone, and testosterone to skeletal muscle cells during and after exercise. If you’re keen on making gains, you want more of these hormones delivered to your muscles!
Core Temperature Regulation
Last, but certainly not least, blood flow also improves core temperature regulation. This helps prevent you from becoming overheated or dehydrated while training, ultimately enabling you to perform better for longer periods of time and make more gains!
Pumps and Hypertrophy
Building muscle (i.e. hypertrophy) is extremely dependent upon the net protein balance in the body, meaning, protein gain must be greater than protein loss in order for muscle growth to take place.
Remember that getting a pump increases blood flow, oxygen transport, and nutrient delivery to working muscles, which supports and enhances the natural anabolic processes of the body. Therefore, it stands to reason that increasing blood flow (getting a pump) may enhance protein synthesis and combat muscle breakdown, resulting in superior muscle growth.
But there’s more.
The body sees muscle cell expansion (increase in size) as a threat to the cell’s survival. The body responds by reinforcing the structure of the cell, which leads to increased size and strength.
As you can see, getting a massive pump while lifting is far more than purely aesthetics...it’s helping to grow too! In fact, research confirms this: “In summary, the results of our study demonstrate that net protein synthesis during amino acid administration can be doubled by previous performance of heavy resistance exercise. Moreover, the data suggest a link between the stimulation of protein synthesis after exercise and an acceleration in amino acid transport. The greater rate of transport after exercise may be due to the increase in blood flow.” <1>
What the researchers concluded is that physical activity (such as weight lifting) improves delivery of amino acids to your muscles, enhancing repair and growth. It stands to reason that further increasing blood flow, as a result of getting a pump, you can increase that amino acid delivery even more, leading to bigger and better gains that you would had you not gotten a pump.
Last but not least, getting a pump increases your mood, self-confidence, and motivation. There’s no denying the pleasure you feel from getting a pump rolling during your workout, don’t kid yourself. In your effort to maintain and increase your pump even more, you may find yourself grinding extra hard during your workout, which could lead to moving more weight or doing more reps, which leads to muscle growth!
Ways to Achieve a Pump
Yes, the pump is truly awesome, and for a number of reasons. There’s a number of things you can do heading into the gym to ensure that you’re guaranteed one monster pump while training.
Heading into your workout, you need to be focused on making every rep count, squeezing the muscle as hard as you gain to drive as much blood as possible into the muscle and creating a powerful muscle pump. It’s not always easy to train this hard and with this much intensity day after day. That’s where pre-workouts come in. They provide everything you need to get focused and have a terrific workout. There’s no better option than SteelFit® Steel Pump™.
Steel Pump™ includes a potent trifecta of ingredients to help you achieve and sustain a raging muscle pump all workout long. Utilizing proven pump-powering compounds including citrulline malate, glutathione, and grape seed extract, Steel Pump™ turbocharges nitric oxide production, blows open blood vessels, and gorges your muscles with blood making for some of the largest pumps you’ve ever experienced!
Carbs are you friend
Carbs are often demonized in today’s nutrition landscape, but for hard-training athletes, they’re absolutely essential. Your body uses carbs to generate glycogen, which is the stored form of energy your muscles use during high intensity activities, such as weight lifting or running. When your body stores glycogen, it also stores some water along with it, which enhances muscle fullness and gives you more shapely and rounded muscles.
Don’t skimp on the salt
Much like carbs, salt (sodium) is heavily criticized these days for all sorts of reasons. But, it’s one of the most critical minerals in the body. Sodium affects everything from nerve function to hydration and even muscle contractions. As such, it plays a vital role in getting a sleeve-busting pump.
Having a salty snack pre-workout helps your body hold onto more water, which drives more fluid into your blood system, yielding bigger, better, and badder pumps!
High Rep Training
Low rep training is great for increasing pure strength, and can even benefit hypertrophy, but when it comes to getting your pump on, high rep training is what your focus should be. Training in the higher rep ranges (8-20 reps) keeps the muscle under tension for longer periods of time, driving more and more blood into the muscle (along with extra nutrients), creating a towering pump.
Get you Pump on with Steel Pump!
The Pump isn’t just for looks, it’s a valuable weapon in the quest for gains! The only way to ensure you get a pump each and every time you step foot under the bar is with Steel Pump™.
It’s an essential pre-training fuel the provides everything the mind and body needs to perform at its best no matter what the circumstances may be. One scoop of Steel Pump and your muscles will have everything they need to blow up and create a massive pump that will have you looking swole and making those epic gains you’ve always wanted!
- Biolo G, Tipton KD, Klein S, Wolfe RR. An abundant supply of amino acids enhances the metabolic effect of exercise on muscle protein. Am J Physiol. 1997;273(1 Pt 1):E122-9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9252488