T Nation

Is The Pump Necessary?


although not everyone here aspires to be on stage. we are all out to get big and muscular. everyone knows you don't get big lifting sissy weights. is a training pump necessary ? can optimal muscle growth be achieved without it and if so.. does it hurt if you do it anyway?

i like finishing up all my bodyparts with an isolation exercise that leaves my muscles full of blood ?



While I don't train for a pump specifically, I don't think I have ever had a workout in which the target muscle did not get a pump. With that being said, I feel that if you are working out properly, eat properly and training intensely, you will get a pump in the muscle you are working like it or not. Is it neccessary for growth, probably not, does it mean you are training correctly and thus will grow from that, I think so.


A good pump helps with fascia stretching and recovery.

I've found if I keep my rest times between sets as short as possible I get a much better pump that lasts for a lot longer than usual.


I agree with Austin.....I don't specifically train for it, but it tends to happen with the DC style training I do. If it doesn't happen, I don't go out of my way to elicit it.

A pump is just reactive hyperemia; if it by itself was all you needed then we'd all be doing the occlusion style training that is a traditional form of training in Japan, then again, its not that popular there anyway, just an interesting manipulation of physiology.

Lifting heavy weights the way we all do (hopefully) will cause it, most of the time.

RE the OP, is that the only reason you use isolation exercises? That would be unfortunate.


RE the OP, is that the only reason you use isolation exercises? That would be unfortunate.[/quote]

Not at all, but thanks for your input.


Does anyone go out of their way to make sure the muscle they just worked has a really good pump before finishing it? I know Professor X said he does this in his thread. Is this counter productive in any way?


A pump is a great way to finish a workout on a psychological high, if nothing else. Looking at yourself in a mirror with a pump is also a good way of visualising how you want to get bigger too.


I've always been under the impression that the pump doesn't mean that you've stimulated growth. While I certainly don't train for it, I have some bodyparts that always seem to get a decent pump when training, and others that never do. Obviously if the ones that never felt pumped hadn't been stimulated to grow at all, I like to think that I would have noticed by now.



This is pretty much my thought on it as well.


That was a very good post.


So you think a pump isn't necessary. Are the same body parts that don't get a pump your weaker body parts by any chance?


Correct. You're strongest bodyparts will pump the easiest and you might even have difficulty in getting a pump in weak ones.

I used to get a pump in my quads from walking up several flights of stairs, while I felt little in my calves, one of my weaker bodyparts. I get a pump in my bis and traps very easily still, despite the fact that I'm considerably smaller than I once was.

I found pre-exhaust to be THEE best technique in getting better innervation and pump in a muscle.


I think that a pump can be a good indicator of adequate volume for growth.

Say for example you ramp up on the bench press using just 3 rep sets. The last max set may leave your pecs feeling flat. So, you do another higher rep set (say 6-10 reps). You start to get a better pump. You do a further higher rep set, and the pump is pretty intense by this point.

Chances are, if you stopped short in this example (like after just one 3 rep max or near), a very little growth stimulus would have been created compared to "pumping it out" more.

But there comes a point of diminishing returns...keep increasing the set/rep volume (and lowering the load to accommodate) and you'll go beyond that optimal point.


IMO pump is just the faster (immediate) effect of training.
don't think at all that pumping is necessary for ipertrofia (hypertrophy); when i do 3 reps rest pause mode pump is very limited but gains were goo, far better than using "pumping-weights".
on the other side, if weights are lighters more reps=more pump but what about hypertrophy?
if pump would mean hypertrophy we could do 100 reps of any excercise and still gain?
I firmly believe in muscles microtrauma; choose any protocol you like (high volume, hit, rest pause, Mars attack routine, any reps number from 2 to 15, fast speed, low speed, isometrics :slightly_smiling: torture youe muscles at failure and beyond and they will grow up because of adaption rule.
this is a fact.
pumping? cute but not responsable for muscular growth IMO

Mike from Italy


The fact is no one here knows for certain, there are too many variables.

The one thing I can say for certain though is that if you aren't getting a pump, you probably aren't working hard enough (with the exception of being completely wired, stims reduce the pump significantly).

As for stronger vs weaker muscles and the level of "pumpage", I would guess that it is in fact the more vascular muscles which receive an improved pump, which will often happen to be those which are most well trained.


I don't know if it's always a matter of being the weaker bodyparts,.. or even for that matter the ones that get sore the next day. Sometimes I'm sore, sometimes I'm not. At this stage in my lifting timeline, I think I can honestly say that every muscle group has grown quite a bit.

I've always viewed growth stimulation and the pump (and even soreness) as completely independent aspects of training. That's not to say that they aren't somehow related or even correlated, but it's entirely possible to stimulate growth without getting a pump, or even being sore the next day.



The advantage of getting a good pump is that it gets increased blood flow to your muscles therefore shuttling in nutrients and shuttling out waste products. Plus it looks damn good!


But doesn't that mean there is a decreased blood flow to your stomach?


For me my most stubborn body parts only respond to both very heavy lifting AND a lot of pump work all in the same workout. One or the other on its own will do practically nothing for growth.

For bodyparts that respond straightforwardly I think it will speed up results but is not essential


Very good post.

I don't think it's necessary for growth. I think the ABILITY to pump up a muscle is necessary for growth. (Don't know how else to put it.)