When you start out training you will always see those guys in the gym who look like they are always pumped and vascular. I bet you have often thought how do they get like that? While supplements and diet can have a large effect to this I want to cover a few aspects on how you can train in order to get the best pump during your workout and more importantly how to keep it longer after your workout.
1 – Increase Time Under Tension ( TUT )
When you talk about time under tension, this essentially refers to how much time the muscles are under stress during the movement of the exercise. In simple terms, if you lift a weight and it takes you 40 seconds to complete that set, you have a total time under tension of 40 seconds.
This time under tension factor then is also directly related to the tempo that you’re using. If you’re using a tempo of 4-2-1 for instance, which means it takes you 4 seconds to perform the first part of the movement, you’ll take a 2 second pause at the top, and then you lower the weight back down over a one second time period, your total time under tension would then be 7 seconds per rep.
Whether it’s concentric, eccentric, or isometric, muscle contraction increases the tension within a muscle. For purposes of filling out flat muscles, it isn’t the TUT itself that’s important. Instead, it’s the effects of a longer TUT that we’re most interested in, specifically, the effect of blood vessel occlusion.
When you perform an exercises and your muscles are contracting, the blood vessels within it are squished to the point of being occluded, thus dramatically reducing blood flow to that muscle. Think about when you go give blood and they put a strap around your arms to get your veins to pop out. The longer the muscle is contracting, the longer the blood flow is stopped to that particular muscle.
2 – Do More Volume
Volume is the term used to describe how much work you do, as in the number of reps you perform during your exercise. The other apsect is the intensity which describes the difficulty of an exercise, typically based on the amount of weight you lift.
By increasing the volume we can increase the amout of blood getting pushed through out body and into our muscles.
3 – Optimize Rest Periods
Like with any type of training if you are trying to get stronger, faster or fitter the time you rest between reps and sets can have a huge effect on how you maximise your strength, your power and building lean muscle. Maximum strength is achieved by lifting as heavy weights as possible – 80 to 100% of 1-repetition maximum (1RM) over low (1-4) rep ranges. In contrast, power is generally developed by using medium to heavy weights (60-80% of 1 RM) over medium rep ranges (6-12). Similar to the first strategy, optimizing rest periods between sets relates to maximizing blood volume and pressure within the muscle.
In order to keep that full feeling and pump to maximise those gains you will need to keep your rest periods shorter. Imagine doing a giant set and the resting for 5 mins. Youw ill lsoe your pump and will have to start the process again as this would be counter productive to creating fuller muscles.
4 – Stretch While Full
How many of you spend a day stretching instead of a workout. I generally try and stretch for 15 mins a day if time permits but this is something I have never done and only found out about it when i decided to write this article. I do highly advise that you start stretching daily if not weekly as soon as possible especially if you spend alot of time in the gym. As you get older your muscles tighten up, you get stiff and you are alot more prone to getting injured. Stretching is one of the most undervalued tools we have available to us, both in terms of performance and injury prevention, as well as appearance. There are many body builders out there who are extremly flexible and that is because they stretch daily.
In order to maximize the expansive force placed on the surrounding fascia during a stretch, do the stretch while that muscle is still full of blood. In other words, stretch within 30 seconds of completing a high TUT set. Then, as opposed to your typical ten-second stretch, hold the stretch for a while. Shoot for more like 60 seconds, or even more.
Because static stretching appears to decrease power (and probably strength) on subsequent sets, plan to do this long-hold stretching after completing the last set for that particular body part.
There’s also another benefit to stretching in regards to muscle fullness other than putting tension on and expanding the fascia. It appears that if done with ample tension and duration, stretching actually stimulates the muscle to lengthen by laying down new sarcomeres.
5 – Isolation Exercises
Isolation exercises are great way to put the muscle under great tension with minimal impact on the body. You are really able to use the power of TUT alot more when doing isolation exercises, by way of sqeezing and contracting your muscles for longer periods. The whole point to training is to put the body under stress and then let it adapt and overcome the stress.
Diuretics & Supplements
There are a few supplements out there that act as vasodilators, allowing more blood to flow into the muscles while giving you that increased look of vascularity we’re chasing.
Vitamin C+ Garlic Combo