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Top 8 Ways To Get The Best Muscle Pumps While Training

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Top 8 Ways To Get The Best Muscle Pumps While Training

If you’ve been lifting weights for a while, one of the main things you’ll be more than familiar with in the gym is the almighty pump.

This is what happens when you train a muscle with such concentration and focus that it fills with blood and has a tight, pumped-up feeling. Most like it because of the way it feels, but also because of how it looks while it’s in full effect. You look bigger, fuller, and thicker and get a glimpse of what you could look like all the time with just a few more months of training. It’s a feeling that’s so good that legendary bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger compared it to being as fulfilling as an orgasm. And experienced lifters agree, it really is that good.

But it’s not just about vanity, achieving an optimal pump is key to improving your overall muscle mass. With regular pumps, your muscles adapt to the work load and produce more blood vessels to handle the stress. This allows your muscles to use more nutrients and oxygen to achieve a better pump and faster muscle growth.

However, not many know how to get the most out of it. In this short article, we’ve put together a list of the top 8 ways that you can get the best results come lifting time.

1. Eat A LOT Of Carbohydrates

If you’re on a low carb diet, this may be why your gym sessions have been lacking recently.

One of the main things you need to be getting into your body when looking for a serious pump is glycogen, and the only way you’re going to get that is through carbohydrates.

Glycogen is essentially stored carbohydrates in your muscles, and is pretty much what fuels your workout and also ensures that your muscles have enough water in them. When your muscles have all the glycogen they need, they allow you to hit your workout at maximum intensity, which allows you to create more muscle fibers and push more blood and water into your muscles.

This doesn’t mean you can just eat any food that is rich in carbohydrates (you can put the Pop Tarts down), aim for healthy options with slow-releasing energy (complex carbs) like oats, brown rice, or quinoa.

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More-Rice

    2. Increase Nitric Oxide levels (Your Secret Weapon!)

    If you want to have the ultimate pump, you need to be looking to improve your nitric oxide levels. Nitric Oxide is your best bet for getting a solid pump — it’s the molecule that regulates blood vessel dilation. And the more dilated your blood vessels are, the more blood they push into your muscles for that skin-splitting pump.

    There are numerous ways you can boost the amount of nitric oxide in your body, but one of the best methods is to make simple tweaks in your diet.

    The cocoa in dark chocolate has been seen in studies to have a great effect on overall blood flow and blood vessel dilation, and the same is said for other household food and drinks like black tea and watermelons.

    You can always supplement to improve your NO levels too — natural nutrients like Red Asian Ginseng and L-Citrulline (a derivative of watermelon) have been shown to have a host of benefits for raising circulation and overall gym pump.

    watermelon

      3. Up Your Water Intake

      One of the main ways you’re going to get a better pump is to ensure your body’s produced as much blood as it can, and the best way to do that is to stay hydrated.

      Over half of what makes up your blood in your body is water, so it’s important that you’re constantly giving your body enough of it to get the best results. Make sure you’re taking in at least 2 and a half liters of the clear stuff a day to ensure you’re getting the full benefit.

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      thirst

        4. Less Rest = More Results

        Unless you’re performing a workout that depends on it, chances are you’re not counting how long you’re resting between sets — but you totally should be.

        Most lifters usually leave a few minutes after each set before attempting the next one — especially if they’ve been dealing in heavy weights. Our advice is to lighten the weight and knock that time down to a conservative 30-60 seconds. This shorter amount of time reduces the amount of blood that can leave your muscles in between sets. By giving them a shorter rest, you’ll fill them up with more blood and get a more satisfying pump.

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          5. Higher Reps For The Highest Form Of Pump

          One of the better ways to train for a pump is to work out at high rep ranges. Most beginners usually hover around the 8-10 rep range, and this is fine for getting that balance between both size and strength. However, if you’re looking to have that superhuman pump, you’re going have to put in a lot more reps than that.

          To get that Hulk-like feeling that you get from blood rushing to your muscles, you need a reason for it to be there, and a lot of reps makes that happen.

          The more reps you do in one set exhausts and recruits more muscle fibers in that particular body part. To support your lift, your body sends in as much blood as it can to ensure you don’t drop it.

          It’s a great way to really bring out your size.

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          venice-muscle-beach

            6. Super Sets Are Super Effective

            Super setting is a way for you to take your pump from high reps to the next level.

            If you haven’t heard of “Super Setting,” it’s essentially training a different muscle, or different area of the muscle, instead of taking a rest. This keeps the blood in that area and makes sure the muscle group is constantly under tension. It’s a lot harder to pull off, but the pump is unbelievable.

            A good example of an effective super set would be a lat pull down and a cable row. Both exercises train different areas of the back and it encourages your body to send more and more blood that way. You’ll definitely feel the burn.

            USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77)_140616-N-MU440-033

              7. Take It Slow And You Will Grow

              This is one of the most underrated ways to workout: slow reps.

              So many guys in the gym seem to use weights heavier than they can handle, and the result is them trying to get the set finished by getting momentum on their side — and speed is a good way to achieve this.

              Going too quickly in the gym and relying solely on this momentum stops your body from having full control over the weight. This means you’re not recruiting muscle fibers as efficiently or supersizing your pump.

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              With slow controlled movements, you can really squeeze the blood into your muscles and activate as many muscle fibers as possible.

              If you lower the weight, and think about moving your muscles rather than moving the weight, you’ll definitely feel a lot more benefit.

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                8. Negative Reps Bring Positive Experiences

                In a similar vein, negative reps are another form of exercise which is often overlooked.

                Negative reps are the final end of the movement in a lift, for example think of a bicep curl, when you’re returning the weight back down — that’s the negative part of the lift, and it can be a goldmine for pumps.

                Instead of just dropping a weight back to the starting position to hammer out another rep, why not see how slowly you can make that journey back? This recruits a lot more of the stabilizing muscle fibers in your body and sends even more blood to the area to support the action.

                It makes a serious difference, and if you’ve never done it before, you’ll feel amazing during your session — and sore as hell the next day.

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                Weights-1

                  Photo Credits: More Rice, Watermelon, Thirst2013_08_12_Weight_Lifters_B, Venice Muscle BeachUSS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77)_140616-N-MU440-03388038410284 – download by sonja langford, Weights 1

                  Featured photo credit: Sandra Wickham Fall Classic 2014 via flickr.com

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                  Saul McArthur

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                  Last Updated on September 8, 2021

                  10 Fitness Excuses You Need to Stop Making Now

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                  10 Fitness Excuses You Need to Stop Making Now

                  “You can have results or excuses. Not both.” – Anonymous

                  Human beings tend to only ever do as much as they absolutely need to.

                  Motivational speakers call this innate trait laziness, biologists call it efficiency. Either way, the fact remains: we are evolutionary wired to minimize time and energy wherever possible.

                  And this is not necessarily a bad thing. If we weren’t wired this way, we probably wouldn’t have survived this long as a species.

                  Back in our caveman days, before supermarkets, calories were worth their weight in gold. For cavemen, trying to actively burn off calories would have spelled certain death.

                  In this light, our fitness excuses make total sense. Our reptilian brain comes up with believable sounding rationalizations to stop us from burning off our precious calories; to minimize time and energy.

                  Unfortunately, due to our present access to highly calorific foods, the fitness excuses that once ensured our survival, now send us to an early grave.

                  Below I’ve provided the 10 most common fitness excuses our reptilian minds trick us into believing and why, ultimately, they’re all nonsense.

                  1. I don’t have enough time.

                  This is probably the most common fitness excuse of them all.

                  First off, when you say you don’t have enough time, what you’re really saying is “I don’t have enough time for that”. 

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                  Do you really think that if you were to add up all the time you spend watching TV and surfing the web throughout the average week you couldn’t replace any of it with a workout?

                  A 30 minute workout takes up 2% of your day.

                  Don’t ask yourself how much time you’re going to waste by working out a few times a week. Ask yourself how much of your life you’re going to waste being unfit and overweight.

                  2. I’m way too tired to workout.

                  Your mind, when it comes to exercising, is like a spoiled child. If you give in to its demands without a fight, it will see weakness and prey on it often.

                  If you miss one planned session, you’re much more likely to miss the next. The biggest journey always starts with one step and the biggest failings always start with one step backwards.

                  You need to show your mind who’s boss. You won’t always have lots of energy when you go to the gym but that doesn’t matter. The only thing that counts is showing up and giving it a shot.

                  If you’re too tired to workout, change your sleeping habits, not your workout habits.

                  3. But exercise is so boring!

                  You don’t want to exercise because it’s boring?

                  So you find brushing your teeth, taking showers, styling your hair and getting dressed highly entertaining? No. We do these things because we have to. We accept them as part of life.

                  The people who never miss a workout are the ones who view it just like brushing their teeth. Complaining about it is just pointless. To be successful sometimes you’ve got to do things that aren’t as fun as watching your favorite TV show. That’s just life.

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                  If don’t enjoy your workouts, you don’t stop working out, you just workout differently. Try crossfit, martial arts, hiking, body building, powerlifting, running, or swimming. Try music. Try anything, but keep showing up.

                  4. I have no motivation to workout.

                  If you think you need motivation to train you’re already half beat.

                  What you really need is meta motivation: the motivation to train even when you’re not motivated. If you rely on your feelings to decide whether to workout or not, you never will. As you know, your feelings are designed to keep you caged up in your comfort pit.  Your feelings want you to be safe, not successful.

                  That said, there is a trick you can use to get yourself motivated to workout, and it’s  backed up with research. It’s called ‘the few minutes’ principle.

                  The basic idea is that procrastinators often put off doing certain things because the size of the task in front of them seems too overwhelming. By deciding to just go to the gym for a ‘few minutes’ you’ll often see the workout through to completion.

                  Are you motivated enough to train for two minutes? That’s all you need.

                  5. I have kids to look after.

                  One day your kids might have someone to look after too: you.

                  Don’t burden them with an ill parent when they have their own kids to look after. And don’t be the kind of parent who tells their kids exercise is good for them but doesn’t follow their own advice. Kids are smarter than that.

                  If you’re really struggling with managing your fitness and your kids, combine the two. Find a field and play frisbee for a few hours, go swimming, take a walk around the lake and feed some ducks. There are so many fun and cheap ways to exercise with your kids, the only limits are your imagination.

                  You kids should be your biggest reason to exercise, not your biggest excuse.

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                  6. I don’t have anyone to train with.

                  What you’re really saying with this fitness excuse is that you don’t have anyone to talk with while you train. If you’re training properly, you won’t need to talk.

                  Don’t get me wrong, having a training partner is great but here’s what you’ve got to understand: most people first meet their training partners at the gym. The reason you probably don’t have anyone to train with is because you don’t have many friends who train. Like attracts like.

                  By becoming someone who regularly trains, you’ll start attracting people into your life who also value health and fitness. You have to earn your training partners, they don’t come free.

                  7. I don’t feel very well.

                  After you get into the habit of overriding your fitness excuses and working out regularly, the thought of missing a workout starts to drive you insane. When I broke my jaw in two places the doctors told me I couldn’t lift heavy weights for three months. What did I do? I lifted light weights instead. Train smart, not hard.

                  At some point in our lives we’ve all pretended to be ill so we could skip a day of school. Some of the better actors among us probably blurred the lines in their mind between real symptoms and those imagined. It’s easy to exaggerate things when it fits our agenda.

                  If you’re really sick, I don’t recommend you train. But feeling a bit tired or achy – that’s no reason to skip a workout.

                  8. The gym is too expensive or far.

                  If you think you need a gym to achieve your fitness goals, you’ve been seriously misled.

                  The world is your fitness playground. Ever watched a training scene from a Rocky movie? He chases chickens, runs up steps, punches meat, and chops wood. Many people cite these scenes as their favorite.  Something about training dirty and raw resonates deep within us.

                  There are whole fitness subcultures dedicated to working out outdoors, and without formal equipment. Ever heard of Calisthenics, Tai Chi, Yoga or Parkour? Look them up.

                  If you want to put on muscle, try some typical strongman training like chopping wood, flipping tires, lifting barrels. Remember, if it’s important enough to you, you’ll find a way. Arnold Schwarzenegger made his own gym equipment out of chairs and sticks for the first year he trained. He claims he gained 25 pounds of muscle from doing this.

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                  9. I don’t know how to train properly.

                  If you’re reading this article, you’re obviously more than capable of figuring this out. The internet is brimming with routines and training tips. This site alone will give you more than you need. Read these 10 tips for better workouts, perfect for beginners.

                  However, it’s important that you don’t get too engulfed in the theory of ‘training properly’. Like most things in life, you learn best on the job. Ask people in the gym to show you how to use proper technique, then practice through action.

                  People love giving out tips. You might even get a training partner out of it.

                  10. I feel intimidated by the fit people there.

                  This is normal and everyone has this when they first start out. The environment is new, everyone there looks like they know what they’re doing. You feel like you’re in someone else’s home.

                  The number one reason you feel intimidated when you go to the gym is because you don’t go enough! If you started going regularly you’d get used to the place, the people and your fitness would improve. Everyone knows training improves your confidence. Just stick with it. It’s something you’ll laugh at a few months down the line.

                  Anyone can get in great shape. Anyone can become fit. But very few people ever do because they give in to their natural inclination to minimize time and effort.

                  Stop making excuses and just stick with it for two months. After that you’ll be finding excuses to workout even when you do have important stuff to get on with.

                  Featured photo credit: United Artists, Chartoff-Winkler Productions via Rocky (1976)

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