T Nation

Lets Talk 'The Pump': CT's Experiment

Long time member, first time poster (sad, I know)…so allow me to introduce myself first…

I created an account several years back while in high school, a typical skinny kid looking to pack on some muscle, and boy was I lucky to find T-Nation! Though I created an account right away, I felt entirely unworthy to make any posts, so I just did a ton of research instead. I know its long overdue, but I give many thanks and appreciation to all you guys…I learned so much so quickly from all the incredible resources available here! Especially CT…you are my hero man!

From 2004-2007 (late high school to early college years) I focused on the big lifts (squats, deads, cleans, presses & pulls) at high intensity and was basically on the “see-food” diet (with zero supplements, except protein powder). While I ate less-than-clean the vast majority of the time (protein was still a high priority at every meal though), I packed on quite a bit of muscle while staying fairly lean. In my first 3 years of lifting and at a height of 5’8 I went from 135 to 190 pounds and I felt great! For being totally natural, I had nice definition, 16 inch arms cold (respectable for my stature I believe), I could see all my abs, I was stronger (and looked better!) than most of the guys at my university’s gym…and I even had more than just one of the college ladies refer to me as “a greek god” (haha…talk about an ego-boost!). When I was asked for training advice, I referred countless buddies and gym goers to T-Nation…it was a good time.

Then something awful happened, and I have only myself to blame. In my second year of college, I allowed myself to fall victim to marijuana. It started with friends just recreationally, but quickly became a habitual crutch and it literally took over my life. Slowly but surely I started missing more and more of my workouts until they stopped altogether. I got incredibly lazy…I started playing online poker and eventually dropped out of school (engineering major). Although I was making a decent living playing online poker, I was letting my life fall apart.

That was 2007. Fast forward to April 15, 2011. The U.S. government shut down the major online poker sites in the U.S. and my income was immediately cut off. But it would literally be the best thing that could have happened to me! Luckily I had some savings, but I needed to strongly re-evaluate my life and where I was headed. In the coming months I would fall in love with the woman of my dreams (and her name wasn’t Mary Jane lol) and I finally stopped smoking weed (I literally flushed the supply I had down the toilet, trashed my bong, and finally said good riddance!). I’m back in school now finishing out my engineering degree…aaaaannnnnddd…dun-dun-dun-dun!!!—I FINALLY STARTED TRAINING AGAIN!

During my 4 year hiatus (from life, as we’ll call it), I atrophied down to 148 lbs and I couldn’t even see my abs (very sad…I erased virtually ALL my gains and went from “greek god” to skinny-chubby loser!). But after 6 months of being back in the training game and eating mostly clean and natural, I’m so far up to a fairly solid 162 lbs and much leaner (yay abs lol). My strength has started returning, which feels amazing, but I definitely want back more of what I used to have. I’m still only 5’8 and while my girlfriend says I look great, I have a goal! Inevitably I found my way back to T-Nation, and I came across John Romaniello’s article “How to Look Freakin’ Awesome.” Ironically, my measurements pre-catastrophe were almost exactly what they needed to be to “look freakin’ awesome!” Thank God I have muscle memory working for me, but it will take roughly another 1.75 inch increase in arms, 2.5 in legs, and 1 for calves, while leaning out just a bit more to reach all my goals. Strength gains are obviously a welcome and fortunate bonus throughout this quest, but symmetry, proportion, and leanness are all top priorities for me right now.

Sooooooo…trying to catch up on the latest research and discoveries here at the center of all that is holy in bodybuilding, I became very intrigued by CT’s new pump methods. When I first started training I NEVER went after the pump (though I sometimes got it anyway from heavy lifting, and it did feel awesome–so if it is truly beneficial, I’d like to start incorporating it now!). From what I’ve gathered so far though, it looks like the steps are:

  1. proper peri-workout nutrition (duh! lol)
  2. pre-pump (without fatiguing) the working muscle/group
  3. high threshold work with antagonistic maximal pump in between sets (e.g. biceps if doing triceps/chest work)
  • (possibly alternating steps 2 & 3 for a time until high threshold work suffers)
  1. maximum pump for the working muscle/group

I know the pump can be achieved a number of different ways (static holds, partials, super-slow eccentric, high reps, etc.), and I know CT is still experimenting, but I was wondering if there has been a development in the general consensus for what methods (perhaps dependent on muscle/exercise) which might seem to work best for PRE-pumping without fatiguing, as the maximal pump at the end is relatively easy once you’re not afraid of fatiguing after the high threshold work. Perhaps I’ll just need to experiment myself, as I’m sure many of you currently are, but any direction/light on the subject is more than welcome!

Thanks again guys! I’m glad to be back in the community and hopefully I’ll have something to contribute this go around :slight_smile:

cliff notes?

Prepumping without fatigue is generally best done with bands, or an eccentricless movement. For example:

Chest = Plate-Pinch presses (squeeze 2 5lb plates together like you are praying, and then deliberately move them back and forth like a press), Hex DB Squeeze and press, Sled Chest Press

Triceps/biceps/shoulders = Slow, Deliberate Band movements done for 10-15 second sets.

Legs = forward/backward sled dragging, or partial hamstring curls

CT has also mentioned using a 10/10/5 kind of pattern, where you use a movement like a BB curl or a light pressing movement and do 10 top partials, 10 bottom partials, and 5 full range of movement reps.

Read the spills over the last week, he has posted TONS of ideas and methods about this

Awesome, thanks!

I have another thought…if pumping is beneficial in that it helps “flood the muscle with nutrients” (assuming proper peri-workout nutrition), would it not be beneficial to get a slight, minimally fatiguing pump after literally EVERY meal, EVERYDAY? I know it might sound funny or a little absurd, but if we continually flood our muscles with nutrient rich blood more frequently throughout the day, everyday, even days of rest, would it not be even more beneficial? Not necessarily IMMEDIATELY after eating, but perhaps between 1-3 hours after each meal, depending on what was eaten so that nutrients have ample time to begin making their way into the bloodstream? Since its minimally fatiguing, and therefore minimally taxing, its not like we’d be worried about “over training”…right? Like I said, just a thought…

Cliff notes:

I got respectably big and strong using workout methods on this site, then atrophied essentially back to starting point from not working out for several years. Just getting back into it again and making progress once again. CT’s pump research is awesome. Lets talk about it :slight_smile:

ok cool

[quote]dietryin wrote:
CT’s pump research is awesome.[quote]

cliff notes?

I actually asked CT the same thing about multiple pump sessions throughout the day. The answer I got was that you need the blood to be rich in the right nutrients (ala MAG-10 and Anaconda) so any pump work done without those nutrients is essentially useless. The load is NOT heavy enough to elicit a growth response, and the blood is devoid of anything that would benefit the muscles.

Now, if you had some kind of pulsing strategy in place with the MAG-10 it might work, but that is WAY over thinking it and WAY overkill in terms of getting results. Lift things up and put them down :wink:

Pump?

FST7

Haha, fair enough…perhaps one good time to do such a thing, however, would be first thing in the morning, especially the morning after a workout day? Theory behind this is that our bodies are already craving nutrients (protein especially) and since the more recent research suggests that the “post workout window of opportunity” (i.e. times of increased protein synthesis within the body) lasts potentially more than 24 hours after a workout, we would be PRIMED to accept/utilize this pulse of nutrients to its fullest potential and therefore flooding the muscles (via pump) at this particular time might make sense, no?

[quote]Lonnie123 wrote:
I actually asked CT the same thing about multiple pump sessions throughout the day. The answer I got was that you need the blood to be rich in the right nutrients (ala MAG-10 and Anaconda) so any pump work done without those nutrients is essentially useless. The load is NOT heavy enough to elicit a growth response, and the blood is devoid of anything that would benefit the muscles.

Now, if you had some kind of pulsing strategy in place with the MAG-10 it might work, but that is WAY over thinking it and WAY overkill in terms of getting results. Lift things up and put them down ;-)[/quote]

Maybe it won’t elicit growth but it is active recovery (provided you don’t go overboard).

Also to call exercise without having ingested the right nutrients beforehand “useless” is quite frankly absurd. Less than optimum perhaps but not useless!

I’m going to assume that isn’t what CT meant as I would never try and infer what someone meant through a 3rd party.

Hope you get back on track and kill it m8 : )

man I like CT a lot but hes gone thru more tools and technique than ever. From explosive, gymnastic, prowler, rings, olympic lifting and now back again to pumping (bodybuilding 101). I have a bit of a nausea and am not even sure how to lift anymore and I have a strong base. The average reader would be lost in this circus.

[quote]ronald1919 wrote:
man I like CT a lot but hes gone thru more tools and technique than ever. From explosive, gymnastic, prowler, rings, olympic lifting and now back again to pumping (bodybuilding 101). I have a bit of a nausea and am not even sure how to lift anymore and I have a strong base. The average reader would be lost in this circus. [/quote]

it is gimmicky BS.

There are many people here who are obsessing over gymnastic rings and ‘pulsing’ etc who look like total beginners and would be better served doing the same basic exercises that have been around for 60+ years and eating steak and potatoes.

Thanks Ethan :slight_smile:

@ronald…I agree with you on that. You pretty much can’t go wrong with the basics though: high intensity, compound movements will nearly always yield results for the majority of individuals, assuming adequate rest and nutrition is had. I believe CT is just looking for ways to enhance and create variety within those basic principles.

[quote]Ct. Rockula wrote:
Pump?

FST7[/quote]

youd think id grow tired of this, but na, literally makes me laugh more and more each time i stumble into a thread and see this.

[quote]Vir wrote:
Maybe it won’t elicit growth but it is active recovery (provided you don’t go overboard).

Also to call exercise without having ingested the right nutrients beforehand “useless” is quite frankly absurd. Less than optimum perhaps but not useless!

I’m going to assume that isn’t what CT meant as I would never try and infer what someone meant through a 3rd party.[/quote]

For what its worth, and so you dont have to hear it from a 3rd party, here was my question and his response:

ME: CT - What do you think of doing multiple non-fatiguing “pump sets” throughout the day for the body part you focus on in the AM? ie - Today was Bench Pattern, so Im thinking about doing a few sets of “plate squeeze presses” … No eccentric, just to get a pump in the area a few times a day

CT: @ Lonnie… if you don’t load the body with the proper nutrients, doing pump work is mostly pointless. The only way I’d see the multiple-pump day strategy as being possibly effective is if you do it 10-20 minutes after a MAG-10 pulse.

[quote]want2getlean wrote:

[quote]Lonnie123 wrote:
you need the blood to be rich in the right nutrients (ala MAG-10 and Anaconda) so any pump work done without those nutrients is essentially useless. [/quote]

lol[/quote]
x2… useless? Cmon now.

Just relaying the info CT wrote guys…

But also try to remember that the “pump work” is not a full arm workout that happens to result in a pump, its STRICTLY work designed to bring blood to the area. Low intensity, medium duration work done for only 3-5 sets. It really isnt much of a stimulus at all.

We are talking 3-5 “sets” of 10-15 seconds with band curls or something similar.

[quote]Lonnie123 wrote:
Just relaying the info CT wrote guys…
[/quote]

yeah i wasn’t trying to pin anything on you, just laughing at the statement itself

[quote]Vir wrote:

[quote]Lonnie123 wrote:
I actually asked CT the same thing about multiple pump sessions throughout the day. The answer I got was that you need the blood to be rich in the right nutrients (ala MAG-10 and Anaconda) so any pump work done without those nutrients is essentially useless. The load is NOT heavy enough to elicit a growth response, and the blood is devoid of anything that would benefit the muscles.

Now, if you had some kind of pulsing strategy in place with the MAG-10 it might work, but that is WAY over thinking it and WAY overkill in terms of getting results. Lift things up and put them down ;-)[/quote]

Maybe it won’t elicit growth but it is active recovery (provided you don’t go overboard).

Also to call exercise without having ingested the right nutrients beforehand “useless” is quite frankly absurd. Less than optimum perhaps but not useless!

I’m going to assume that isn’t what CT meant as I would never try and infer what someone meant through a 3rd party.[/quote]

Yeah, I think thats right. Probably CT meant useless from a growth stimulus standpoint, but brief workouts like that have definitely been used by him and others for active recovery (assuming no real fatigue). Paul Anderson even writes about doing something similar for squats, for strength. I dont think his version is very good though for other stuff.

But the other thing is, CT has written about how Daryl Gee did a large chunk of his last 2 weeks of contest prep by posing the mandatories for a few rounds after every meal. Not sure on the timing, but I think it was something like 30 minute post meal…According to CT it helped him appear sharper, and lean out slightly more I believe. Old schoolers like Arnold used to pose in the gym between sets for the same reason (CT’s research ancestors)