Your Muscle Pump?

Your muscle pump

What Exactly Is A Muscle Pump?

Dynamic weight training.com introduces your muscle pump and some of it's many contributing factors.

Whether your newer to-or advanced in your training efforts the pump is what you will begin to experience early on in your weight training, this sensation you experience is the blood engorged muscles swelling up; generally well beyond their normal size as a result of training effort...

Even vein and vessel size will begin to grow and show, producing a network of pipe line activity that now begins to bulge from beneath the skin, producing the ultimate sensation in weight training... the Pump. 


This stimulating sense in males and in females often makes you feel bigpowerful and very energy driven.

This sensation can be controlled somewhat even increased, if you keep your training intense enough while staying focused on rep and set intensity levels, during training performance.

A good muscle pump is produced in weight training from exercises performed with both full and partial range movements, while contracting within each rep. This contraction pushes blood, oxygen and nutrients into the muscle being trained.

Your pump is the extended effort of the body’s blood being pumped and fully engorged to each muscle belly, the pump in simple terms is: the action of the blood rushing into the muscles and engorging them faster than the body’s circulatory system can remove it!

This sensation is often coveted by both weight lifters and bodybuilders alike, is the 'pump'. Hence:  the stronger the intensity toward the contraction, the bigger and more intense will your muscle pump become. 



How Do You Achieve A Good Muscle Pump?

This is a great question, and deserves a good answer. Your muscle pump is produced from exercises performed repetitively, with resistance aimed at higher rep levels.

Solid training form and exercise movement is often focused to one area or even to one body part specifically.

If resistance levels are maintained to 8 - 12 reps: 

this anaerobic activity generally produces a good pump.

Rep ranges from 4 to 6 or 7 are usually training slower twitch fiber that produces better results for increasing strength. 

Even if you’re strong and well-conditioned using lighter weight and concentrating/focusing on each repetition in the concentric part of each contraction will contribute largely to increasing the pump sensation producing a stronger pump.

Isolation exercises do give a good pump, but I’ve personally found shorter rests and compound-based-movements often produce the best ones. This of course will vary from each person’s lifting experience and skill level.

Try not to get too hung up on the rep ranges, some feel a good pump with as little as 5 to 7 reps while others need 10 to 15. The rep ranges are only a guide, nothing more.

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 Your Muscle Pump, Is It important?

The old adage, if you ask 10 guys you’ll probably get 10 different answers.

I personally find that the pump and the achievement of it are generally limited to the extent of how you are training, and what your training goals are - whether their strength or physique based, changes pump intensity. 

Training for strength generally means you’re doing fewer repetitions; strength training-or working towards increasing strength is going to mean: less repetitions and heavier weights with a more progressive attitude towards each set you perform.

Even in lower reps ranges, a strong pump can often be felt. The body should be letting you know that the muscle is being pushed. Again; your muscle pump intensity depends on goal related effort.

If the goal is strength related a greater pump will be received and achieved as intensity increases. Meaning: each time you learn to train passed yesterday's efforts, you will undoubtedly receive a greater pump, as deeper muscle fiber recruitment is reached.

So if you’re asking where does this leave me on how important is the muscle pump to growth expansion?

Increasing the pump

To clear this up: compound exercises with a rep range of 8 to 10, do commonly produce a better pump. There is however; as with many things, a slight curse hides-out here, often producing some falsehood in the pump sensation itself.

Just because you've achieved a good pump; doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve recruited enough motor units and stimulated enough muscle fiber to produce new growth...

If you’re only interested in having a good pump and this is what you train for, then great; the pump you’ve achieved from your training efforts is fine.

Try to be mindful that where strength and increasing overall muscle mass is concerned the pump is often not a great indicator in new production of muscle growth.

The pump you receive from progressively overloading, as in strength training with lower rep values, the muscle in the bigger body parts such as back, legs and chest will often not contract enough to produce as strong a pump, as in higher rep training...

Strength training usually doesn't leave the muscles as hard feeling as a good 10 to 12 rep muscle pump, but this sensation with the rubbery feeling from fatigue of using heavyweights can also be highly addictive once you experience the sensation at an advanced level. 

As with regular pumping motions with reps performed somewhere between 9 and 12, produce a very good hemoglobin producing pump which makes the muscle feel and look very full; but,

Will not always express near the fatigue you'll feel from overloading the muscles as you would in strength training.


How Does The muscle Pump Feel?

Your muscle pump

For beginner's: biologically both the training and nervous system struggle from the new work-load associated to early weight training conditioning.

Just the training early-on is taxing enough for most in the first few months, ultimately pump sensation at this point will vary with each persons natural athletic ability .

Arnie’s statement in 'Pumping Iron' probably coins the phrase on how the muscle pump actually feels,” it feels like someone’s pumping air into your arms”. This is a close description of how it actually does feel.

As your body becomes more oxygenated from the demands your putting on it anaerobically, it now begins to work and breathe harder producing more oxygen for the oxygen depleted muscle.

As intensity of these contractions is repetitively and continuously inflicted in each muscle group in each exercise-the adrenal glands become stimulated also.

These glands are capable of releasing different chemicals such as: Dopamine and Epinephrine: people know epinephrine by its other name... Adrenaline.

Releasing some of these hormones can put the body in a fight or flight mode. With this release of chemicals, and highly oxygenated blood from training intensity can trigger one more thing; the release of endorphins...

Depending on Pump Intensity often produces an intoxicating sense of well-being/euphoria. This of course is all attached to the muscle pump itself.

The cool thing about the muscle pump is:  this is one thing in life that is produced for free by our own bodies. It costs us nothing except a good diet and some vigorous weight training to produce this.

It has always seemed funny to me: of how people pay for and use recreational drugs each day and yet your body produces many stimulating chemicals naturally that can be accessed every dayIf you want!



    Going Beyond The Pump!

The first 3 to 5 sets on heavy training days, in a  5 to 8 reps range often creates a great pump, after these first initial sets; the muscles are now engorged with blood and oxygen...

As the intensity of each contraction in each rep increases, the pump will continue to increase but minimally, from the first 4 or 5 sets! The idea here is to stay focused and strict in your training movements.

This is not as easy as it sounds, the harder you focus on exercise form and contraction levels; things begin to slow down in your mind, making the resistance feel like it weighs twice as much.

If your training heavy: as you get to your sixth, seventh and eight set, the muscles may not feel quite as pumped, often taking on a rubbery feeling. especially If you’re training legs, this sensation can feel like the knees are going to buckle

Even though the muscles are hard and engorged sometimes a sensation of collapse can be felt. Not that the legs do, It’s just a sensation.

If you have reached past the year and a half to two year mark of advanced, consistent-training, athletes often take their pump to the next level; by training beyond the burn to ever-more increase the pumps intensity.

As beginners; beyond the pump is probably looking a bit too far forward, but give it time. As you advance and work towards the intermediate level, you too can experience this as well

Reasons For Not Getting A Good Pump?

Your Muscle Pump

As I mentioned before a good pump is almost purely psychological.

It's like walking in front of a mirror, if you feel you look great in the mirror hence: you'll probably feel great. The muscle pump has close to the same affect, often guy/gals attribute a great workout to a good pump. But...

If you’re not getting a great pump or even a good pump. This does not necessarily mean, you’re wasting your time or having a bad workout, some even assume there’s no growth producing affect without a good pump.

This is not true, the real growth and construction goes on when you’re sound asleep as I’m sure most of you already know.

If having a good muscle pump is Paramount to you psychologically and physically, and your pump to training stimulation has been poor lately, then here might be a few reasons for it's cause, most of these are usually simple in nature to correct.

 Common Reasons:

Not concentrating and connecting to your muscle mentally with each rep and squeezing on each contraction is often a common one.

  •   Over-training, not getting enough rest and sleep.
  •   Not concentrating and connecting to your muscle mentally with      each rep and squeezing on each contraction.
  •   Not producing enough repetitions 8 - 12
  •   Performing too many sets for your training level
  •  Lack of proper nutrition, keeping your body fueled throughout the day with enough complex carbs ‘yams, sweet potatoes, oatmeal etc.’, enough protein to make this synthesis happen, is important toward your muscle pump. Low or depleted glycogen stores can have a big impact on your pump.
  • Resting to long between sets will also deplete the pump, keeping your rest intervals shorter e.g., 30 to 45 seconds will help produce and keep your pump strong. 
  • Experimenting with set increments like supersets and tri-sets as there’s little or no rest with these types of sets, also contributes greatly to your muscle pump.
  •  Keeping interest in your training goes a long way towards the quality of your muscle pump; lack of motivation depletes this immensely. If the pump is Paramount to you: use a journal or diary, enter what you ate that day, how much sleep you received, how you trained, in what order including rep and set intervals? Also, make note: were you positive, how was your mood, etc. and reflect back on this, paves the way to creating a better Pump.

Conclusion: pay close attention to what gives you the best pump, so you can retrace your steps to recreate this affect in your training.



Don’t Be Discouraged By Your Muscle Pump!

Your muscle pump

Concluding:

From beginner to advanced - the pump can be very psychological, even difficult at times to associate a good workout with a small or poor pump.

But you’re going to find if you make weight training part of your lifestyle, this will be common. There will be days you’ll go to the gym and your energy stores will feel low, and you’ll have a great workout and produce a great pump.

For myself; there would be other days even when I felt energetic, but nothing I could do no matter how many sets and shorter rests and volume I would work at, could I produce a good pump!

There will always be those days where the Mind says go, but the body says no! Try if you can, to not let this affect training effort, as this is normal-all of us go through it.

Once again, I encourage you to experiment with your rep and set ranges, even rep speed and see what works best for you towards your muscle pump. Many different authors, weight lifters and bodybuilders have all written a great deal on the subject.

But honestly at the end of each day you and you alone know your body the best. Weight training is highly mental, even somewhat superstitious beliefs can exist in our minds towards having a great workout and how you feel from it.

In regards to your muscle pump, train with this in mind: you ultimately are the leader of your direction and destination in your weight training. 

all the rest is advice and doesn’t matter, it’s just advice; when you find something that works, exploited it!

There’s no such thing as a wasted workout from a poor pump, by simply arriving at the gym doors; you’ve already accomplished 70% of the effort towards your work-out that day.

Take the time to enjoy and have fun with your workouts and every great pump you achieve is a benefit, and your body's way of rewarding you for your efforts. I wish you the best with your muscle pump and hope the article was helpful.   

DWT      

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