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Any Value to Getting a Pump?


I've trained for quite a few years now, mainly for PL, but one question bugs me:
Does getting (and training for) a "pump" have any value as regards muscle growth. I presume it might encourage capillary growth & hence increase size. I also appreciate that pump workouts are often high volume, but I wonder if the actual pump has any real benefit, other than feeling good, and is it woth pursuing?

For the record I have had a decent amount of growth without going for the pump. I also have bodyparts that seem to pump up readily especially forearms, and biceps/triceps seem to pump up a bit though usually as I have just finished the set. Other parts don't ever seem to pump up: back and shoulders.

Any thoughts?



Yes, getting a pump is good. CT has talked about it for muscle growth and Westside uses the repetition method purposely for strength and size.



Neither working to failure nor attaining the 8-12 rep pump has any effect on strength or hypertrophy. The pump is not even the Weideresque "muscles gorged with nutrient rich blood".

If you want to enhance blood flow you need to do reps higher than 25 and low loads.

The pump is fun. That is it.

A better feel and more useful is how you feel after heavy board work or work in your bp shirt. While at the Chinese buffet...



Haha, that is well said, I really like reading your articles and replies, can't wait for the next article.


Don't get a pump unless you are dissatisfied with your penis size!

From what I read for repetition method, the westside people always finish their sets with 1 or 2 reps in them instead of going to absolute failure.


Arnold said in his book that he never trained past "the pump." He thought it helped build size.


the pump helps build muscle from pure motivation.
If gives you a glimpse of what you could soon have for real, but in a very short time (15 minutes or so). this means you won't be accustomed to it like you would get accustomed to your slow actual muscle increase. This is why it is so motivational


Arnold also said something in "Pumping Iron" about the pump. It was deep and profound, but I can't quite think of what it is right now...


This is, ofcourse, untrue. 'The pump' does not simply give you extra size for a few hours; the very act of getting the pump itself involves lifting weights. In order to get the pump you need to lift high weight and a great amount of sets (say 6-8). This WILL result in anaerobic respiration of fast twitch fibres which WILL produce lactic acid and the fibres WILL be destroyed and more fibres will be recruited. So in answer to your question, it will have benefits for the same reason that running just to decrease your fat will increase your fitness.

I agree with the North Korean. As a Professor of Biophysics at Oxford, as a weightlifter, training for the pump will have benefits other than just looking good...btw all types of weight training will increase blood suplly to that muscle. Also training for the pump is pointless unless you actually have muscle to turgify.


Heh heh..you said "turgify".


An extreme muscle pump is counterproductive. Why? Because this means the cell membrane has shut down - no wastes can leave and no nutrition nor oxygen can enter. The cell is filled with lactic acid and the calcium cycle is inhibited = muscles can't function optimally. This is retarding your recovery for the next set. Attempting to lift heavy loads with an extreme pump, without lengthening your rest periods, will make your potential workload will suffer. You will not be able to push as much weight, getting less type IIb stimulation, therefore lessening your chance at building larger muscles.

A muscle naturally fills with blood and various other biochemical products/byproducts with the natural physiology of exercise. But, purposefully training for "the pump" is not intelligent training.

I believe CT was referring to achieving a pump from posing to densify the physique, not going for a huge pump during a workout.

Finally, I would love it is folks would try not to quote "Arnold" so often. #1, he used drugs. #2, his genetics were awesome. #3, he knows little about physiology if he is generally suggesting that an extreme pump is productive. #4, he was a bodybuilder, not an expert trainer nor professor; he is not an expert in physiology. Most of the authors on this site that I learn from would probably never get close to the stage of the Olympia if they tried. But there is not one bodybuilder on that stage in the last 25 years that I would take training advice from.



Maybe, but an extreme pump, that goes beyond a normal pump, would negate gains. This means by worrying about motivating yourself by checking out the "fake" progress, you are going to likely just keep seeing more "fake" progress. It's like stopping to stare at each pile of leaves as you rake the yard. Sure you are patting yourself on the back as you are making some progress, but all the time spent checking out your "pile" could be time spent actually getting more work done... so the wife doesn't start yelling at you!

Also, since protein accretion is very slow even with the best diet and training. A trainee would hardly recognize their gains, especially if their "posing their pump" a couple times per week. Maybe every few months, especially in a fat loss mode, might be helpful.



yes, but (if i continue with your analogy) when i your end goal of raking involves raking a shed load of leaves then looking at how much you've done already will prove that no matter hoiw big the rest of the pile looks you have still done sonmething. In your analogy that something is not fake.
Getting a pump is kind of 'fake' BUT it still provides motivation. There is no arguing this simple point as it works for me. Therefore if it works atleast once for any one person at any time then it can't be false.


Your experience may vary. Many have decent experience with a pump. Some have reporting lengthening of the muscle fibers themselves, but most report added thickness at the very least. You may want to pump up daily. I would advise keeping a pump for at least a good 30 minutes or so. The key to your success is going to be frequency of training. Don't overtrain!! While it might be really enjoyable to pump up multiple times a day, don't wear yourself out.

Let us know how you're coming along.


Their efficacy at increasing absolute size is hard to determine. Some practitioners believe the overload principle which stipulates that as a part of the body is pushed past its limits the natural healing process will accommodate for the extra stress when making repairs; for example, muscles get bigger and in this case tissues lengthen and swell. Over time it is believed that regimen of pumping and or other methods will cause gains, however minor, to be realized.

BTW what kind of pump are we talking here?


The "pump" I'm talking about is the full feeling and size increase (temporary)of the muscle you're training.
e.g. my forearms "blow up" for fun when I do this: 3x15 wrist curls behind back, 3x15 cross bench wrist curls followed by 1x15-30 (v. near failure) thumbless grip reverse curl. All using 1.5 minute rest between all sets. I can keep the pump for several minutes by squeezing a handfull of paper towel from the dispenser in the gym.
The reason I was asking was A: to find the consensus (doesn't sem to be one yet!) and B: I was wondering why some muscles pump more than others.

Definitely got two schools of thought here!



A physio (not a chiropractor) once told me that the "pump" we all talk about is a shortening of the mucscle, hence the tightening feeling, in response to the degree of activity. Not something to aim for but to be lessened by static stretching between sets to allow the muscle to do more work but safely, without the increased risk of over-straining due to its already "pre-tensed" state. Puts too much load onto the attachment points, the tendons, and more likely to risk joint inflamation. Stretching out the "pump" seems to ease the degree of bad "soreness" the day after the day after the bodypart workout.


I think it has some very important psychological value to it. Think about all the people that go with NO products simply for the 5 minute pump it gives them after a workout.

Psychology performance is probably one of the newest frontiers in athletics.


Interesting topic. And it appears there is a lack of concensus even in the medical community.
Ive read a few articles, and checked it with a physical therapist, but static stretching will make it so that the muscle will not contract to its maximum (ie: decrease maximal strength) for approx. 20 minutes after stretching. So you would want to avoid too much stretching prior to or during your workout and go for a good stretch after. This will allow the muscle to heal better and put less stress on the attachment and insertion points.


I don't agree with this. You definitely can achieve a significant pump with high reps, low weights and low sets, i.e. as it is done backstage before bodybuilding competitions.

Another aspect your blanket statement fails to consider is that a high number of sets alone is by no means sufficient in every case. What about performing 6 to 8 singles with 3 to 5 minute rest periods? I wouldn't get a pump out of that.