Screw the weight and check the ego at the door. Bodybuilding is about the pump.
Seriously though, how many times have you wanted to know the single most important tip or secret to bodybuilding? If we could narrow it down to one single “in-gym” tip, it would be all about the pump. Hell, Arnold said it in Pumping Iron:
“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 its 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.”
Now maybe we don’t all agree with Arnie about how “good” that feeling is, but one thing we can tell you is that pump he’s talking about is what makes muscles grow. It stretches the fibers, the muscle fascia, and engorges the cells with blood. With blood comes oxygen and nutrients – including protein, amino acids, and glycogen. All these elements are critical to muscle growth. Ask any experienced bodybuilder, and not just one that “claims” to be a bodybuilder, but a true bodybuilder (one that looks the part), and they will tell you, the pump is critical.
Obtaining the pump takes reps
Remember, bodybuilding and power lifting are two completely different training strategies. One is to lift super heavy weight for a single rep and the other is about vanity and physique. Yes, bodybuilding is about vanity. We want to look good and feel good so we train our bodies and chisel our physiques. Doing that doesn’t come by only doing low repetitions. No, it comes from doing reps – lots and lots of reps.
Remember when you first started bodybuilding and you heard “form is everything” and “hold at the top” and “squeeze at the top”? Yeah, that STILL applies. Just because we’re older with bigger egos doesn’t mean the tried and true methods stopped working. Incorporate these five bodybuilding tips in every exercise to maximize your pump:
- Strict form – ensure only the targeted muscle group is being used.
- Focus on the targeted muscle group – connect your mind and think about the muscles you are using.
- Contract the muscle at the top of each exercise.
- Slow and/or stop your momentum at the peak of the negative movement (the bottom).
- Do reps – lots and lots of reps until you feel like your muscles are going to burst through your skin.
These tips will allow for maximum muscle fiber recruitment and one insane pump. We personally focus on getting at least 20-25 reps on our first set of any exercise. After that, we may pyramid down as we add weight, or we may maintain a consistent number or reps, or we may drop set or super set. There is no right or wrong method for any one person. Rather, it’s about what works for you and what gets the best pump for you.
Mix up your routine
We change our routines almost every week. In fact, we try hard to ensure that we never do the same workout two weeks in a row. To some, that may seem counter productive. Especially to those that are looking to get their bench or squat numbers up. For us, we could care less about the weight – although it does play a factor, it comes with time and dedication. Being able to squat 20 reps with 315lbs, controlled, ass to the grass, and not locking out at the top, is pretty damn impressive if you ask me. I’d take that over one single 500lbs rep. Why you ask? Because the amount of blood forced into your legs when doing those 20 reps will cause exponentially more muscle growth than a one rep max. You wonder where vascularity comes from too? It’s a result of the consistent need to force large amounts of blood to a muscle group.
Don’t be afraid to mix up your workouts. Stick the bench press in the middle of your workout, in a super set…after you do flies and see how humbling that is – but also note how insane your pump is in your chest.
There is no wrong way
Do what you feel is best for your body. If you’re doing an exercise and you don’t feel like you have a pump when you’re done, ditch it. Go do something else. Find an exercise that gives you a pump in your targeted muscle group and do that instead. Who cares what this big guy does or that big guy does – it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right exercise for you. I’ve personally followed several pros for years and tried a ton of different exercises and programs they recommend and use. Some work, some don’t. I wanted to be like them so I thought if I just did the exercises I would grow. I was wrong. When I started paying more attention to my body and what worked best for me, that’s when the results started to soar.
The Road Map for Success
If you’re tired of struggling on your own to figure it all out, don’t worry, we got you covered. Our Genesis Shredding Program is a full 12-week program with custom nutrition, workouts, instructional videos, a supplement guide and much much more.
Triceps superset workout for a massive pump
As mentioned in the video, below is a link to one of our favorite triceps workouts. It’s loaded with drop sets and super sets to help get that insane pump we’ve been talking about. We’ve also linked our most recent arm workout that blasts both biceps and triceps in one workout. Give ’em a tri…(pun intended):