Vascularity Definition – Chasing the Ultimate Pump. Part 1: The Importance of the Pump and Superior Fueling for Best Results
It’s one of the most sought-after of the muscle growth prerequisites. When it fails to occur, a workout is often deemed unproductive. So important is its status among serious bodybuilders that it’s become synonymous with lifting success.
The pumped feeling experienced when the muscles are fully engorged with blood is much more than a pleasant sensation. It’s a sign that the muscles have been primed for growth. Whenever we pump up, size is sure to follow. When it fails to materialize, we’ve likely missed an important opportunity to improve.
The intention of this article series is to highlight the importance of the pump, how and why it happens and, more important, how it can be enhanced to consistently produce the lean muscle gains you spend much of your life striving to achieve.
…the importance of the pump…enhanced to consistently produce the lean muscle gains you spend much of your life striving to achieve.
This first installment of our four-part series discusses how and why the pump occurs. How to best prime the pump through targeted supplementation will also be detailed.
In installments 2-4 you’ll be given a results-focused training plan for superior upper body gains, a detailed rationale as to how the discussed training insights may produce the best pumps of your lifting career and a selection of key strategies to maximize this most coveted of anabolic states.
The Importance of the Pump
Skin-bursting muscle pumps are closely linked with workout effectiveness and bodybuilding excellence. But pumping up is not the exclusive preserve of elite-level Olympians. Indeed, we can all achieve massive growth-inducing pumps. In fact, with the right information and a superior strategy for success, the muscle pump should be a present companion during each of your workouts. So keep reading as we at ALLMAX unleash the most effective pump-inducing training plan ever devised. But first, some background on this essential anabolic process.
Filling your muscles to full capacity not only looks and feels great but will ultimately allow you to build more muscle than ever before.
Many believe the pump to be mostly of cosmetic importance, producing, as it does, a relatively short-lived expansion of a well-trained muscle. However, it’s the associated long-term benefits of sustained muscle growth that we are most interested in.
Remember back to your bodybuilding beginnings, where the pump came hard and fast with every set. Quality muscle growth was also consistent at this time. As the pump gradually diminished over time, so too did your musclebuilding progress. A coincidence? Not if research is anything to go by.
According to a vast body of scientific research, the muscle pump and the training methods used to achieve it are both critical to bodybuilding success.18
While most of us do achieve a pumped sensation with intensive training, this effect will most likely have lessened over time. With the help of this article series you can recreate, and further enhance, the immense pumps of your early training efforts.
Integral to Musclebuilding: Producing the Pump
A muscle pump is not only pleasurable but also integral to building impressive amounts of quality muscle. This is how it works.
The tension and contractions created via heavy weights enhance blood flow to the working muscles. Nutrients are concurrently provided to assist the muscles to continue working against the contractile force of the weights. The accompanying continuous contractions constrict the veins thereby preventing blood and various metabolic byproducts from leaving the muscle.19
As the blood plasma continues to increase, the interstitial spaces surrounding the muscle are filled to capacity. Here, the extracellular pressure gradient of the muscles is raised, which causes blood to be shuttled into the muscle cells. This, in turn, creates a pronounced swelling effect, otherwise known as the pump.20
As we’ll learn later in this article series, the pump can be increased dramatically by keeping tension and training intensity high and rest between sets short. Then, as more and more blood enters the muscle and becomes trapped, the incremental engorgement gives rise (pun fully intended) to a killer pump.
Superior Shirt-Stretching Pumps
As many a dedicated bodybuilder will tell you, killer pumps inevitably lead to permanent positive changes to the structure and function of muscle tissue. These changes are achieved in various ways, all of which will be discussed as we progress through the workouts to follow.
A major means to optimizing the muscle pump is to increase osmotic changes within the muscle. Also referred to as cellular hydration, increased blood flow to the working muscles regulates protein accretion, thus sparking the onset of muscle protein synthesis while reducing protein degradation, the number one aim of all dedicated gym warriors.8, 19
It’s the fast twitch type II fibers that are especially sensitive to the effects of enhanced cellular hydration.5 As opposed to their slow twitch counterparts, the fast fibers contract more forcefully and grow fastest. The best way to stimulate them is to fully engorge them with blood.18 In other words we must pump them to full capacity!
With the specific training protocols, cutting-edge advice and advanced supplementation plan to follow you’ll soon be producing rock hard, growth-inducing pumps of the highest quality.
The most intensive pumps can only be achieved by stepping beyond the training norm and doing what science tells us is best. In installment two I’ll run you through the first part of an upper body workout specifically designed to cram a maximum amount of blood into each targeted muscle group so as to optimize cellular hydration and prompt quality growth.
Between each set I’ll explain what you should be feeling and why and a clear-cut scientifically-based rationale as to why the training methodologies used are the most effective for producing the prodigious pumps hardcore bodybuilders desire will also be provided.
Aside from the specific training factors to be discussed in this article series, it’s advanced supplementation that’ll provide you with an undisputed edge when it comes to pumping up. This means high-quality pre, intra and post workout nutrition in precisely apportioned dosages.
Even a training routine as effective as the one you are about to embark upon is unlikely to promote intense muscular swelling if you’re not first loading up on the right nutrition and supplementation. An optimally assimilated carb formula will give you the energy to repeatedly force maximum muscular contractions across an entire workout while ingredients such as arginine, agmatine and glycerol, renowned for their cell-swelling benefits, will rush maximum blood to the working muscles.2, 15
Additional quality carbs and aminos taken during the workout will help keep training intensity high and cell-swelling on the increase. At such times, the muscles are ultra-sensitive to the uptake of performance nutrients so we must capitalize on this prime opportunity for growth.2
Finally, whey proteins taken post-workout, when amino acid uptake is most efficient, will allow us to take advantage of the micro trauma and muscle protein synthesis that’s been stimulated via intensive training.
We recommended the following to help create and sustain immense pumps from the first set to the last and to keep post-workout protein synthesis and muscle growth on the increase.
2 Hours before Training
- 2 Scoops HEXAPRO
45 to 60 Minutes before Training
15 to 30 Minutes Post-Workout
Muscle Volumizing Creatine
Chasing the ultimate pump is made that much easier with the inclusion of Creatine. Adding Creatine, either as a single ingredient or as CVOL for maximum absorption, to your training arsenal will vastly increase the amount of water that can be transported to the working muscles.
The better hydrated the muscles, remembering that muscle is made up of around 75 percent water, the more pressure placed on the cell wall, the greater the muscle fascia stretch (to be discussed in more detail soon) and, ultimately, the more pronounced the pump.
Ingesting five grams of creatine post workout allows the body to more efficiently store it for future sessions.1 Stored creatine provides ample ATP (the body’s preferred fuel source) to enable the completion of many forceful contractions across an entire high intensity workout.
Coming Soon Part 2: The Workout – Chest and Back
- Antonio, J. et al. The effects of pre versus post workout supplementation of creatine monohydrate on body composition and strength. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2013
- Beckrich, B. (2013). Complete Blood Volume Training. Status Fitness.
- Esse´n-Gustavsson, B and Tesch, PA. Glycogen and triglyceride utilization in relation to muscle metabolic characteristics in men performing heavy-resistance exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol OccuplPhysiol 61: 5–10, 1990.
- Evans, WJ. Effects of exercise on senescent muscle. Clin Orthopaed Rel Res 403(Suppl.): S211–S220, 2002.
- Frigeri, A, Nicchia, GP, Verbavatz, JM, Valenti, G, and Svelto, M. Expression of aquaporin-4 in fast-twitch fibers of mammalian skeletal muscle. J Clin Invest 102: 695–703, 1998.
- Fry, AC. The role of resistance exercise intensity on muscle fibre adaptations. Sport Med 34: 663–679, 2004.
- Garg, C. Effects of isotonic (dynamic constant external resistance) eccentric strength training at various speeds on concentric and isometric strength of quadriceps muscle. Ind J Physiother Occup Ther 3: 2009.
- Grant, AC, Gow, IF, Zammit, VA, Shennan, DB. Regulation of protein synthesis in lactating rat mammary tissue by cell volume.Biochim Biophysic Acta 1475: 39–46, 2000.
- Goldspink, G. Gene expression in skeletal muscle. Biochem Soc Trans 30: 285–290, 2002.
- Hornberger, TA and Chien, S. Mechanical stimuli and nutrients regulate rapamycin-sensitive signaling through distinct mechanisms in skeletal muscle. J Cell Biochem 97: 1207–1216, 2006.
- Hill, M and Goldspink, G. Expression and splicing of the insulinlike growth factor gene in rodent muscle is associated with muscle satellite (stem) cell activation following local tissue damage. J Physiol 549: 409–418, 2003.
- Jensky, NE, Sims, JK, Dieli-Conwright, CM, Sattler, FR, Rice, JC, and Schroeder, ET. Exercise does not influence myostatin and follistatin messenger RNA expression in young women. J Strength Cond Res 24: 522–530, 2010.
- Krieger, JW. Single vs. multiple sets of resistance exercise for muscle hypertrophy: A meta-analysis. J Strength Cond Res 24: 1150–1159, 2010.
- Millar, ID, Barber, MC, Lomax, MA, Travers, MT, and Shennan, DB. Mammary protein synthesis is acutely regulated by the cellular hydration state. Biochem Biophys Res Comm 230: 351–355, 1997.
- Nogueira, W, Gentil, P, Mello, SN, Oliveira, RJ, Bezerra, AJ, and Bottaro, M. Effects of power training on muscle thickness of older men. Int J Sport Med 30: 200–204, 2009.
- Rooney, KJ, Herbert, RD, and Balnave, RJF. Fatigue contributes to the strength training stimulus. Med Sci Sport Exerc 26: 1160–1164, 1994.
- Robergs, RA, Ghiasvand, F, and Parker, D. Biochemistry of exercise induced metabolic acidosis. Am J Physiol. Reg Int Comp Physiol 287: R502–R516, 2003.
- Schoenfeld, B. The mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy and their application to resistance training. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Oct; 24(10):2857-72
- Stoll, B. Liver cell volume and protein synthesis. Biochem J 287: 217–222, 1992.
- Sjøgaard, G, Adams, RP, and Saltin, B. Water and ion shifts in skeletal muscle of humans with intense dynamic knee extension. Am J Physiol 248: R190–R196, 1985.
- Sjøgaard, G. Water and electrolyte fluxes during exercise and their relation to muscle fatigue. Acta Physiol Scan Suppl 556: 129–136, 1986.
- Schott, J, McCully, K, and Rutherford, OM. The role of metabolites in strength training. II. Short versus long isometric contractions. Eur J Appl Physiol 71: 337–341, 1995.
- Smith, RC and Rutherford, OM. The role of metabolites in strength training. I. A comparison of eccentric and concentric contractions. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 71: 332–336, 1995.
- Tesch, PA, Colliander, EB, and Kaiser, P. Muscle metabolism during intense, heavy-resistance exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 55: 362–366, 1986.
- Wolfe, BL, LeMura, LM, and Cole, PJ. Quantitative analysis of single- vs. multiple-set programs in resistance training. J Strength Cond Res 18: 35–47, 2004.
- Willardson, JM. The application of training to failure in periodized multiple-set resistance exercise programs. J Strength Cond Res 21: 628–631, 2007.
- Frank, K, et al. Agmatine – Scientific Review on Usage, Dosage, Side Effects. [Online] https://examine.com/supplements/agmatine/ retrieved on 29.11.17
- Frank, K, et al. Citrulline – Scientific Review on Usage, Dosage, Side Effects. [Online] https://examine.com/supplements/citrulline/ retrieved on 29.11.17
- Bartos, J. HydroMax Glycerol Powder 65%.” Glanbia Nutritionals. N.p., Aug. 2014