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  • Put some air in your muscles

    By Travis Steffen on Tuesday, April 13, 2010in Other  


    Not many people understand what a pump is. It must be experienced to be understood. It is the greatest feeling that I get. I search for this pump because it means that that my muscles will grow when I get it. I get a pump when the blood is running into my muscles. They become really tight with blood. Like the skin is going to explode any minute. It’s like someone putting air in my muscles. It blows up. It feels fantastic.”

    -Arnold Schwarzenegger

    The ‘pump’. The sensation you get near the end of a great workout that makes you feel like your muscles have tripled in size and strength in just 45 short minutes. It’s the weightlifters equivalent of a runners high. Although it may feel like your muscles are actually growing at this point, this is not the case. The point at which you feel ‘the pump’ is actually the precursor to hypertrophy, the point at which your muscles have been ‘injured’ so to speak and begin to break down. The repair phase over the next 7 to 10 days is the time when the muscles experience a growth in size and strength, assuming of course that you provide them with adequate rest and nutrition. What many people don’t realize is that ample rest and recovery are just as crucial to muscular gains as the workout itself. Hence the reason any respectable and knowledgeable trainer will tell you that your muscles require a minimum of 48 hours between training sessions.

    During intense workouts, the muscles are beaten up and broken down. The way they get stronger (and/or larger) is through the repair process. If they are supplied with sufficient, quality nutrition and plenty of rest, the muscle fibers will not only repair, they will strengthen and grow. Think of it like a small cut on your arm. When the skin is cut, it is injured…much like during a tough workout when the muscles are injured. The cut takes time to heal and during the healing phase the skin may form a raised scar…similar to the way the muscles heal and increase in size, (you can kind of think of it as a scar you actually want). If you continue to cut the skin in the exact same place over the scar, the body will continue to heal itself and therefore the scar will continue to get bigger and thicker with each injury and each healing process….just like the muscles. Make sense? The bottom line is that while ‘the pump’ feels great and is part of the growth process, the rest and recovery following this short lived feeling is where the actual healing, growing and strengthening occur. You’re not doing yourself any favors if you neglect to give your body enough healing time, so consider a less is more (within reason) approach to your hypertrophy program and you’ll see Arnold type gains….well…close maybe.

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    About Travis
    Travis Steffen is a Master Trainer and founder of WorkoutBOX. After years of experience training professional athletes and thousands of others just like you, he knows exactly what it takes to get you in serious shape. Follow his expert guidance and you're guaranteed to get amazing results.
    Want to hear even more of what Travis has to say? Keep in touch with him on Facebook and Twitter!

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