The Pump

By Jaime Rice

We have all heard about it and/or have seen it in full effect; whether in the gym to witness the magnificent pump for yourself or scrolling through your feed on the various social media outlets.

“The Pump” is all around us;  #shoulderpump #bootypump #thatpumptho…and it goes on. When I hear or see the pump, I can’t help but think back to Hans and Frans from Saturday Night Live – “We are here to PUMP you UP.”

Hans and Franz Want to Pump You UP

But seriously what is the Pump? How does it aid in muscle growth? Is it truly all it’s cracked up to be?

Essentially a pump is when your muscle swells up during a workout and is the result of blood flow to a targeted muscle being trained.  As you train and increase your cardiac output, the blood goes to the trained muscle. This helps aid in the continuous energy required to perform repeated reps or whatever the activity the muscle is completing.

Why is the blood flow important? Blood brings necessary oxygen and nutrients to the muscle aiding in muscle hypertrophy (growth). Reaching that optimal pump is validation you are successfully isolating the muscle you are training and providing the necessary blood flow for maxima muscle growth.

The reverse can be said if no pump is achieved; one may not be training properly or with the intensity needed to have proper blood flow to stimulate muscle growth.

Want to learn more? These articles break it down even further and give a detailed explanation of “the pump” –

Some methods I use to obtain the maximum pump are: drop sets, failure set (burnout), negatives and partials.

An example of a shoulder pump workout:

Activation: Straight arm circle with 5lb dumbbells 15 each way

Dumbbell Lateral 5lb dumbbells 2×15

Lift (Heavy): Shoulder press 3×12 last set to failure

Front Bar raise 3x 12 last set to failure then partials


Rear Delt Machine 3x 12

Upright Rows 3×12

Burnout:   Dumbbell Laterals 4×12 last 2 sets are giant drop sets to 20-25

After this workout my shoulders are fully pumped up and full of blood. Training for the pump has allowed my muscle to grow, and I feel my workouts better than I ever have.

Left - Before Training, Right - After Training with a Shoulder

Left – Before Training, Right – After Training with a Shoulder “Pump”

The pump is real and is beneficial for the individual who seeks positive muscle growth. Get inspired by Hans and Frans and go chase that pump!

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