All in the name of the pump.
Feel like you can’t live without lifting? Feel like a piece of garbage if you skip a day of training at the gym? Then you may be suffering from the glorious disease of weightlifting addiction, namely “the pump.” Ever since Arnold Schwarzenegger popularized the subject in “Pumping Iron” other bodybuilding enthusiasts have related the same kind of feeling during training sessions.
The pump is the ultimate indication that you’ve reached your muscle growth goal for a given training session. The blood pumped into the muscles, drawn from the blood flow throughout the rest of the body, offers that intense sensation of bulging tightness within the muscle itself. It’s a euphoric kind of feeling, like nothing in the world can phase you, like you’re invincible and right up there with the orgasm (see Arnold video below). Essentially the pump becomes a drug, one that lifters can’t do without. So the big question: what happens if you don’t get the pump during a training session?
First off, what causes a failed pump? As mentioned above, adequate blood flow to the muscles is required, which ultimately breaks down to oxygen in the the blood. A lack of oxygen is the number one culprit to a failed pump. Many have spoken of feeling a level of depression when they’re unable to get the pump, like they didn’t push themselves hard enough in the gym. The pump is a drug and when you don’t get your fix you feel like an addict going through withdrawal. It really can be mentally diminishing, a feeling of defeat that can truly be debilitating.
So how exactly can you ensure a good pump for every training session? Some complex carbohydrates in your diet will help do the trick. It’s the body’s number one fuel source. Besides training, diet is absolutely paramount to getting the pump. Choose the right kind of carbs (pastas, brown rice, baked potatoes) that can burn slowly and provide energy through the entire work out and you’ll find that achieving the pump will be relatively simple as long as you push yourself to the limit.