The late, great Joe Weider was always ahead of the curve. Take his flushing principle. OK, it wasn’t aptly named, and its directives—which we’ll discuss shortly—are far from cutting edge. But the concept of increasing your muscle pump to increase muscle gains remains distinctly modern. There is today a whole industry of nutritional supplements and training programs focused on blood volumization. When Joe Weider was first publishing articles about flushing several decades ago, the contention that the pump could aid growth and wasn’t merely a temporary ego boost was frequently scoffed at. But, as always, the father of modern bodybuilding was leading a revolution in workout science. This month we salute one of the most enduring tenets of that revolution. Get ready to pump up the volume.
That was then, this is now. There are many ways to boost your muscle pump, and most of them are spelled out in other Weider Principles. Supersets, giant sets, descending sets, and burns are a few of the blood volumization techniques we’ve discussed in previous months of H.U.G.E.® Increasing your reps and/or decreasing your rest periods is another way of inﬂating your muscles with a blood infusion. Mr. Olympia Phil Heath follows a low-rest protocol on the ﬁnal exercise for a body part as part of the FST-7 training system. Experiment with different methods and be aware of how rep schemes, rest periods, and pre-workout nutrition affect your pumps.
Here are the pluses of using ﬂushing.
- INCREASED GROWTH ADVANTAGES: It doesn’t get much better than this. An elevated muscle pump increases the blood ﬂow to muscles, which, in turn, rushes in the oxygen, hormones, and nutrients you need to repair muscles and fuel growth.
- WORKOUT RESCUE: Let’s say you’re having a bad workout. Your energy is low, and you’re falling short of your usual strength levels. You can still reap signiﬁcant beneﬁts by ending the routine with a late ﬂurry of pump-inducing sets.
There are two potential pitfalls to maximizing your muscle pump.
- MISPLACED FOCUS: For optimum muscle growth, most of your sets should be in the 8- to 12-rep range and focused on progressive strength gains. If your only emphasis is on blood volumization, you’ll avoid the ideal sets and rest. For this reason, it’s generally best to focus on higher reps, shorter rests, and other pumping techniques only near the end of your routine.
- POOR BAROMETER: Though pumps are valuable, how much your muscles inﬂate is an inadequate way of measuring workout success. Focus instead on strength gains and overall exertion.
Over the past decade, there has been an increased emphasis on supplements that increase the body’s production of nitric oxide (NO). Nitric oxide allows blood vessels to widen and, in turn, allows moreblood to ﬂow to the working muscles and increase the pump. For this beneﬁt, take an NO supplement 30 minutes before each workout. Additionally, drink a protein shake with fast-digesting carbs, whey isolate, and creatine immediately after your workout when the increased blood ﬂow created by your muscle pump will rush the nutrients in your shake to the muscles you just worked, aiding recovery and growth.