Lifting weights, working out, training hard and grinding out rep after rep is what we do. We love every second of it and wouldn’t have it any other way. The joy we experience while in the gym is second to none and the satisfaction we get once the workout has been completed, has us wanting to come back for more.
Perhaps even better than all of this, is what we are chasing during the session, the pump. Those of us who have experienced this phenomenon and have witnessed our physiques fill out and transform right before our eyes, know that it’s the absolute best feeling you can have while in the gym.
In fact, it’s so good that we want it right away and want it to last for as long as possible so to encourage this, here are 10 strategies, in no particular order, you can use to improve your pumps and improve your experience in the gym.
Nutrition/Hydration for the Pump
– the best way to ensure you have what you need to get a great pump in the gym is to make sure your nutrition and hydration is on point. You can’t go to the gym on an empty tank and expect your body to perform. You also can’t expect your muscles to operate properly when in a dehydrated state. Get your meals in every two to three hours, drink a minimum of four to six liters of water daily and do this consistently for better pumps.
Use a Pre-workout
– there are lots of benefits to using a pre-workout drink and finding one that contains pump enhancing ingredients will go a long way towards filling you up. Start sipping on it a half hour to forty-five minutes prior to training to allow your body to absorb everything it contains. Note that I said sip on it-dry scooping isn’t the way to go.
Take it easy on the caffeine
– too much caffeine seems to limit the extent of the pump you should be getting. Take a look at the pre-workout you’re using and if it seems like a super dose, it could potentially interfere with those pump enhancing agents.
Use an intra-workout drink
– while training, it’s a great idea to keep feeding your muscles with quality ingredients that are geared towards recovery, energy and enhancing the pump. Be sure it also includes electrolytes as well. If it doesn’t, an easy fix is to simply add some salt to it yourself.
– far too often because of busy schedules, we just get right into the workout with little to no warmup. The body likes to idle for a bit to get ready, move some blood and oxygen around and get itself ready for the hard stuff. A little bit of time on the treadmill or bike is a great way to get blood flowing to prime it for a great pump to come.
Stretch in between sets
– stretching is something that many of us, including myself, fail to put an emphasis on despite knowing how important it is. If you don’t make a concerted effort to stretch already, a simple way to get it in while at the same time increasing your pump, is to do so in between sets. Just stretch out the target muscle while you are resting and watch what it does.
Flex in between sets
– you’re working hard through each set you complete, focusing on the stretch and squeeze of the movement and you’re getting good pumps. Well, why not just keep that going by flexing the target muscle hard in between sets. Keep forcing more blood in there for better pumps.
Reduce rest times
– if you’re training for strength and power, then you need a different resting time in between sets. If you’re chasing the pump, limit that rest time to thirty to forty-five seconds and just keep going. Go from one set to the next, one exercise to the next with little to no rest in some cases and watch how much you blow up.
Use intensity boosters
– everyone who loves a pump also loves supersets, drop sets, giant sets and anything else that can pump the muscles up quickly and effectively. You don’t necessarily have to fill your workout up with these things, but throwing them in somewhere will definitely boost those pumps.
BFR or Occlusion training
– this is a technique used by some, especially when trying to bring up lagging body parts or when heavier loads can’t be used for whatever the reason, but it does trigger an incredible response for great pumps. If you haven’t tried it yet, you may find that you love the feeling or not so much. It is worth giving a try but be sure you know what you’re doing first or have someone there with you who does.
If you are a true bodybuilding fan then you know what I am referring to when I make mention of the famous Arnold line. The pump really is such an amazing feeling that it becomes almost like an addiction for us who love training.
Seeing the vascularity when the muscles are filled to the brim, watching the metamorphosis occur in the gym mirror and feeling like someone just blew us up with an air compressor it just plain awesome. Try some or all of the tips above to ensure you experience this every time you’re in the gym and enjoy!
Author: Dana Bushell
Gym Star Team Member