Is a Pump Needed to Build Muscle?

Posted by Jason Ferruggia

Is a pump needed to build muscle?

Some people emphatically state that getting a good pump is necessary.

Others say just the opposite.

First of all, the ability to easily obtain a good pump is a sign that your body is in an anabolic state and ready to train.

It shows us that the body and the cells are well hydrated and ready to grow.

Some days, you go to the gym and can’t get a pump no matter what you do.

Your body is telling you something, and that something is that you are not in an anabolic state, probably not fully recovered, and you are not ready to train.

In other words you will probably not be building muscle or gaining strength on that day.

The greatest feeling you can get in the gym is the pump.” – Arnold

As far as the pump having an anabolic effect, this is debatable, but most bodybuilders swear that there is something to it. When you get a good pump, you are delivering tons of nutrient-rich blood to the muscles that will greatly increase amino-acid uptake.

Theoretically, this should result in a greater anabolic effect. There are also those that swear that a good pump can have a fascial stretching effect which will lead to more size gains.

So, while it isn’t necessarily proven by science, there is probably something to gain from getting a good pump. Having said that, I definitely wouldn’t make it the focus of your workout.

Chasing the pump and disregarding all of the principles of effective training is one of the biggest mistakes you can make and will do nothing to help you build lean muscle.

You can get a great pump from doing 50 pushups but everyone knows that’s not going to build muscle. Just mindlessly pursuing a pump will get you nowhere and may even cause losses in size and strength.

You need to get a pump with fairly heavy weights. That’s the key.

Getting a pump feels fantastic. It’s as satisfying to me as cumming is.”- Arnold

For example, for your chest you could do some heavy pressing for 5-8 reps and then finish with a few higher rep sets of 9-12 on ring dips to get a great pump. If you do this you hit a variety of muscle fibers and get the best of both worlds.

I love that style of training.

So does Arnold, as he tweeted me earlier today:

@JasonFerruggia: my #1 rule is there is no #1 rule. Sandow used high reps, Alexiev used low reps; I used both. But I still do like the pump.”– @Shwarzenegger

Heavy training is always going to be the number one choice for the genetically average, drug free trainee. Get strong and focus on progressive overload. If you do that you’ll grow.The pump should always be secondary to lifting big weights.

Remember, it isn’t 100% necessary and should never be the main focus of your workouts (heavy training should) but getting a good pump tells you that you’re ready to build muscle and may even maximize your potential to do so.

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