Victor Martinez Answers: How to increase vascularity and train for bulging veins

Vascularity in bodybuilding is not necessary to be a successful pro. However, for many it is a great added aesthetic to make a mass monster physique look even more bulging and intense. Due to some truly eye-popping pro bodybuilders with impressive popping vascularity – many seek out ways to get a bigger pump and have their veins show over their muscle. In this week’s episode of the Generation Iron Podcast, Victor Martinez shares his tips for improving vascularity on your physique.

Bulging veins is often a sign of intensity – we notice it when a person gets angry to the point of veins popping out of their forehead. We also notice it when getting the pump during training – that moment when your muscle feels like it is about to burst out of your skin.

So it’s not surprise that comic books, cartoons, and movies have depicted hulking muscle monsters with bulging veins. It helps create the feeling intensity. In the world of pro bodybuilding, many fans and even athletes find this intense aesthetic pleasing – especially when a bodybuilder hits a truly impressive pose.

Ultimately, however, vascularity has nothing to do with the quality of muscle and in no way affects scoring on the competitive stage. At the end of the day, bulging vascularity is a personal aesthetic. A sometimes popular aesthetic at that.

That’s why Victor Martinez sits down with the rest of the Generation Iron Podcast crew to discuss what causes bulging veins. Could it be a sign of medical issues? Is it only controlled by personal genetics? And what can be done to help improve vascularity for those seeking that aesthetic? Let’s jump into it.

Is extreme vascularity a sign of a health issue?

While Victor Martinez is not a doctor, he does stress that extreme vascularity is rarely ever a medical issue. Much like our height – how visible an individual’s veins are is largely due to genetics.

Other factors such as physical exercise or any other activity that will raise your heart rate can temporarily affect how visible your veins are through your skin. It should also be noted that there are rare occasions where a disease can affect how your veins look – so feel free to ask a doctor during your yearly wellness visit. Particularly, if you notice your veins looking different or bulging more than usual without any seeming action or cause behind it – you may want to consult a doctor.


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How to improve vascularity

Separate from medical conditions or genetics – there are ways to make your veins more visible across your physique. While the intensity will ultimately depend on your genetics – Victor Martinez shares tips from his time as a pro bodybuilder to help guide you to bigger bulging veins.

The two key factors that will affect your vascularity are body fat and water weight. The more conditioned you can make your physique – the more that your veins will show through. Excess body fat will create more padding between your muscles and your skin – thus hiding your veins more. Water weight also creates this same problem.

Then you can combine this conditioning with an activity that raises your heart rate – pumping more blood through your body and bulging out your veins further. This helps create that extra veiny look.

Ultimately, these tips are exactly what pro bodybuilders do before a show. They want to be as conditioned as possible, cut all water weight, and pump up just before going on stage for the tightest biggest looking muscle. It’s often why you can see many pros with noticeable vascularity – particularly on the arms and around the chest.

However, sometimes you just don’t have the right genetics to make it work. Victor Martinez points out how Big Ramy, even in his prime as Mr. Olympia, rarely had vascularity despite his conditioned and massive physique. Martinez has known other pros who would get “peeled to the bone” but not show any bulging veins.

Bonus: Victor Martinez’ hangover cure

Victor Martinez also shares a fun tip about hangovers and training. While bodybuilders often strive to avoid alcohol in order to perfect their physique – there are always days we want to celebrate something. But if you drink too much more night and are hungover the next morning – that might demotivate you to workout and throw off your regimen.

Victor Martinez understands this all too well – but he has a “cure” that can help you stave off a hangover and head into the gym for training. After a long night out drinking – prepare a carb supplement drink when you get home. Drink it before you go to bed. Then, in the middle of the night when you wake up to use the bathroom (because of all the drinking), drink one more round of that carb drink.

According to Martinez, when you wake up the next morning you will feel better. Not only that, the actual exercise will also make you feel better as well. So this carb drink solution can help you stay motivated – then the rest of the workout will make you feel even better.

Victor Martinez promises that you will feel worse staying in and not exercising than if you use this method to stay on point in the gym. Even if you do a lighter workout than normal – this will keep you on track and also make you feel better.

Wrap Up

Victor Martinez and the GI crew talk in far more detail about vascularity in bodybuilding. So make sure to check out the full episode of the Generation Iron Podcast above. And don’t forget to check back every Tuesday for new episodes only on the Generation Iron Fitness Network or wherever podcasts are downloaded.

Austin Letorney
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.