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Monday, February 27, 2012

the pump

Did you enjoy that little musical interlude? You should have. It's a great song. Duh. Now, onto some actual fitness-related content.

Yesterday, approximately 20 minutes into my workout, my forearms looked like this:

Um, minus the anchor tattoos. And the over-sized fists. But, kids, I had such muscle pump going in my forearms that they hurt. I felt as if my forearm muscles were going to burst my skin open, they were so full and tight. The flexors, the extensors, the brachioradialis, all of 'em. Pumped like a mofo. While it was uncomfortable--and messed with my grip--it was also amusing. So I thought I would explore the concept of the muscle pump a little.

Basically, muscle pump is when blood fills the muscle faster than it can be cleared, causing congestion. Many people love getting a good pump. For one thing, it makes your muscles look bigger than they actually are. Also, just like getting DOMS, many people feel obtaining a pump means they had an excellent, effective workout, even though lack of a pump (or DOMS) doesn't actually mean your workout sucked. But is the pump actually good for anything other than making your muscles look pretty in the gym mirrors or (if you're me) amusing you? Opinions seem to be divided! has this to say: "Bodybuilders commonly perform pumping-up exercises before appearing on stage to make their muscles appear fuller. For most of us there is no real benefit from achieving a pump (except for boosting your ego)."

Tom Venuto would disagree: "... if you’re interested in bodybuilding or physique development, then maximum pump can be very beneficial.

Most bodybuilders and even most exercise physiologists would agree that workouts that produce maximum pump can provide up to 20-25% of the increase in muscle size. This comes from sarcoplasmic and mitochondrial hypertrophy and increased capillarization. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy looks good and is beneficial to bodybuilders, but you do tend to lose it more quickly with de-training."

And here's a dude who thinks muscle pump is so crucial, it's like an orgasm. "Most people that workout with weights and do not achieve this, are almost defeating the whole purpose of training. The pump can almost be referred to as a sexual climax because the same thing is happening. Blood is rushing into the muscle, therefore creating a wonderful feeling of increased circulation."

I don't even...

If you fall into the camp that believes muscle pump is actually an important goal to achieve every workout, well, there are lots of supplements that you can take to help you along! There's nitric oxide, a vasodilator that increases blood flow. (Kinda like Viagra? Huh. There's that orgasm thing again.) Nitric oxide is apparently generated from the amino acid l-arginine, so the two are often combined. Interestingly enough, wikipedia (which nevah lies) tells me l-argitine is necessary for the synthesis of creatine as well, and we all know how I feel about creatine, right, boys n' girls? Plus, wikipedia informs, arginine has also been used in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Ohhhh, it's all coming together here. This must be why guys are so attached to the muscle pump. It simulates getting an erection. Or something.

Seriously? The feeling I had in my forearms yesterday? THAT'S what it feels like to all y'all when you've got a boner? Once again I must say: huh. I am so glad I was born with girl parts. In the immortal words of Elaine Benes, I don't know how you guys walk around with those things.

But since we've wandered off of today's fitness topic, lemme give you another music video that's on point.

You're welcome!


1 comment:

  1. Video "blocked in my country" BUT loved learning new terminology and ahem, stuff.