That feeling when you go to take off your headphones and can’t reach because your arms are so swollen filled with blood and fluids…

The pump isn’t just a great feeling.  It is necessary in achieving maximum muscle growth.  Most of the intensity boosting techniques are used to increase blood flow.  Drop sets especially flood the muscle with blood.  I could bore you with the scientific reasoning of why this works but just try it for yourself and see what happens.  Go to the leg press machine and put on a weight that you would do for 10 reps.  Rep out that weight then drop the weight to something you could do for 20 reps normally.  That part works best with a training partner of course.  That 20 rep weight will feel quite heavy and you can probably crank out another 12 reps.  Then instead of just lying there in pain stand up and watch the blood fill up your quads.  That is a pump.

Amplifying the Pump

Now amplifying a pump can be quite easy with some tricks.  Carbohydrates and fats are a necessity.  I hate to be the one to break it to you but that protein shake with two scoops of whey isolate and water that you’re consuming 30 minutes before training is not going to help you.  A proper pre-workout meal can completely change your entire lifting experience. 

One of my favorite off-season pre-workout meals is 8 oz. ground beef, 2 cups white rice, and 1 cup of broccoli. That is plenty for a 220 lb. male to get a crazy pump.

For those that will try this meal before your next workout, adjust the food accordingly to goals and body size.  The reason this is so important is ensuring that your glycogen storages are full.  Glycogen is converted to glucose during activity which then is used as fuel for muscle contractions and most organs.  When glycogen is low in the body the liver breaks down fat and muscle as fuel which is a much longer process.  So for those who decide to eat low carb all week and then drink heavily on weekends killing the liver just stop reading now, the pump just isn’t for you.  Everyone else read on. 

Enhancing Nitric Oxide Production

Now that you have fuel to achieve full round muscles, let’s make them a little freaky and increase your vascularity.  As long as body fat and water is in check veins should be easily seen in the forearms.  The leaner you are the easier it is to see them in other areas.  But to really make them pop, nitric oxide levels should be increased.  This is easily done using supplementation.  The following compounds are found in many pre-workout drinks and aid in the production of nitric oxide.

Finding the following ingredients together in one supplement is even more beneficial as they are symbiotic and have a complimentary effect when stacked together.

  • Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate

Directly increases nitric oxide.  May relax arteries and improve overall circulation. 

Target Dose: 750 – 2,000mg (when stacked)

  • L-Citrulline

Converts to Arginine in the liver.  Better absorption rate than direct arginine. 

Target Dose: 3,000 – 4,000 mg (when stacked)

  • Agmatine Sulfate

Derived from arginine.  Regulates nitric oxide synthesis. Enhances both Arginine and Citrulline

Target Dosage: 750 mg

Now that must be it right?!

Nope were not done yet.  Let’s ensure that these supplements are going into the cells.  Proper hydration is important, but how can make more water go into the muscle cells? 

  • Glycerol Monosterate

This is a fat molecule that should not dissolve in water at a high active percentage.  It is the backbone of triacylglycerol (TAG).  As the TAG is digested it absorbs water.  Then during exercise the TAG is used as fuel and sent to the muscle.  Can aid in shuttling of other supplements into the muscle. 

Combining the nutrients listed in addition to proper workout techniques and diet will make it your muscles fill up like balloons. Well, striated, vascular, extra full balloons.

Feed your pump.

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