Without Question, Nothing Is More Empowering Than A Skin-Splitting Pump.
Often described as one of the greatest feelings that can be achieved in the gym; the pump engorges muscles with blood giving them an enlarged, rock hard appearance, makes every vein on your body swell to the size of the Mississippi, and is visual proof that you just obliterated another workout. The pump is ego boosting, inspiring and keeps you coming back to the iron dungeon ready to tear it up time and time again. Beyond the cosmetic and psychological effects, the pump also works on a physiological level to amplify the hypertrophic (muscle growth) response and can improve your performance in the gym. Read on to get your Ph.D. in the pump and discover why it is so much more than something that makes you swole.
The Science…How The Pump Powers Muscle Growth
In geek speak, the “pump” is known as hyperemia. It works by delivering oxygen and nutrient rich blood to contracting muscle tissue during intense training. These contractions cause more nitric oxide to be released into the blood stream which dilates blood vessels (capillaries) to a greater extent and allows more blood to flow into the muscle. This increased blood flow is the mechanism by which the pump amplifies muscular growth. Here’s how:
- The more oxygen and nutrient blood the muscle receives the longer and stronger sustained contractions can place. Being able to perform more reps with more weight is a surefire recipe to pack on thick slabs of lean mass.
- Increased blood flow via the pump allows for quicker removal of the waste products produced by intense training….mainly ammonia and carbon dioxide. This helps you recover more quickly between sets, delay fatigue and help you push hard until your last rep.
- The pump causes cellular swelling that increases muscle protein synthesis (MPS) while also decreasing protein breakdown within the cell. MPS is arguably the most significant physiological process when it comes to muscle growth and recovery.
- The pump creates fascial stretching which gives the muscle more room to grow over time.
- The pump will increase capillary density which improves blood circulation and stimulates the growth of new lean tissue by releasing growth hormones.
Now that we know more about the physiological benefits of the pump the million dollar questions remain: How do we achieve it and more importantly how do we maximize it? The answers are through proper training and supplementation.
Training To Produce The Pump
There are many opinions on the best way to train to create the best pump but following a few basic steps will ensure bulging body parts, freakish vascularity and give you the feeling that you are leaving the gym with bigger muscles than you walked in with!
Step 1: Warm-up
This will raise body temperature, get the blood flowing, and lessen vascular resistance. A 5-10 minute jog on the treadmill or another piece of cardio equipment should do the trick
Step 2: Choose exercises that target and isolate 1-2 muscles group
Think chest flys, bicep curls, triceps extensions and although it includes more than 2 muscle groups, be sure to include compound exercises like the bench press, shoulder press, and squat.
Step 3: Perform Warm-Up Sets
For each exercise include two warm-up sets using light weight and high repetitions to initiate muscular contractions.
Step 4: Use high reps and medium weight
12-15 repetitions per set at an intensity of 70-75% of your 1 repetition max should do the trick.
Step 5: Contract and Hold
At the concentric portion of the movement contract the muscle group you are working and hold it for 2 seconds before lowering the weight back down and performing the next rep. For example, during the bench press hold and contract the pectorals at the top of the movement for 2 seconds before lowering the bar back down to the chest.
Step 6: Less rest equals more pump success
Keep the rest between sets at 45-60 seconds
Step 7: Perform a drop set on your last set
Get ready for the burn and pump. On the last set of each exercise perform a drop set. This entails starting the set with a given weight and once you begin to reach muscular failure, drop the weight and immediately restart until you reach muscular failure again and repeat.
Performing the above steps in one to two of your weekly workouts will all but guarantee a massive pump, but over time as the body adapts to the higher demands placed on it you may notice the pump does not occur as often as you like. This is where supplementation comes in.
Supplements That Maximize the Pump
As discussed above nitric oxide enlarges the diameter of the blood vessels which allows increased flow to muscles. Generally speaking the greater the increase in nitric oxide levels, the greater the blood vessel dilation, the greater the blood flow, and most importantly the greater the pump. Certain compounds have been proven by research to increase and support nitric oxide levels in the blood above normal levels when consumed and should be a staple in the supplement stack of anyone where swole is the goal and size is the prize. These are:
Citrulline malate is a non-essential amino acid that eventually converts to nitric oxide. As we know, nitric oxide is a vasodilator that can help to improve blood flow to muscles. Studies have shown that citrulline malate enhances exercise tolerance by not only increasing blood flow but by also reducing levels of blood ammonia and lactate that are typically elevated during strenuous exercise.This ingredient will allow you to train with less rest in between sets and raise your endurance capacity.
Agmatine Sulfate increases nitric oxide production by working as a competitive inhibitor of the enzyme NO Synthase. It also helps improve nutrient partitioning which leads to an increase in muscle glycogen (carbs stored in muscle tissues) which then leads to more water retained within the muscle. This creates a fuller look to the muscles and a greater pump while hitting the iron.
Nitrosigine (Arginine Inositol Silicate)
Arginine (Nitrosigine) is a precursor to nitric oxide and expands blood vessels to optimize blood flow. Silicate is contained within the walls of the arteries to help maintain their structural integrity. These ingredients work in synergy to help increase the blood flow and the structural integrity of the artery walls. Preclinical data has shown that Nitrosigine is superior to standard arginine… with 2x the blood flow in vasodilatation response that can last up to 3 hours.
Ornithine works in synergy with arginine in the metabolism of waste caused by intense exercise. By increasing nitric oxide production and decreasing waste – you are able to train longer and support greater results. A 2008 study conducted by Sugino et al. discovered supplementation with ornithine was able to reduce perceptions of fatigue to 52% of placebo on a prolonged endurance test and was able to reduce ammonia accrual during exercise.
Known as the common beet, Beta Vulgaris contains high amounts of nitrates and thus increases nitric oxide levels in the blood when consumed. It has been shown to lower the oxygen cost of exercise and improve exercise tolerance.
While many other ingredients increase nitric oxide production and the pump the above list should serve as the foundation. The hard part is buying each individual one and taking them 30 minutes before your workout. Thankfully MuscleSport has combined all of them in one convenient and innovative pre-workout formula to provide you the most amazing pump you have ever experienced.
Introducing Rhino Black®
MuscleSport has simplified the science of the pump with Rhino Black. This groundbreaking pre-workout contains all 5 of the nitric oxide and pump producing agents listed above along with other performance enhancing ingredients that work individually and synergistically to help prepare your body physiologically and psychologically by amplifying energy, promoting vascularity, improving focus, and supporting increases in muscular strength, power, and endurance. Rhino Black gives you the best that science has to offer, so there are no blends. Only efficaciously-dosed, proven ingredients that have been carefully selected to provide all that is needed from a pre-workout.