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Top 8 Ways To Get The Best Muscle Pumps While Training

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.

        2013_08_12_Weight_Lifters_B

          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.

              88038410284---download-by-sonja-langford

                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.

                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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                  Published on March 8, 2019

                  How Adding Flow Yoga to Your Workout Routine Boosts Your Gains

                  How Adding Flow Yoga to Your Workout Routine Boosts Your Gains

                  When we fall into a workout routine, our moves become automatic, and the body quickly adapts. This is called muscle memory.[1] While teaching your body how to properly execute squats, push-ups, or crunches is a benefit, overly relying on these moves to consistently grow gains won’t yield the kind of results you want. That’s because the muscles work in the same way every time.

                  Simply put, they’re not being “surprised,” so they get lazy.

                  Supplementing your routine with flow yoga is one way of surprising your muscles, especially if you are new to the yoga practice and have never tried the postures. It’s like taking a new road home when you drive, deviating from your usual route. Science has found that by doing so, you’re creating new neuropathways in your brain.[2] The same is done in your muscles when you try a new routine.

                  How is this done? Let’s dive right into it.

                  How Flow Yoga Boost Your Gains in Your Workout Routine

                  Think about your current workouts:

                  If you lift weights, you rely on external tools to engage your various muscle groups. Over time, your shoulders, legs, or biceps will come to expect the weighted plates or dumbbells, in the repetitive sequences that you remember.

                  In flow yoga, we use the body as the weight. Add gravity and hundreds of different postures and combinations, and you have a workout that uses the same muscle groups, but in many different ways.

                  A pose such as plank is a full-body workout, with every muscle engaged to keep the body in one long line. While it’s a stationary pose, it requires muscle control and activation, with no room for passivity.

                    A Flow sequence, on the other hand, requires your muscle to switch from one pose to another swiftly, providing you with a more balanced and wholesome use of your major muscle groups.

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                    Not only do these poses and routines re-energize the body in a refreshing way, they also allow you to learn something new, which is powerful for the mind.

                    Bottom line? Complementing your exercise regimen with flow yoga is like hitting the shuffle button on your workouts, using your muscles in ways that “surprise” them, which in turn boost their growth and performance.

                    Energizing Flow Yoga with Added Cardio

                    Flow yoga is also known as “Vinyasa.”[3] In Sanskrit – the sacred language of the practice and its Indian roots – Vinyasa is roughly translated to “one breath, one movement.”

                    This guideline, first and foremost, enhances your breathing, and teaches you how to go from our typical shallow, chest-only breathing, to a more deeper, belly-chest breath that uses the entire lung system.

                    Not only is this beneficial for a myriad of healthcare reasons (combat allergies, eliminate toxins, reduce stress, ease anxiety), it also greatly impacts our muscles,[4] and therefore our workout.

                    Flooding your muscles with rich oxygen will only keep them healthy, while the cardio benefit will get you warmed up to take on the more challenging postures in a flow yoga class. This prevents injuries and cramping.

                    The best example of energizing cardio in flow yoga is the Sun Salutation sequence. Each pose is completed on an inhale or an exhale, until the sequence is finished. One full sequence may be repeated several times, encouraging you to take fuller and deeper breaths. The cycles warm up and loosen the body and prepare the muscles for stationary poses that are held longer.

                    Here’s how to do a Sun Salutation Flow:

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                    Due to the Sun Salutations, the muscles are not thrown into a challenging workout, but rather primed and prepared with energizing breath.

                    Why is this important, you ask? Because happy muscles are warmed-up muscles.

                    The Best Thing About Flow Yoga

                    The best thing about practicing flow yoga? You’re building strength and flexibility.

                    Strength and flexibility are like the Mecca of a wholesome workout routine. Before we get into why this is important, let’s break these two down individually to see how they stand up on their own:

                    Meet Strong Stan

                    Strong Stan is at the gym, doing bicep curls with massive dumbbells. His muscles have peaked in size, and he proudly displays them.

                    While he loves to lift weights, Strong Stan often skips stretching or warm-ups. He just doesn’t see how that could help him continue his muscle gains, so he jumps right into a heavy workout.

                    While it’s not evident to a passerby, Stan’s muscles are hurting. Without sufficient flexibility or deliberate stretching, Stan’s muscles are shortening and getting tighter. This eventually leads to joint injuries,[5] because un-stretched muscles have limited range of motion.

                    Big muscles are a sure indicator of strength, but here’s the kicker – choosing not to prioritize flexibility will keep them inherently at risk.

                    Meet Flexible Fiona

                    Flexible Fiona is in a flow yoga class, easing herself into a backbend.[6] She effortlessly gets into the pose, and “hangs” out there for a few breaths while the teacher cues the class.

                    Even though the teacher instructs the students to engage their glutes and be mindful that this is an active pose, Flexible Fiona opts otherwise, and relaxes into the posture by sacrificing the strength she ought to be building.

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                    To many in the class, Fiona’s execution of the backbend would be a success – maybe even something to envy. However, what Fiona doesn’t realize is that her excessive flexibility is actually a detriment to her joints.[7]

                    Flexibility has been defined as the “absolute range of motion” by Tony Gummerson, Martial Arts instructor. For people who are naturally flexible, that line of absolute range is often blurry and, in practice, overlooked.

                    It’s very easy for Fiona to go above and beyond her range of motion, since her flexibility parameters are much wider than what Strong Stan may experience in a similar pose.

                    Because she doesn’t feel the stretch in the same degree of motion as other students in class, Fiona has to push the envelope of her flexibility. This puts too much pressure on the joints that are already overworked, and it overstretches the muscles that are now prone to tearing.

                    Your goal is to create muscle and joint balance and wholeness.

                    What Strong Stan and Flexible Fiona have in common is that they’re both missing vital pieces of muscle awareness.

                    In Stan’s case, heavy and tight muscles crave flexibility. Without it, not only would Stan hit a plateau in his gains because of a sure injury, but he would miss out on having the lean and toned muscles that we all want to have.

                    In Fiona’s case, her overstretched muscles are not getting a workout at all. Rather, her excessive flexibility is resting on her joints, which leads to definite injury.

                    So what can you do? It’s quite simple.

                    You have to give your muscles the opposite of what they’re used to.

                    If you’re a Stan and hate stretching, focusing on your flexibility is key. You will lengthen your tight muscles, and you’ll create new muscle memory by practicing routines that are new to you and your muscle groups.

                    If you’re a Fiona and hate strengthening, focusing on this priority is vital. Your muscles are used to being passive as you stretch, so shaking up the usual and putting them to work will not only keep you injury-free, but that much closer to the muscle gains you’ve been looking for.

                    Fortunately, flow yoga is the whole package, and can be the one-stop-shop for both Stan and Fiona.

                      Final Thoughts

                      If you’re serious about using flow yoga to supplement your workout routine to boost gains, sign up for a class at your local gym or yoga studio. There are a number of styles of yoga to try, but as we’ve discussed in this article, the Vinyasa style is your best bet to complement a moderate exercise regimen.

                      Many studios offer beginner-style Vinyasa classes, where the instructor will explain the basics, and break down the sequences in a pace that is suitable for entry-level students. From here, the student can build upon their practice, and opt for more challenging, fast-paced classes, such as Power Flow or Ashtanga.

                      Working out is a lesson in teaching your muscles. The gains that we grow are the result of that experience, and it all comes down to conditioning our body in a way that is healthy, efficient, and balanced.

                      With a practice like flow yoga, we can offer supplemental training to our current regimen that will work our muscles in ways that are new, refreshing, and “surprising.” This method will keep our muscles toned and lean, as long as we prioritize the balance between strength and flexibility to ensure that we’re meeting both of these needs. Our muscle gains and body health depend on it.

                      More Resources About Yoga and Fitness

                      Featured photo credit: Edit Sztazics via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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