Achieving a stellar mind & muscle pump should be one of the goals you shoot for at each & every workout (along with progressive overload). So with that in mind, here are some of the best ways to prime & produce the pump of your wildest dreams. GET AT IT!
#1 – Stay hydrated
What’s a pump without sufficient water?
Okay, so if water is so f-ing precious for pumps, how do we attain the best possible rejuvenating water in this day and age to accelerate our growth and performance, ESPECIALLY when our tap water is laden with so many toxins like chlorine, fluoride, pharmaceuticals and heavy metals AND bottled water from big companies like Dasani and Nestle Pure Life is not sustainable for our health and environment?
Water that is completely filtered (i.e. reverse osmosis) without ANY precious electrolytes or minerals is basically useless for our body. It is not absorbed properly and it’s less bioavailable. We humans require healthy amounts of naturally occurring trace minerals like sodium, magnesium, chloride, potassium, calcium, phosphate and bicarbonates-- all which are stripped away in overly-filtered water. We must add back these guys in order to properly absorb water and get a massive PUMP!
Hydration for Your Muscles Begins with Authentic, Real Water
There are 2 ways to get rid of the greatest number of contaminants:
- Distillation + activated carbon
- Reverse osmosis + activated carbon
- Hydrogen-rich water (using hydrogen tablets like Quicksilver Scientific Quinton H2 Elite)
Keep in mind, this water is unbelievably pure… not in a bad way, but that it has absolutely no electrolytes/minerals. So, the biggest key is to remineralize the water with trace minerals found in Redmond’s Utah Mined salt or their Re-Lyte (which you can also find here). I don’t recommend himalayan sea salt because it can have iron oxide contamination and is prone to causing environmental issues.
I hydrate with ¼ tsp of Redmond salt or their electrolyte powder before every workout to battle fatigue due to sweating out electrolytes, along with shuttleing water into muscles at a faster and more efficient rate. This tied with a gallon of water minimum a day for my stature at 6’1” 190lbs is KEY! I recommend the same for most individuals.
#2 – Eat carbohydrates
CARBS ARE NOT THE ENEMY. THE WRONG CARBS ARE!
To get a master pump to accelerate gains, primarily focus on getting a solid influx of complex starchy carbs, around 100g, the last meal the day prior to your heavy workout.
This will store your liver and muscles with plenty of glycogen to improve your pump immensely. Sometimes, right before my hour-long resistance training workouts, I enjoy a tsp of raw local honey to increase energy demands. Trial and error to see what works best for your bio-individuality!
#3 – Train with higher reps
When we stick to the same monotonous low rep scheme, from 4-8 reps, we can miss out on a massive muscle-building opportunity.
It’s critical to throw away the ego and test out higher reps to stimulate new growth due to, well, a new stimulus. Our bodies adapt FAST, therefore when we sauce in some extra reps with lighter weight, we can connect to more muscle fibers and flood the cells with a greater pump.
For instance, I like to switch up my routine every couple of months, around 8 week phases, to incorporate higher rep sets after a density focus with heavy low reps (4-8). I’ll aim for 10-15 reps per set which gives your body a different perspective and can catalyze new pump growth potential.
Try this out, but be sure not to just crank out reps super quick, focus on time under tension.
#4 – Play with shorter rest periods & slower eccentric load
To maximize strength, resting for 2-4 minutes between HEAVY sets is fantastic. However, if your goal is to accelerate hypertrophy with a badass muscle pump, then play around with shorter rest periods. I like to experiment with shorter rest periods about once a week with a more metabolic approach, 30 seconds to a minute rest period.
Even when I’m already gassed beyond belief, dropping the weight and hitting more reps after this short rest will provide your temple the novel and new catalyst for a massive pump.
Longer rest = pump dies down faster.
Shorter rest = pump builds up.
Another thing to consider is SLOW CONTROLLED eccentric movements where you recruit more muscles throughout the body on compound lifts. Eccentric loads, such as letting the barbell on bench press gradually drop to chest from peak, can massively improve pump advantage and muscle hypertrophy. Imagine steadily moving down heavy weight 5-7 seconds versus a super fast explosive 1-2 seconds. It becomes a meditation pushing through that slow pain.
I believe it’s good to have both models throughout your week if you want to classify as an athlete, but for the pump, play around with shorter rest periods and slow down the movements.
#5 – Perform isolation movements
If you want to optimize and hype up your PUMP, begin to throw in the single muscle group, isolation movements. I ALWAYS recommend going through the compound lifts (aka more than one isolated muscle) for the most part in every workout if you want a balanced physique, but near the end of your workout, throw in burnout isolation pumps.
For example, on back day, let’s say you prioritized barbell rows, weighted pull ups, and single arm Landmine rows for the bulk of your compound lifts. Then, towards the end, if your goal is to pump up the muscles and bodybuild, hit up the isolation movements like bicep curls, straight arm lat push downs, or perhaps for rear delts, face pulls.
These smaller muscles in these isolation movements will grow fat quicker due to their primary focus.
#6 – Supplements
There are a TON of supplements to add to your cabinet to boost the blood flow and pump, but I’ll focus on these 5 that come to mind.
- L-Citrulline—an amino acid that is a precursor to L-Arginine, then Nitric Oxide. Nitric Oxide is PARAMOUNT for blood flow efficiency so without sufficient amounts, you’ll experience brain fog, low libido and WEAK PUMPS. I take 6g 30 min to an hour prior to workouts.
- Niacin / Vitamin B3—a B vitamin key for energy production, cholesterol health and blood flow. If you pop 50mg-500mg niacin FLUSH form (non-flush form won’t illicit this), you’ll notice a slightly uncomfortable tingling skin sensation throughout your body and a redness (temporary sunburn) for several hours. This makes you want to MOVE and boosts blood flow tremendously. I like to stack before sauna sessions to boost heat shock proteins, detoxification and blood flow.
- Beet Powder—similarly to L-Citrulline, beet powder contains a ton of micronutrients to increase blood flow and pumps. I mean look at it, it’s blood red! I get mine from Purium here. Use code cvcwellness to save $50.
- Liquid Sunshine—a shiz ton of micronutrients are critical for a muscle pump and muscle growth. Prior to a workout, I stack the delcious apple berry Purium Powershake loaded with 15 superfoods to increase energy and my blood flow. You can get your first cart here with $50 off using code cvcwellness.
- Essential Amino Acids (NOT BCAAs)—When adequate EAAs are available for muscle protein synthesis, your body is more likely to burn fat instead of muscle, therefore preserving muscle and boosting blood flow to the fibers. When EAAs are used as a supplement they provide the key components to increase muscle protein synthesis to counteract the muscle breakdown that’s caused by intense exercise. Giving your muscles what they need to reach an anabolic (muscle building) state also helps to speed recovery and improve your performance during your next workout. I get mine from Purium here which are the cleanest on the market and absorb within 23 min, great to stack right before your workout.