You’ve discovered that magical pump feeling in the gym when blood is pumping through your veins and your muscles are popping. You feel incredible.
Then you get home and notice that it starts to fade and you return back to your normal size. How can you keep this feeling and get the most out of it?
How Long Does A Pump Last?
Most pumps will last about 2-3 hours after the workout. There are steps you can take to increase the duration and severity of your pump such as incorporating drop sets, super sets, and using mind muscle connection. These techniques will pump as much blood and nutrients into the muscles as possible, leaving you with a skin tearing pump. Nutrition and recovery are also key.
What Is A Pump
A muscle pump occurs when we lift weights that cause our muscles to shorten and contract. In scientific terms, the pump refers to transient hypertrophy which is the temporary growth of muscle.
A pump will make you appear bigger during your workout and slightly after. When our bodies undergo stress in the gym, the heart has to pump extra blood to the muscles.
The blood carries oxygen and nutrients that the muscles require getting through tough workouts. Lactic acid also accumulates in the muscles, which contributes to muscle soreness after training.
Lactic acid will draw in water to the muscles, making them appear bigger. So it is mostly fluids pumped in the muscles that make them appear bigger for that pump look.
The more water you are drinking while weight training, the more fluids that can be pumped into the muscles.
Any kind of exercise that gets blood flowing into the muscles can create a pump. However, weight training will give the best pump as the body will pump more blood due to a heavier load working against the muscles.
Most pumps will last about 2-3 hours after finishing a workout. Steps to increase the duration and intensity of the pump will be mentioned further in the article.
After this time the fluids are no longer required by the muscles as they are at rest. Your heart will quit pumping high amounts of nutrients into them, so they return back to normal size.
Yes, this is disappointing as you cannot have your pump all the time. Don’t worry though, when you train tomorrow it will return.
If you really require a quick pump to show off your muscles but don’t have time to hit the gym, you can quickly do some push-ups and body weight exercises in your living room.
The pump won’t compare to the one you get from the heavy weights in the gym, but it will be better than nothing.
Are They Beneficial?
Yes, aside from making you look crazy, a pump will benefit the muscle growing process in few different ways. First, it allows for more amino acid uptake as there is more blood and fluids pumping into the muscles.
Protein is broken down innto amino acids in the body, which are the building blocks of muscle. This will increase protein synthesis and lead to more muscle growth.
Training required for a pump that fills the muscles with blood is great for breaking down the muscles. They will then regrow bigger, which is a common goal in the gym.
Constantly using training methods to achieve a pump can fatigue the muscles and lead to overtraining. Leave 48 hours between training the same body part. This will give it enough time to recover for the next session.
Lightweight and high reps is usually the best way to achieve a good pump which is a pretty risk free way to train.
How To Have Longer Lasting Pumps
The more intense the workout is, the longer the pump will usually last. Performing a high number of reps or sets, or reducing rest times are great ways to increase the pump.
Keeping constant tension on your muscles will keep them full of blood and give you a crazy pump. Do a set or two at the end of your exercise where you don’t lock out at the end of the movement, keeping constant tension and blood flow.
For example if you were doing biceps curls you wouldn’t let the barbell touch your body at the bottom or reach the top of the movement. You would just rep this out with a lightweight and you will feel the burn and pump when you are finished.
Super sets or drop sets are other great training methods to do this. Super sets are where you switch from one exercise to another right after without resting in between.
Burn out your front delts by doing a set of dumbbell press and then go right into front raises after. Your front delts won’t get a break and will be left with a rewarding pump.
Drop sets are similar, but you perform the same exercise and just drop the weight with no rest in between. After doing as much reps as you can of chest press with 100 lbs, you immediately lower the weight to 70lbs and rep that out.
This forces even more blood into the muscle.
Holding the contraction will allow you to squeeze as many nutrients into your muscles as possible, enhancing your pump. Use mind muscle connection and really think about contracting the muscle group that you are working. Hold the squeeze at the end of the movement to really pump the muscles.
Remember that rest is important. Not only for building muscle but also for good pumps in the gym. Sleeping 7-9 hours a night ensures that your muscles will be firing properly and can get a proper pump. Also, your muscles recover and get stronger when you are asleep.
Warming up properly is also vital for not only good pumps, but to prevent injury. Stretching and doing light exercises before you start lifting heavy will fill your muscles will blood and prevent them from getting tight.
Now once you get into your heavy sets, the muscles will already have blood and nutrients in them.
Does Nutrition Matter?
Of course, nutrition plays a role into everything we do in the gym. Drink plenty of water so that more fluids can be present in your muscles and cause a better pump.
Nutrition is a big factor contributing to your pump. Eating adequate protein is a must for muscle growth and proper pumps. It will also help you gain more muscle, which will push it against the skin giving that appearance of larger muscles.
The bigger your muscles, the more fluid that can be pumped into them and the bigger they can appear. Likewise, the leaner you are, the more you will be able to see you pump. If you have too much body fat, it will be difficult to see your pump.
Don’t forget about carbs! They will energize you and allow you to workout harder and longer, allowing a greater pump. They are also converted into glycogen in the muscles which give them a fuller look through the process of cellular volumization.
Complex carbohydrates are important to eat after a workout as they are protein sparring and the body will use them as glycogen to fuel you through workout sessions.
Post workout carbs help prevent muscle loss and help repair muscles. This means they will grow bigger and stronger. After a workout you’ve used up most of your glycogen storages so you need to replenish them.
Go for complex carbs such as rice, grains, and pasta rather than simple carbs such as sugars and processed foods. This will give you longer lasting energy and pumps and make you feel better without having a crash.
Many people try out low carb such as keto in an effort to lose weight. However, remember that carbohydrates are your body’s energy source. Carbs will give you a lot more energy and juicier pumps in the gym.
Increasing salt intake before going to the gym also has an impact. Sodium allows more blood flow to go to the muscle. Low sodium levels can give your physique a flat look, rather than a tight, pumped appearance.
Isn’t sodium terrible for you? As long as you aren’t eating out every day, your sodium levels will not be dangerously high. Make sure that you stay hydrated and you will sweat out most of the salt when you train.
Supplements That Improve Pumps
Consider nitric oxide boosting supplements. Nitric oxide is found in the body and widens blood vessels while stimulating the release of insulin and growth hormone.
By widening the blood vessels, a greater pump is felt as there is more blood rushing to the muscles. Enhanced blood flow will also improve performance, promote healing and increase heart health.
Creatine is a widely studied supplement that increases muscle growth, strength, and even pumps. Creatine is stored in the muscles as phosphocreatine which is then broken down and releases energy.
This energy combines to create ATP which is the body’s energy source during high intensity training. When the muscles have more phosphocreatine, they can make more ATP. This increases training performance and even recovery after.
By increasing strength you can go longer and harder in the gym and implement all the strategies in this article to achieve better pumps. The extra couple reps creatine allows you to perform can be just what you need to get an even better pump.
Citrulline Malate is an ingredient found in pre-workouts to increase pumps. It enhances nutrient and blood delivery during workouts to help fight fatigue while training.
It will also increase vasodilation giving you crazy skin tight pumps. By enhancing energy production by increasing ATP, it functions similarly to creatine. This makes you stronger and go harder in the gym.
Note that just because you didn’t get a pump doesn’t mean you didn’t train properly. As your muscles become used to being placed under stress and trained hard, the pump may not feel as overwhelming.
Implement training methods such as mind muscle connection, drop sets, and super sets to increase pumps.
Proper nutrition, rest and recovery, and hydration are very important. Consider supplements that increase nitric oxide production in the body.
The pump will only last for 2-3 hours after your workout, then you will have to wait until your next session getting pumped up again.
Leave any questions or comments below and I’ll get back to you!