The pump. The one thing, regardless of other fitness goals, that every bodybuilder strives for during a workout.
If for some reason, we don’t achieve that during our lifts we feel we failed to some degree. So how do we get this magical quality to happen consistently? How do we make certain we continually appease the gods of gains by pushing our muscles to the absolute limit? Don’t worry, Body Spartan has got you covered.
First and foremost, let’s talk about where the pump comes from, and what it actually is. The typical response would be something to the effect of, “Your blood vessels fill up more, and makes you look bigger.” While this is technically true there is so much more that goes into it. What actually happens is that when you’re working out any body part for extended periods of time, or in an intense way, the muscles become stressed/fatigued. To maximize the continued effectiveness of whichever muscle group is being worked, your body will divert more blood and nutrients to that area. Some research suggests that a muscle can receive up to 4 times the amount of blood during intense training!
So now that we have a better understanding of what the pump is, let’s get into the details of how to achieve it, and sustain it.
Let’s get the easy one out of the way first. Carbs are not only an amazing fuel source for intense lifts, they also increase the look and feel of fullness in your muscles like crazy. Our muscles require glycogen in order to function at that higher level, thankfully carbs have got you more than covered with that after your body converts them. The absence of carbs will leave a lot of lifters feeling “flat” or “tired”, but some lifters prefer to lift on a carbless diet. One reason for this is that when your body is deprived of carbs for so long, once you reintroduce them, the effects of the pump are increased dramatically.
TUT (time under tension):
This is referring to how long you are actively engaging your muscle during any exercise. The longer you engage the muscle, the more blood and nutrients are forced to that area, which in turn increases the muscle expansion. In our latest Body Spartan video (below) we experiment with time under tension exercises for the whole lift and the results are insane.
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The best thing I can compare this to is a piece of dried fruit. Completely sucked of all moisture, not plump, and shriveled. If you aren’t hydrating properly, your body isn’t able to provide the same amount of fluids or blood volume to which ever muscle groups you are training. How much water you intake depends on your fitness goals and body type, but we’ve all heard that good rule of thumb of eight glasses a day. Plus glycogen is three or four parts water to each part glycogen. So when you’re stuffing glycogen from carbs in your body to get that pump, you better have water in your system too.
Here at Body Spartan we believe in a few philosophies and principles. One of which is, “When it hurts is when the real work begins.” Drop sets are very simple in theory, yet awesomely daunting to actually do. You start at the heaviest weight you can do, perform as many reps as possible until muscular failure, then drop the weight to next heaviest you can do, and so and so on. This forces your muscles to work past their normal failure rate, which pushes more blood into them, causing and even greater vascular expansion. For those who want something even more, there’s also the reverse drop set, which is when you increase the weights go to failure.
Super sets/Giant sets:
A super set is when you combine two exercises into one, without any rest in-between for example let’s say we’re working arms (my favorite). I’ll do a set of bicep cable curls and then I would immediately transition into another bicep exercise like reverse curls. A giant set is the same principle, however it includes three or more exercise to make one set. What these types of sets do is to increase the duration of time the muscle is worked, as well as the amount of energy, nutrients, and blood flow needed. Theoretically you could combine any type of exercises together, but I highly suggest choosing exercises that purposely isolate and work the same muscle group.
This is a surprisingly overlooked factor by many lifters. Our bodies are amazing machines and we can achieve so much. However, even the strongest of us need a proper recharge. We can only go pedal to the metal for so long without a proper night’s rest before it affects us in our daily lives. Ensuring that you get ample hours of sleep will increase your bodies’ strength, endurance, and blood flow are all working at 100%.
This molecule is already naturally produced in our bodies, and allows vascular expansion, and ease of blood flow. One of our most popular products Xiphos, acts as a vasodilator and has L-Citrulline and L-Arginine in it which drastically increases the production of Nitric oxide(NO).
As you can tell, there are many ways to increase the overall effectiveness and pump, in your workouts. The Body Spartan team tries to incorporate all of these together in some fashion to continually push our limits. Now that you’re armed with this knowledge, apply it, use it, and go get that pump!