One of the most sought out things in the gym is ‘the pump’.
As Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “the most satisfying feeling you can get in the gym is the pump”.
The pump, in simple terms, is when a whole bunch of blood is rushing into your muscles during a workout. This makes your muscles look bigger and feel really good. It’s almost like you’re the incredible hulk coming out in full form.
But, many people argue all day in the bodybuilding space if a pump causes muscles growth. So, does a pump mean muscle growth?
Yes, a muscle pump does mean muscle growth. In fact, pro bodybuilders use a pump as a way to determine if their workout is good enough. The mechanism behind a pump is what ensures muscle growth. All that blood rushing into your muscles brings tons of nutrients directly to your muscle, and this is the mechanism behind the famous ‘Rich Piana Feeder Workout’- a way to blow up a single muscle group rapidly.
Let’s cover this more in-depth, and explain the science behind it all.
First and Foremost, What is a Pump Scientifically?
While most of us know that a pump makes our muscles look really good and feel good- what is actually happening under the skin?
Well, when you work out a muscle enough to get a pump, your body is essentially sending a lot more blood to that muscle group.
Basically, when you work out, your muscles run out of energy. While this seems like a fairly obvious concept, it’s important to understand this all.
Because your muscles run out of energy, your body needs to keep giving it energy to keep performing- otherwise, you would just literally be able to use your muscles like once and then have to wait days until they repaired themselves again. Obviously, this isn’t feasible, so your body has a way to get more energy in those muscles.
Your body uses your blood to reenergize your muscles with carbohydrates, electrolytes, protein, and sugar. When you are exercising it increases the blood flow to that muscle group to keep that steady energy going.
When all of this blood rushes into your muscles, it expands the muscle group against your skin, which causes that ‘tightness’ feeling. It also makes you look super jacked.
A Pump Sends Critical Nutrients To Your Muscles
Think of the bloodstream in your body like the ‘highway’. Whenever you want to go literally anywhere fast and efficiently, you hop on the highway- right?
And then think of the blood like the cars. In the cars, they have things like food, supplies, et cetera.
Whenever you have a ‘pump’, it’s almost like everybody starts driving there for a special event going on. Because of this, you have a ton of extra nutrients and resources visiting your muscle.
This is important for muscle building. As any extra protein, carbs, sugar- whatever, will be important in the recovery phase.
But, that’s not the only reason a pump helps grow muscle.
A Pump is Also a Good Indicator You Are Working Out Hard Enough
People are always wondering, “Am I working out hard enough? Am I going to see muscle growth from this workout?”.
Well, a pump is a good indicator that you are working out hard enough to grow muscle.
In fact, most pro bodybuilders use the pump as a way to determine if they are working out hard enough.
Remember, as messed up as it sounds- the more you work out, and the more muscle you build = the harder it is to build muscle.
So, you have to go way harder in the gym than you used to when you were newer to the sport.
That’s why looking for a pump is so critical. You could do the same workout you did a few months ago, and it won’t give you the same muscle growth because your muscles have already adapted to it.
Remember, it’s our biology. Our bodies do NOT want to waste muscle or calories, it is key to our survival. They grow and adapt to handle the intensity and weight they are being exposed to.
- Read: Is Overtraining Real?
I’ve been bodybuilding for a while, and I can do really intense workouts that would make a beginner throw up- meanwhile I don’t even see a pump. It reminds me that I have to switch it up and do something to make that muscle scream if I want that muscle growth.
When your muscles are pumped, that is a very good sign that they have been overworked and are requiring a ton of extra energy to keep functioning.
This is a good sign, as it signals you have overloaded your muscle enough to see muscle growth.
Rich Piana’s Feeder Workout PROVED The Pump Grows Muscle
This guy, Rich Piana- one of the most famous bodybuilders in the history of bodybuilding, ran a little experiment.
He basically said, “Since everyone is always saying that the pump might cause muscle growth, let’s test exactly how much muscle you grow by ONLY pumping the muscle, nothing else. Not even putting heavy weight on the dumbbells”.
He grew his arms rapidly. He put on literal INCHES to his arms in just months of doing these ‘feeder workouts’.
The entire idea of the feeder workout was to literally grab a lightweight dumbbell, and do 100 reps non-stop on the biceps. The idea isn’t to put heavy weight on, just to pump the muscle and overload the heck out of it.
And the results showed that just by pumping your muscles, you will see actual muscle growth.
Like I said, Rich Piana made his arms HUGE by doing this. There’s a good reason why he has 23.5 inch arms today. And it’s not just him, multiple other people can vouch for how effective his feeder workouts are.
If you’re looking to blow up a muscle group, try the feeder workout- you’ll see serious results.
You Still Need to Eat Enough Calories and Protein
Remember, you still need to eat enough calories and protein to grow muscle.
You can’t be on a cut and still grow muscle, you’ll need to be on a bulk to take advantage of the increased muscle growth.
Conclusion of Does A Pump Mean Muscle Growth?
So, yes- a pump does mean muscle growth.
But, you need to remember, if you don’t eat enough or have enough protein- you won’t get any muscle growth at all. But, assuming you have the other boxes checked, a pump is a great way to pack on some muscle.
Looking for a good way to get an arm pump? Check out Calum Von Moger’s Arm Workout.