There are a number of reasons guys want to get pumped quickly. Bodybuilders preparing to walk out on stage, physique models getting ready for a photo shoot, actors getting ready to film a shirtless scene, or even the guy getting ready to go out on a Friday night. Below are a few ideas on not only how to get pumped, but what you have to have in place for it to even matter.
Drop Your Body Fat and Improve Your Vascularity
While it might feel good to get pumped, others won’t notice unless your physique is on point ahead of time. This means having your body fat at a decent level (say 10-12% or below) so you have good muscle definition. When you do, getting a pump will be much more easily seen than if there’s a thick layer of fat covering your muscles.
The better your vascularity is, the more noticeable your pump will be, too. This is because as you get pumped, your veins will protrude under your skin, giving you the look of having even lower body fat. At the same time, improved vascularity means you can get more blood to the muscle given the same work done, which will improve your pump even more.
Watch Your Sodium and/or Carb Intake
This is a more limited tip, as it applies best for photo shoots, bodybuilding competitions, and other “one-off” instances where you’ll have clothing removed. Regardless, having your sodium and carb levels on point can ensure that you’ve eliminated excess water from under your skin, but leave your muscles looking nice and full. Then when you do a few pump sets, they look even better. Here is a good guide on taking full advantage of this.
How to Get Pumped
Now it’s time to talk about actually pumping the muscles up. The old adage of “do as much as you need, but no more” is a good fit here. This is because while some work is obviously necessary, it won’t behoove you to do more than you need to.
A few sets of moderate to high reps with moderate weight are really all you need. If you’ve ever seen clips or photos of backstage at a bodybuilding event, you don’t see massive weights being thrown around. Instead, it’s lighter dumbbells and barbells (or even bands) with perfect form just to get blood into the muscle. 3-5 sets of 12-15 reps can often be enough.
Another thing that can help you get pumped is to keep constant tension on the muscle. Don’t take your reps to full contraction or extension and squeeze the muscle hard throughout the entire range of motion you do use. This will force more blood into the muscle because you’re never taking stress off while keeping maximum pressure on it. Constant tension is another reason you often see bands used for a last minute pump.
As far as exercises go, feel free to use a compound exercise or two at first, but then get to isolation movements. The multi-joint exercises will get the blood pumping to that area of the body as a whole, but then the smaller movements will force as much of it into each individual muscle as possible. For instance, you might start with a couple sets each of overhead press, bench, and rows for upper body, but then focus the rest of your time on laterals, flies, curls, pushdowns, and the like.
Having your physique and diet on point can ensure you’re ready to get pumped, and when you do, that you look the best you can. Do a few sets per muscle group of lighter to moderate weight for slightly higher reps, and your muscles will be pumped full of blood. Do remember that a pump is temporary, so just don’t expect it to last all night.