Bodybuilding - The Pump

Bodybuilding - The Pump

One of the first things you will experience when you start training is the pump. Your muscles swell up well beyond their normal size, your veins stand out, you feel huge, powerful and full of energy. The pump is usually felt after about 4 or 5 sets. Often you can keep this sensation throughout your workout, feeling an increased pump over time as more and more blood is forced into the area being exercised, bringing in fresh oxygen and nutrients for continued intense, muscular contraction.

What causes the pump is that blood is forced into the area by the action of the muscles and the pressure of the cardiovascular system, but there is no comparable force drawing the blood out of the muscle. Therefore, this extra blood stays in the muscle for some period of time, swelling it up to a much bigger size. The fact that your muscles get bigger and more impressive when you have a pump is why bodybuilders like to pump up before the pose. When you're in a tough competition, every little bit of advantage helps.

Quantities of blood flooding a muscle stimulate any number or proprioceptive sensors. Exercise and the resulting pump create a whole cascade of hormonal responses, including the release of endorphins and enkephalin, which are nature's painkillers. This is the bodybuilder's version of the runner's high, which also occurs due to the release of hormones such as endorphins. In addition, an association develops over time, between the exercise and the positive feeling you get from it, so your pleasure centers are stimulated even more as your body relates the sensation of exercise with the good outcome.

This combination of the physical and the psychological can have a tremendous effect on how you feel and how hard you can train. When you are pumped up, you feel better and stronger, and it is easier to motivate yourself to train hard, to achieve a high level of intensity. Sometimes, you think you're King Kong walking around the gym! Of course, this feeling may differ from day to day. From time to time you will walk into the gym feeling tired and lazy, but when you get a fantastic pump after a few minutes of work suddenly you feel big, strong, energetic and ready to lift every weight in sight.

However, there are days when you don't feel very energetic, when the pump just doesn't happen no matter what you do. Sometimes there's a physical reason for this. You haven't gotten enough sleep, you've done too many workouts in a row, or you are dieting and your body simply lacks the nutrients it needs to get a good pump easily. But in most cases, we have found that a lack of pump indicates a lack of full concentration. Sure, it's better to get enough rest, not to over train, and to eat well enough to fuel your workouts, but no matter how bad you feel or how much energy you lack we have found you can still get the pump to come if you focus and concentrate hard enough.

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