How to Get Bigger Pumps in the Gym
Have you ever looked down in the middle of your workout and noticed how great your arms look? Maybe you get home after a great gym session, look in the mirror, and realize your biceps look bigger than they usually do? You’re not imagining it, but you also didn’t grow your muscles that fast. What you’re noticing is commonly referred to as a “pump.” While your muscles will likely return to normal within an hour or so, a good pump contributes to your muscle growth. A pump is when your muscles swell while you work out, and the scientific name for what occurs is hyperemia.
Hyperemia is an increased amount of blood in the vessels of an organ or the body's tissues. It can affect several organs, but in this case, we’re talking about the muscle tissue in your body. Muscle pumps feel fantastic because your muscle tissue is pumped full with oxygen and nutrient-rich blood, but exercise buffs chase bigger pumps for more than the feeling.
More than just a feeling, bigger pumps actually contribute to muscle growth, as it means that you’ve met the conditions required to grow muscles. This happens because:
- Nutrients are readily available in the muscle tissue as you place it under stress
- Muscle fascia stretches
- The swollen tissue leads to the creation of more capillaries, which help to deliver more oxygen and nutrients via the blood continuously
Maximize your Bigger Pump with These Four Tips
- Flex - Flexing, or contracting your muscles encourages blood flow, which does the same thing your pump does, on a smaller scale. Regularly contracting your muscles keeps blood flowing to your muscles and encourages your muscles to continue to grow.
- Hydrate - If you want a bigger pump, you need hydration. Water is essential to all parts of your body. If you’re adequately hydrated during a workout, water is pushed into the muscle cells contributing to your pump. If you failed to hydrate properly, during exercise, your body pulls blood from your muscles cells into the bloodstream to maintain your more vital blood pressure and circulation. This void of water also means that your muscles have less nutrient and oxygen-rich blood to support muscle growth.
- Carbohydrates - Many people are scared of carbs when they shouldn’t be. Carbohydrates are quite literally your body’s fuel. Glycogen from carbohydrates not only fuel your workout, but they also contribute to bigger pumps.
- Supplement - Supplements are beneficial when chasing a bigger pump, and they contribute to better muscle hypertrophy to grow your muscles in the long run.
Three Supplements for a Bigger Pump
Now that you know why people in the gym are always talking about getting a bigger pump, and why a bigger pump is legitimately helpful for achieving your physique goals, implement these three supplements into your supplement stack.
- Protein - You need protein to grow your muscles. More specifically, you need 1.4-2 grams of protein per kilogram that you weigh. You can achieve your protein goals by consuming whole foods and a protein shake or two throughout the day. Having protein readily available for your blood to carry to your muscles during your pump is essential, so consume your post-workout protein shake within 30 minutes of completing your workout.
- Creatine - Protein and creatine are the two holy grails in the sports supplement world. Phosphocreatine is the form of creatine stored in your muscles, and more phosphocreatine means more ATP. ATP is your cell’s energy, and when you have more energy in your cells, you’re able to work out harder and longer. To increase your phosphocreatine, you can supplement with creatine. Creatine also contributes to a bigger pump because it encourages water absorption into your muscle cells.
Pro Pump Tip #1
Creatine is more easily absorbed when insulin releases in the body at the same time. For a bigger pump, combine your creatine with simple sugars like fruit or Gatorade, or take creatine with your protein for the same result.
BCAA - This supplement is another critical product with rising popularity, and for a good reason. BCAAs encourage a bigger pump, a better workout, and quicker recovery, which means you can do it all again tomorrow. BCAAs, or branched-chain amino acids, are those essential amino acids that bypass the liver and arrive directly to the muscle tissue via the bloodstream. This means that when blood is flowing to your muscles while working for your bigger pump, BCAAs that encourage new muscle growth and prevent muscle breakdown are right there.
Pro Pump Tip #2
Combine your BCAAs with your creatine before your workout. Take your second dose of BCAAs with your post-workout protein shake.
Pro Pump Tip
Try a protein powder that combines BCAAs for fewer supplements in your stack.
Five Tweaks to Your Workout for Bigger Pumps
Supplements aren’t going to get you anywhere without lifting weights. Now that you know supplements like BCAAs and creatine will encourage a bigger pump, let’s talk about the workouts to get you there.
- Isolate - To encourage bigger pumps, add in isolation exercises. Isolation movements are those that you’re only moving one joint at a time. Think bicep curls as opposed to chin-ups.
- Time under tension - Keeping the tension on your muscles longer means blood will flow longer for a bigger pump. Increase your muscle’s time under tension by slowing down the eccentric phase, avoiding locking out joints at the bottom or top of an exercise, and adding a pause at the end of the last rep in your set.
- Supersets - Combining exercises into supersets are great for many reasons. You’re making better use of your time in the gym, and you can isolate more than one muscle group at a time - for example, superset bicep curls with glute bridges.
- Drop Sets - Drop sets are a lifting technique in which you perform consecutive sets with little to no rest and increasingly lowering the weights. For example:
- Dumbbell curls - one set of ten with 20-pound dumbbells, drop the weights and immediately pick up 15-pound dumbbells to perform a set of 10. Then drop the weights and immediately pick up 10-pound dumbbells for another set of 10, etc.
5. Shorten Rest - Avoid giving your muscles too much of an intra-workout break. Keep the blood flowing by resting for just thirty to ninety seconds between all exercises.
The right supplements, including BCAAs, protein, and creatine, combined with small tweaks to your workout, will help you achieve the bigger pumps everyone is after.
As always, Supplement Superstore curates the best selection of trusted brands for BCAAs and more. Enjoy your bigger pump!