When you are talking about muscle pumping, more commonly defined “pump”, we mean that pleasant feeling that each of us has experienced at least once in the gym during the weight session.
This sensation is caused during a weight training when the contracting muscles drawing in more blood than the arteries are able to flow, create a momentary hypoxic situationa (insufficient presence of oxygen).
This results in an apparent increase in volume and instantaneous vascularization. The doubt that arises in arguing this kind of object lies in understanding whether actually recreating this sensation brings benefits to our body or not.
On a psychological level, it is certainly very satisfying to notice such a vascularization and a momentary increase in volume. It certainly recreates in us the idea of having trained great.
It is necessary to highlight the fact that with the passage of time, regoing out to have a good muscle pump consistently, causes new capillaries to be created dedicated to the transport of oxygen and nutrients in the muscles. Precisely for this reason, specific pumping exercises are performed on recall days or on certain deficient muscle groups, in order to increase the blood supply.
Surely for powerlifters, whose workouts involve high loads with low repetitions, whose goal is to increase muscle strength, pumping is certainly not of significant importance. The discourse, on the other hand, is reversed when we talk about bodybuilding.
The latter, as everyone knows, has as its main objective, the increase in volumes. Nowadays it is well known that there are three elements that promote muscle growth:
- Mechanical tension
- Metabolic stress
- Muscle damage
As far as mechanical tension is concerned, nothing new. From the very first training we are shown how (progressive) overload is a fundamental key for growth. However, studies and research have found that this is not the only existing method.
So here we talk about metabolic stress. In this context we refer to certain training techniques such as super sets, super series, giant sets or drop sets. These variants create a noticeable pumping, ensuring an increase in intracellular hydration, widening the fibers.
This perceived feeling definitely helps in muscle building but as this is a temporary circumstance it is not identified as useful as far as muscle hypertrophy is concerned in the true sense of the word.
The easiest way to get a good muscle pump is definitely to increase the number of repetitions to 15/20. Obviously, overloading should not be overlooked. In fact, low loads with high repetitions do not lead to any useful results.
Furthermore, it is also possible to favor this circumstance by maintaining a number of medium-low repetitions such as 8/10 but shortening the recovery times between the series to 30 "/ 45". Another tip is to implement our training with cable exercises.
These guarantee a prolonged and constant tension and contraction within the ROM (range of movement). Therefore, inserting target exercises such as pre pumping / fatigue, can only be of help especially when we want to concentrate a greater focus on a hypothetically deficient target muscle.
We can also mention another particular technique that you can experiment with. Let's talk about isometric contractions.
They consist in keeping a certain muscle in maximum contraction for 20, 30 or 45 seconds. This is done in order to be able to further increase the flow of fluids immediately after the series you have just performed.
The number of possibilities to promote muscle pumping is truly vast. Suffice it to mention the pyramid rest-pauses, but also some simple forced repetitions.
Having said that, surely recreating the pump situation can give benefits in terms of muscle growth or support in the search for hypertrophy. However, it should be emphasized that it is certainly not the determining factor in order to achieve the aforementioned objective. What absolutely must not be forgotten are the three fundamental elements for muscle growth.
We conclude by saying that yes the pump can support the achievement of your goal, but it too, as such, must be programmed with mind. Impossible not to mention the one who spoke of pumping as something extremely sublime. “The most satisfying sensation you can have in the gym is 'the pump'. Let's say you are training your biceps. The blood comes into your muscles. Your muscles becoming more and more turgid and your skin seems ever closer to exploding in a few minutes. It's like someone is pumping air into the muscles. " Arnold Schwarzenegger.