The Art and Science of the Ultimate Muscle Pump
Getting the perfect pump every workout will provide you with every ounce of motivation you need to continually drive your ass back into the gym and push it with the kind of intensity gym legends have made famous.
Bodybuilders call it the greatest feeling you can achieve. Some have even compared it to an orgasm. In fact, seven-time Mr Olympia winner Arnold Schwarzenegger was quoted in the movie Pumping Iron as stating just that.
The greatest feeling you can get in a gym or the most satisfying feeling you can get in the gym is the pump. Let’s say you train your biceps, blood is rushing in to your muscles and that’s what we call the pump. Your muscles get a really tight feeling like your skin is going to explode any minute and its really tight and it’s like someone is blowing air into your muscle and it just blows up and it feels different, it feels fantastic. It’s as satisfying to me as cumming is, you know, as in having sex with a woman and cumming. So can you believe how much I am in heaven? I am like getting the feeling of cumming in the gym; I’m getting the feeling of cumming at home; I’m getting the feeling of cumming backstage; when I pump up, when I pose out in front of 5000 people I get the same feeling, so I am cumming day and night. It’s terrific, right? So you know, I am in heaven.
– Arnold Schwarzenegger
The Pump – It is a thick swollen muscle, freakish vascularity and a feeling that you are leaving the gym with a set of larger muscles than you walked in with. It is physical and visual proof that you just annihilated another workout. It is a feeling of conquest that lends to an overdose of endorphins and a boost in pride. It is motivating, inspiring and comes complete with its own set of bragging rights. This kind of workout makes every inch of your body burn and has you coming back for more.
The pump, in its entirety, is just as much plateau-busting, as it is ego-boosting. The list of physiological benefits is endless and over time, these benefits can provide you with some massive gains in the gym, on the court, or out on the field. But if your training is simply falling short of the “pump,” it may be time for help.
To start, you must take both the psychological and physiological effects of the pump into consideration with a brief look at the science.
The Psychological Rocket Science
Okay, so this part is not so much rocket science, as it is a snowball effect. A good pump means you had an intense workout. Any intense workout is going to leave you feeling phenomenal and more motivated to come back and try harder. The harder you try, the better your gains. The more gains you see, the more you want to push it even harder. See what I mean? You cannot lose with a good pump. But behind all these released endorphins and increased motivation lies a network of capillaries, nutrients and oxygen that do add up to some scientific proof that you should be working towards a pump.
So, let’s get started.
The Physical Rocket Science
In the world of science the Pump is commonly referred to as Hyperemia. It is essentially the act of saturating working muscle tissue with oxygenated and nutrient-rich blood during rigorous physical activity. These contractions stimulate the release of increased Nitric Oxide (N.O.) into the blood stream, which causes local capillaries (blood vessels) to dilate, allowing more blood to flow into the muscle.
The Pump is essentially the act of saturating contracting muscle tissue with oxygenated and nutrient rich blood.
Increased N.O. plays many important roles within muscle tissue. Firstly, by increasing the blood flow to contracting muscle tissue, increased N.O. is able to play a preventative role in the formation of dangerous clots by keeping blood vessels smooth. Additionally, N.O. is released in response to increased acidity (lactic acid) in the muscle and actually helps to detoxify the muscle during intense training. Over time, intense training that leads to increased N.O. helps to expand the body’s capillary network. A larger capillary network improves blood circulation, athletic performance, body composition, and stimulates the growth of new muscle by releasing natural growth hormones.
Many products on the market today offer some assistance in increasing blood flow in your body. For example, phyto extracts, polyphenols and flavanols all contain properties that affect the body’s ability to increase delivery of oxygen-rich blood to muscle tissue. Moreover, these potent antioxidants also play a role in reducing the oxidation throughout the vascular system.
RAISING BLOOD ARGININE LEVELS IS THE KEY, BUT HOW DO WE GET THERE?
It’s a simple equation, raise the level of the amino acid arginine in the blood and your nitric oxide levels will increase and voila, you get relaxation of the blood vessels. Not so fast! Almost all of the nutrients you eat go straight to the liver before they get to your blood stream. The liver is awesome at breaking down arginine using an enzyme called arginase. So you have to consume a lot of Arginine to get your levels to be effective.
There’s another pitfall. Disaster pants! That’s right, as you start to get north of 8 g to 10 g of Arginine, you reach a level they call “tolerance”. This is the level (which is different for everyone) that your uptake of Arginine has reach its limit and the body’s response is… disaster pants. A good friend had a great quote for this that I’ve never forgotten, “Arginine, it gives you crazy hard ons and even crazier diarrhea!”. Bottom line, it works, but you’ve got to be real careful on your dosages.
Supplement science is always marching forward, looking for ways to achieve the results we’re all looking for without some of the drawbacks. Enter Arginine-Silicate-Inositol. This is a novel bonded group of elements where Arginine is bound to Silicate and Inositol to dramatically enhance its effectiveness and thereby delivering the promise of Arginine without the ah-hem, issues. Most studies focus on 1.5 g of ASI (tradename Nitrosigine®) and the results of bioavailability compared to other ingredients is impressive.
Citrulline Malate is the next most common ingredient used to increase blood Arginine levels. This one is interesting because in essence, it gets in through the side entrance. Meaning, while it doesn’t have any Arginine per se, it is well tolerated in terms of uptake, even at higher levels and it gets absorbed by the kidneys and gets converted into Arginine endogenously (in the body). Look for supplements that specify Citrulline Malate 2:1. This means that there are to Citrulline amino acids for each malic acid (or malate). This is the best case scenario because you get the most citrulline, while still getting a stable amino acid (citrulline by itself is unstable). What you’ll see most often is just “Citrulline Malate”. With no indication, you could be getting just 1-to1, or worse, a small fraction of actual citrulline with tons of cheaper malate.
B vitamins, specifically B3 and B9, also play a role in N.O. production. These vitamins serve as vasodilators and help to open up the capillary network, allowing for an increased flow of nutrients and oxygen. Additionally, B3 (niacin) will also help to deliver nutrients while removing toxic muscular waste.
ALLMAX Nutrition has simplified the science of the pump with HemaNOvol. This scientifically formulated N.O. stimulator includes Argi-N.O.-Nine, a complex blend of ingredients proven to act as precursors to bioavailable N.O. in the body. HemaNOvol is complete with phyto-nutrients such as Theobroma Cacao, an extract with similar antioxidant properties to that of green tea, but with almost six times the potency. It acts as a mild stimulant and diuretic and can also help suppress the appetite.
Theobroma cacao extract has almost 6X the potency of Green Tea!
Octacosanol helps to spare muscle glycogen and increase the muscles oxidative capacity. Finally, B vitamins 3 and 9 are matched with a Gamma-NOS complex. Both these complexes help to protect muscles against reactive free radicals created during physical activity by carrying away toxic muscular waste.
To achieve a true pump with HemaNOvol, take 5 pills on an empty stomach 30 minutes prior to your workout, and then incorporate the following tips:
TRAINING FOR THE PUMP
1. Dynamic Warm-Up
Get your blood pumping and your body sweating. The American College of Sports Medicine Journal reported that active hyperemia following a warm-up improved blood flow at the onset of high intensity exercise. Additionally, it contributed to an increased aerobic contribution to muscle energy metabolism. Try doing 10 minutes of high intensity intervals before you even hit the weights. This is a surefire way to get your heart rate up, your blood moving and your mind focused.
2. Warm-Up Sets
Begin your weight training by performing at least two warm-up sets on a compound exercise such as squats, deadlifts, lat pulldowns, or bench press. The warm-up sets should be typically light with higher reps to initiate muscle contraction.
3. Feel the Burn
Find the rep range that works for you. Do not work to failure but lift heavy enough to feel a burn. For me, four sets 10 to 12 reps (with proper form) gives my body a decent pump.
4. Stay Focused
Focus on form, range of motion, and time under tension with each rep. By fully extending and contracting the muscle, more blood will flow to the muscle.
5. Reduce your Rest Times
Keep your rest in between sets to a minimum, or superset muscle groups. Keeping your heart rate up will help keep the blood moving in your body.
Make sure you complete your last exercise of a specific body part with at least one drop set. That is, do the set with a given weight, once you begin to reach muscular failure, drop the weight to a lower amount and immediately restart until you reach muscular failure and repeat. This will really pool blood in the target muscle and provide a high level of muscle stimulation.
Your body doesn’t stop working when you put the weights down, and neither does HemaNOvol. Its sustained-release technology ensures that your pump lasts long after you have left the gym, to ensure your muscles receive the oxygen and nutrients it requires to recover.
Don’t let your gains fall short of the pump. Do yourself a favor and get the pump you want and need every time you enter the gym with HemaNOvol.
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- Kim H, Park S, Park T, Han DS. Octacosanol supplementation increases running endurance time and improves biochemical parameters after exhaustion in trained rats, Department of Food and Nutrition, Yonsei University, Seoul Korea.
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