Citrulline for Pumps - 4 Secrets to Skin Splitting Muscle Pumps
A muscle pump is one of the greatest short term feelings you can get from lifting iron. Obviously hitting a new PR or seeing the physical results of all your hours work are up there, but a big pump is a little win that you can get from every session.
In order to maximise your chances of getting blood flowing thick and fast through your veins, there’s a couple of easy things you can be doing.
(Naturally using our pre workout is one of them...but we'll try avoid bringing that up too much)
What is a Muscle Pump?
This is quite complex, but in summary, a muscle pump is when blood floods to a muscle that’s being worked hard. Because the muscle is working, it needs more oxygenated blood to be delivered, and a muscle pump is when the amount of incoming oxygenated blood exceeds the amount of blood being removed.
Blood goes to your muscles to deliver nutrients and oxygen, which provide a way for the muscle to create the energy needed to lift.
Why Muscle Pumps are Good?
Muscle pumps don’t just feel and look good, they are actually beneficial beyond the initial supersized appearance of the muscle. Below we look at 3 key reasons for chasing the pump. As with loads of physiology though, some of this is theoretical and does require more studies.
First off, because your cells are now pumped, a process called cellular swelling occurs. This increases protein synthesis and decreases the breakdown of proteins in the muscle cell. Protein synthesis is the key process when forming new muscle.
Next because of the swelling cells, other cells need to strengthen themselves to withstand the resulting pressure from the blood flow.
Lastly, some research points in the direction of muscle pumps activating stem cells, which are a key part of muscle health and growth.
So overall, you primarily end up with strengthened muscle cells and an increase in protein synthesis.
Secrets to Muscle Pumps
Muscle pumps come with training and repetitions. Like everything. The bigger your muscles too, the more blood that'll be flooding them and so the bigger the pump.
Here's 4 ways that you can maximise your chances or maximise the effects of da pump.
#1 Take pump enhancing supplements
Probably the first thing most people think of when getting a muscle pump is the bombardment of supplements that offer you ‘shirt splitting’ pumps. Yes, we know, we’re guilty of this too. And here’s how we ensure our pre workout ticks the box for pumps –
L-Citrulline Malate for Pumps
A cornerstone ingredient for anyone chasing a pump enhancing supplement should be the amino acid L-citrulline. L-citrulline works by being converted to NO (nitric oxide) and L-arginine in the kidneys, these both contribute to cardiovascular health and the increased blood flow during activity. Taking L-citrulline is better than taking l-arginine orally, as it’s not broken down in the stomach like direct l-arginine supplementation.
Vaso6 is another ingredient we use (and others use) to enhance muscle pumps. Vaso6 is actually a compound taken out of green tea called C1-gallate. This compound was discovered during research into the vasodilation properties of green tea and was patented due to it’s notable impact on the vasodilation process (muscle pumps).
What are other notable pump ingredients in supplements?
L-citrulline is the big one, but you might find some products selling watermelon extract, beet root extract and also, crucially Agmatine Sulfate.
#2 Activate and work muscles correctly
If you’re aiming for big pumps, then you need to make sure you’re training towards that.
When running through your reps, focus on the mind muscle connection. Slow your reps down and feel the muscle contract, or squeeze.
Aim for around 12-15 reps to get the muscle working and increase your chances of hitting a pump.
If you’re currently running less reps during workouts, then you could try adding in a little volume at the end of a set. Hitting 15-20 reps here could lead to getting that all important pump.
#3 Eat/Drink for pumps
Water is crucial for muscle pumps. Without water, well first off you’re not getting the most from your workouts period, but you’ll also be leaving your muscles withered and dried up. Water is crucial to maintain a healthy blood flow, and because of that, being improperly hydrated will seriously damage your chances of getting a pump.
Food wise, get carbs in before a workout. When you eat carbs your providing glycogen for muscles to use as energy. When your muscles pull in this glycogen, they’ll use it to convert to energy, despite what many people think, carbs are important for most aspects of exercise, and not getting enough will do more harm than good to your development even if you’re trying to cut fat.
#4 Blood flow restriction training
If you’re chasing the biggest pumps you’ve ever had then a technique you might want to try as hand at is blood flow restriction training or BFR.
BFR has been thought to actually improve levels of strength and hypertrophy with lighter loads. As well as delivering a huge muscle pump.
Using a restriction band, you want to be wrapping between your biceps and triceps, slightly under your armpit for upper body, and then for lower body the strap needs to sit at the top of your thigh and just below your glutes.
Pull it tight, remember it needs to restrict blood flow but not bruise or nip.
Then comes the fun part, warm up with 15-20 reps of a light load. Then, with 40% (yes, just 40%!) of your 1RM preform the lift, again with a rep range of 12 or up.
When you start moving, nutrient rich oxygenated blood will pump into the muscle. The band then restricts it from flowing back, leaving your muscles pumped full of blood and increase the amount of protein synthesis and nutrient delivery.
National Bodybuilding Co. Stage Ready Pre Workout
Our pre workout is a fully loaded pump enhancing supplement. Which also impacts cognition and helps you perform at new levels.
To see our pre workout head here.