New Muscle Pump Plan

by Ellington Darden, Ph.D.

New Muscle Pump (NMP) is a strategy for training muscles while fully pumped with growth nutrients. The system’s repetition layers, specialized workout fuel, and training pace potentiate and synergize the effects. The goal is to explosively develop a dense, lean muscular body with enhanced work capacity.

There are two fundamental requirements to do the program:

  1. Be mentally tough and physically conditioned to withstand the required intensity and volume.
  2. Use the Surge dosing protocol to pump your muscles with the necessary growth nutrients for the system to work as planned.

New Muscle Pump is an elite-level plan in the exclusive Surge Challenge category. You’ll need the Surge Challenge Kit to access the coaching forum and logs. Here’s the rundown:

  1. The Surge Challenge Kit includes access to the coaching forum and logs for three months.
  2. Each Surge Challenge Reload keeps your access active for three additional months.

The material in this plan is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice and care of your physician. As with all new exercise regimens, consult with your physician to make sure it is appropriate to your individual circumstances before following the concept described in this material. The author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects resulting from the use or application of the information contained herein.

© 2022 by Ellington Darden, Ph.D. and T Nation LLC

WORKOUT INSTRUCTIONS

Each workout covers four body parts. A body-part block takes approximately 5 minutes to complete. With the suggested rest, each workout requires 25 minutes or less. Perform the workouts every other day (MWF or TTS) with two days off after three sessions.

Three 2-Week Phases: 18 Workouts

The plan includes three training phases. Each phase consists of six workouts (a total of 18 workouts over 6 weeks). Each phase uses the same body blocks but in a different order.

Body-Part Blocks


PHASE 1 – WORKOUTS 1-6 – WEEKS 1-2

1 2 3 4 5 6
Thighs Shoulders Chest Triceps Legs Thighs
Lats Lats Biceps Lats Chest Shoulders
Triceps Biceps Triceps Foreamrs Biceps Calves
Forearms Calves Legs Calves Foreamrs Chest

PHASE 2 – WORKOUTS 7-12 – WEEKS 3-4

7 8 9 10 11 12
Biceps Shoulders Lats Thighs Chest Legs
Triceps Calves Triceps Calves Lats Calves
Lats Legs Biceps Shoulders Triceps Shoulders
Forearms Chest Chest Biceps Calves Biceps

PHASE 3 – WORKOUTS 13-18 – WEEKS 5-6

13 14 15 16 17 18
Thighs Biceps Lats Legs Shoulders Thighs
Chest Triceps Chest Calves Legs Lats
Lats Shoulders Biceps Shoulders Chest Triceps
Forearms Legs Calves Triceps Forearms Biceps

PHASE 4 – WORKOUTS 19-24 – WEEKS 7-8

Instructions

  • Phase 4 introduces the 30-10-30 Stimulate method for one exercise in each body block. Check the body blocks for details.
19 20 21 22 23 24
Thighs Shoulders Chest Triceps Legs Thighs
Lats Lats Biceps Lats Chest Shoulders
Triceps Biceps Triceps Foreamrs Biceps Calves
Forearms Calves Legs Calves Foreamrs Chest

PHASE 5 – WORKOUTS 25-30 – Weeks 9-10

Instructions

  • Continue doing 30-10-30 for the same exercise in each body block as Phase 4. Check the body blocks for details.
  • Add a negative/hold (N/H) chin at the end of workout 25 and a negative/hold (N/H) dip at the end of workout 29.
25 26 27 28 29 30
Biceps Shoulders Lats Thighs Chest Legs
Triceps Calves Triceps Calves Lats Calves
Lats Legs Biceps Shoulders Triceps Shoulders
Forearms Chest Chest Biceps Calves Biceps
N/H30 Chin N/H30 Dip
Method Description
N/H30 ● Do 1 negative-only rep x 30 sec.
● Pause for 1 sec. at the 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 positions.
● Hang at the full stretch for 5 seconds.

PHASE 6 – WORKOUTS 31-36 – WEEKS 11-12

Instructions

  • Continue doing 30-10-30 for the same exercise in each body block as Phase 4. Check the body blocks for details.
  • Add a negative/hold (N/H) chin at the end of workout 32 and a negative/hold (N/H) dip at the end of workout 36.
31 32 33 34 35 36
Thighs Biceps Lats Legs Shoulders Thighs
Chest Triceps Chest Calves Legs Lats
Lats Shoulders Biceps Shoulders Chest Triceps
Forearms Legs Calves Triceps Forearms Biceps
N/H45 Chin N/H45 Dip
Method Description
N/H45 ● Do 1 negative-only rep x 45 sec.
● Pause for 1 sec. at the 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 positions.
● Hang at the full stretch for 5 seconds.

Abdominal Work

If you feel like you need abdominal exercises during your workout, we recommend doing them as a warmup before your scheduled session. Then, do the appropriate Surge workout.

Here are some of the best midsection exercises:

  • Trunk curl on floor
  • Reverse trunk curl on floor
  • Side bend with dumbbell
  • Prone back raise on bench
  • Leg raise
  • Various ab machines

Rep Performance

The program includes fast and slow reps. Regardless of the speed, move smoothly and avoid impact in the top and bottom positions. Explosive movements are safe when done correctly. So focus on feeling the muscles contracting and un-contracting while the joints move. Accelerate smoothly and carefully.

Loaded Stretch/Hold

Loaded stretches are major growth stimulators, so learn to do them well. For loaded stretches, hold a bottom position that feels safe. For pull-ups, most people can safely hang in a full stretch. For bench press, protect the shoulders with a hold that’s a little less than a full stretch. It’s a simple rule: Always be and feel safe, or don’t do it.

Going to Failure

Don’t go to failure. Going to failure overtaxes the nervous system for no benefit. It depletes CNS (central nervous system) reserves and limits the amount of continued mechanical muscle-fiber stimulation. When in doubt, go lighter.

Weight Selection

You want to create layers of effects in targeted muscles. To do that, you have to avoid excessive fatigue to keep the muscles performing during each phase (set).

The correct resistance falls within about a 20-percent range. The best way to describe it is, you’ll know when the weight is too heavy or too light – so if it’s not too heavy or too light, it’s just right.

Reduce the weight a little if you’re getting anywhere close to failure. In contrast, add a little weight if you’re not feeling the resistance working.

Pump Phase

  1. Think continuous pumping movement.
  2. Select a weight that allows for laser concentration and optimal feel.
  3. Use smooth, rhythmic reps, going about one second up and one second down for most exercises
  4. Take no pauses in the top and bottom positions.
  5. Turn around right before lockout on pressing movements (locking out takes too much load off the muscles).
  6. Don’t slow down as the muscles pump up and the set progresses.

Afterward, rest the involved body part for 60 seconds and allow the muscles to engorge fully. Then, move quickly to the Stimulate Phase.

Stimulate Phase

Again, select a weight that allows for laser concentration and optimal feel. Use this rep style:

  1. Stretch/Hold Bottom for 10 Seconds: Start the first rep in the bottom position with a 10-second stretch/hold. Make sure to breathe during the hold.
  2. Launch to the Top Position: Ease out of the bottom stretch and launch the resistance with force to the top (activating the fast-twitch fibers). Don’t throw the weight. Be quick, but then slow down toward the top.
  3. Slow Down the Last-Half Negative: Lower in about one second from the top to the halfway point, where you slow down and take 5 seconds to lower to the bottom stretch.
  4. Stretch/Hold Bottom Briefly: Stretch/hold the bottom position for about one second before you ease into the launch of the next rep.
  5. Repeat Steps 2-4 for 8-10 reps.
  6. End Like You Began: End the last rep with a 10-second stretch/hold in the bottom position (like you did on the first rep).

Afterward, rest the involved body part for 60 seconds and allow the muscles to engorge fully. Then, move quickly to the Flutter Phase.

30-10-30 Stimulate Method

One of my most effective Stimulate methods is called 30-10- 30, which involves doing two 30-second negatives, in a certain way, with 10 optimized reps between them. If done correctly, 30-10-30 triggers HUGE improvements in your training gains.

The First 30-Second Negative

  1. Lift the weight into the contracted position (for most exercises) in preparation for the first negative rep.
  2. Squeeze the contracted muscles in the fully secured contracted position, and begin the 30-second negative.
  3. Keep the movement smooth and deliberate, thinking about nothing but slowly un-contracting muscle.
  4. Glance at a wall clock or something in easy view to manage time.
  5. Don’t get distracted with timekeeping. Your primary goal is feeling and visualizing the muscle working.

The Last Half of the Negative Is More Important

I’ve found that the last half of a negative rep becomes increasingly important as you move into the stretched position. I recommend taking 10 seconds for the first half and 20 seconds to complete the last half of the negative rep. At the stretched position, perform an exquisite — smooth — turnaround to begin your first optimal positive rep.

10 Optimal Positive Reps

Coming out of the bottom position of your first 30-second negative, here’s what you do:

  1. Increase smoothly the movement speed so that you’re at a tempo of one second up (positive) and two seconds down (negative) for all 10 reps.
  2. Focus on putting your mind in the middle of exquisitely smooth, rhythmic muscle contractions and un-contractions. The goal is to fill the working muscles with blood and nutrients while fatiguing the fibers.
  3. Nail the 10th rep with plenty of capacity left to squeeze the contracting muscles in preparation for the most important rep — the finishing 30-second negative.

The Second 30-Second Negative

Doing a 30-second negative on an optimally fatigued and nutrient-loaded muscle is the whole point of the preceding 10 repetitions.

  1. Keep that purpose in mind to motivate you to perform the last perfect, intensely painful negative rep.
  2. Be mindful of the working muscles and savor the feeling.
  3. Slow down the last half of the rep, taking 20 seconds to move into the stretched position, where you end the movement by gently landing at the endpoint and relaxing the working muscles.

30-10-30 Lex Extension Demo

T Nation member pfit9 does a 30-10-30 leg extension set:

Flutter Phase

Flutter reps activate fast-twitch fibers while further increasing the pump. This is the block’s last phase, so stay focused. Take some time to experiment to get the feel of this technique.

  1. Use Lighter Weight: The weight needs to be light enough to do midrange flutters for about 20 seconds.
  2. Set Up in Midrange Position: You’re going to do a burst of quick finisher reps in the midrange, traveling only about 4-8 inches (depending upon the exercise).
  3. Take Advantage of Stretch Reflex: The stretch-reflex effect plays a role when bouncing up and down in the mid position of a calf-raise finisher (flutter) set. Most of us have seen or done that. The action loop is a controlled drop, followed by a reflex-assisted launch, followed by a controlled drop.
  4. End When Performance Slows: Flutter reps, done correctly, should feel automatic and almost effortless. Continue until you begin to slow down naturally, usually after 20 seconds, when you end the set.

At the end of the Flutter phase, you should feel a growth-stimulating super-pump that can last long after the workout ends. Rest 60 seconds before the next body-part block.

Surge® Workout Fuel

I saved Surge Workout Fuel for the end because I want to leave you with a lasting impression of its importance. Saying your results are dependent on Surge Workout Fuel is an understatement – and that assessment is based solely on my personal and professional experience.

I wouldn’t have and couldn’t have developed my New Muscle Pump training system without Surge Workout Fuel.

Pumping a muscle with supraphysiologic levels of blood filled with agents that stimulate intracellular growth signaling and protein synthesis, optimize intracellular pH, sustain boosted nitric oxide, and markedly extend work capacity and performance is beyond my educated comprehension.

And Surge Workout Fuel does all of that and more. But I had to experience these effects to fully appreciate and understand the impact on training and building muscle.

To give insight on what to expect from Surge Workout Fuel and to show how much I depend on it, here’s what Tim Patterson says about it:

Biotest doesn’t make supplements for the general fitness market. Our sole focus is on providing competitive advantages to elite athletes, first responders, battle-ready soldiers, and those whose lives and careers depend on their bodies performing beyond their known limits.

Each ingredient in Surge Workout Fuel is well-thought-out, competitively tested, and included for a distinct purpose.

For example, a while ago, we discovered with our athletes that BCAAs didn’t work well and that L-leucine is the critical amino acid triggering protein synthesis. Later we were proved correct. Our exact dosing is in the Surge formula.

We had numerous conversations with the premiere beta-alanine research scientist, Dr. Jeffrey Stout, about dosing. Finding it was a cumulative process requiring 179 grams loaded over several months, we developed the full dosing protocol that delivers optimal performance, and that’s in Surge Workout Fuel.

Even the electrolytes we use in Surge Workout Fuel were tested in competitive cyclists in the summer heat at high altitude. These athletes were losing about six pounds of water from training. We kept the cyclists optimally hydrated and coming in from training at or slightly above starting weight.

You simply can’t out-train Surge Workout Fuel. You’ll gain muscle faster, significantly increase work capacity, sustain intensity levels, recover quicker, and virtually eliminate soreness. And the difference will be amazing.

Tim is right, Surge Workout Fuel does work better than he promised. And the best thing I can think to do is to deliver the same challenge to you.

I’ve designed a training system that takes full advantage of the Surge phenomenon, and you’re getting it all for free with no strings attached other than doing the plan and reporting your experience.

Three Lifestyle Habits for New Muscle

We don’t want to overcomplicate nutrition and health suggestions. From our experience, keeping it simple and focusing on the important ideas works best when building new muscle.

Here are our three simple habits:

  1. Keep your nutrient-dense foods between 3500 and 4000 calories per day.

  2. Stay hydrated throughout the day with plenty of cold water.

  3. Sleep at least 9 hours each night if you can.

If you want to discuss these topics further, drop your questions in the forum.

The Unspoken Pledge

Tim and I appreciate your commitment and are eager to get started coaching you to a successful outcome.

Here’s what we need from you:

  1. Keep a detailed Training Log. Post records, notes, and updates about your workouts, size and weight measurements, super-pump and progress photos, and observations.

  2. Share and Discuss Your Progress Openly. Keep posting updates in the Surge Challenge thread. It’s the one place everyone can follow. Even though the topic is closed to outsider posts, it’s open to all observers.

All eyes are on us, so let’s show other lifters how the old-school way of working together changes lives.

Let’s inspire the watchers to make the deepest commitment to building a better body.

It’s the unspoken pledge that unites us all and lasts forever.

Be “Awake” During Your Experience

I love everything about muscle. And when I look back at the last 60 years of my muscle-building quest, I have a priceless treasure of experiences. You need to be aware that Tim and I will do everything possible to help you build a treasure of your own.

We used to drive across the country to visit our mentors and colleagues to learn, compare notes, and for advice. It was Pumping Iron old-school, and it was awesome. And we’re committed to delivering the same kind of old-school experience to you, and we can do it all in person on the forums, with video, and even with phone calls.

So don’t miss out! Challenge us to deliver the best training experience of your life by asking us questions and posting comments, photos, and updates.

Working out the kinks to get you the same exact results we see and expect is what we do.

I’ll leave you with this final thought:

Participate. And give it all you got!

You may never have another experience like this.

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Surge® Workout Fuel Dosing and Mixing Instructions

IMPORTANT: Follow these instructions to letter. If, for some reason, you can’t, let us know immediately.

Dose Size

Mix 1 scoop in 600-1000 mL of water.

Workout-Day Schedule

  • Dose 1: Completely consume exactly 20 minutes before training.

  • Dose 2: Drink throughout the workout and afterward if you’ve not finished during training.

  • Dose 3: Drink one hour before bedtime.

Off-Day Schedule

Mix 1 scoop in 1800 mL of water and drink throughout the day.

Mixing Instructions

This short video (50 seconds) shows how to properly mix Surge® Workout Fuel:

LEGS BLOCK

Method Exercise Reps Rest
Pump Wide-Foot-Pos. Leg Press 8 10
Pump Narrow-Foot-Pos. Leg Press 8 10
Pump Med-Foot-Pos. Leg Press 8 60
Stimulate Trap-Bar Squat or Squat 10 60
Flutter Trap-Bar Squat or Squat or Bodyweight with Bands 20 Sec. 60

PHASE 4

  1. Use the 30-10-30 method for Trap-Bar Squat or Squat.
  2. Keep the other exercises the same.
Method Exercise Reps Rest
30-10-30 Trap-Bar Squat 1/10/1 10

THIGHS BLOCK

Method Exercise Reps Rest
Pump Leg Extension, Toes Out 10 10
Pump Leg Curl 8 10
Pump Leg Extension, Toes In 10 60
Stimulate Leg Press 10 10
Stimulate Leg Extension 10 10
Stimulate Leg Curl Machine 8 60
Flutter Leg Extension Machine 20 Sec. 60

PHASE 4

  1. Use the 30-10-30 method for the Leg Press.
  2. Keep the other exercises the same.
Method Exercise Reps Rest
30-10-30 Leg Press 1/10/1 10

CALVES BLOCK

Method Exercise Reps Rest
Pump Seated Calf Raise 12 10
Pump Calf Raise Machine 12 10
Pump Bent-Over Calf Raise 12 60
Stimulate Leg Curl, Toes Pointed Away 8 10
Stimulate Calf Raise 12 60
Flutter Calf Raise 20 Sec. 60

PHASE 4

  1. Use the 30-10-30 method for Calf Raise.
  2. Keep the other exercises the same.
Method Exercise Reps Rest
30-10-30 Calf Raise 1/10/1 10

CHEST BLOCK

Method Exercise Reps Rest
Pump Barbell Bench Press 10 10
Pump Dumbbell Bent-Armed Fly or Bands 10 10
Pump Pushup on Floor 10 60
Stimulate Barbell Bench Press 10 60
Flutter Barbell Bench Press or Bands 20 Sec. 60

PHASE 4

  1. Use the 30-10-30 method for Barbell Bench Press.
  2. Keep the other exercises the same.
Method Exercise Reps Rest
30-10-30 Barbell Bench Press 1/10/1 10

SHOULDERS BLOCK

Method Exercise Reps Rest
Pump Overhand Bar Hang 40 Sec. 10
Pump Dumbbell Lateral Raise 10 10
Pump Dumbbell Upright Row 10 60
Stimulate Barbell Overhead Press 10 10
Stimulate Dumbbell Lateral Raise 10 10
Stimulate Trap-Bar or DB Farmer’s Walk 40 Steps 10
Stimulate Trap-Bar Shrug 10 60
Flutter Dumbbell Lateral Raise 20 Sec. 60

PHASE 4

  1. Use the 30-10-30 method for Barbell Overhead Press.
  2. Keep the other exercises the same.
Method Exercise Reps Rest
30-10-30 Barbell Overhead Press 1/10/1 10

LATS BLOCK

Method Exercise Reps Rest
Pump Barbell Row 8 10
Pump Darden Pullover 8 10
Pump Supinated-Grip Pulldown 8 60
Stimulate Darden Pullover 8 10
Flutter Darden Pullover 20 Sec. 60

PHASE 4

  1. Use the 30-10-30 method for Darden Pullover.
  2. Keep the other exercises the same.
Method Exercise Reps Rest
30-10-30 Darden Pullover 1/10/1 10

BICEPS BLOCK

Method Exercise Reps Rest
Pump Narrow-Grip Barbell Curl 8 10
Pump Chin-up 8 10
Pump Wide-Grip Barbell Curl 8 60
Stimulate Dumbbell Zotterman Curl 10 0
Rotate DB to hammer
Stimulate Dumbbell Hammer Curl 10 0
Rotate DB to regular
Stimulate Dumbbell Regular Curl 10 60
Flutter Dumbbell Regular Curl or Bands 20 Sec. 60

PHASE 4

  1. Use the 30-10-30 method for Dumbbell Regular Curl.
  2. Keep the other exercises the same.
Method Exercise Reps Rest
30-10-30 Dumbbell Regular Curl 1/10/1 10

TRICEPS BLOCK

Method Exercise Reps Rest
Pump Triceps Pressdown or Bands 10 10
Pump Parallel Bar Dip 10 10
Pump Triceps Pressdown or Bands 8 60
Stimulate Overhead Triceps Extension with One Dumbbell 8 0
Decrease wt. 5 lb
Stimulate Overhead Triceps Extension with One Dumbbell 8 60
Flutter Overhead Triceps Extension with One Dumbbell or Band 20 Sec. 60

PHASE 4

  1. Use the 30-10-30 method for the first Overhead Triceps Extension with One Dumbbell.
  2. Keep the other exercises the same.
Method Exercise Reps Rest
30-10-30 Overhead Triceps Extension with One Dumbbell 1/10/1 10
Decrease wt. 5 lb

FOREARMS BLOCK

Method Exercise Reps Rest
Pump Seated Barbell Wrist Curl 10 10
Pump Reverse Seated Barbell Wrist Curl 10 10
Pump Standing Reverse Barbell Curl 10 60
Stimulate Seated Barbell Wrist Curl 10 60
Flutter Seated Barbell Wrist Curl 20 Sec. 60

PHASE 4

  1. Use the 30-10-30 method for Seated Barbell Wrist Curl.
  2. Keep the other exercises the same.
Method Exercise Reps Rest
30-10-30 Seated Barbell Wrist Curl 1/10/1 10

Darden Pullover

  1. Place a medium dumbbell upright on top of a standard bench.
  2. Sit on the floor on one side of the bench near the dumbbell.
  3. Ease your middle back and shoulders over and around the bench. Your feet should be on the floor.
  4. Grab the dumbbell on one end with both hands.
  5. Straighten your elbows and extend the dumbbell over your chest.
  6. Move the dumbbell backward over your face and head into a stretched position for your lats and ribcage.
  7. Arch your middle back carefully around the bench with your feet still on the floor. Feel your ribcage elongate.
  8. Stretch gradually your torso. As you get the hang of the movement, you’ll be able to progressively arch your middle back and lower your hips and thighs for an even greater stretch.
  9. Bring the dumbbell back over your chest.
  10. Continue the stretch-and-contract movement for 8-10 smooth repetitions. On your last repetition, move the dumbbell from over your chest to an upright position on top of the bench.

Phase 5