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The Bottom Line on the Muscle Pump


Jan 18, 2023
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Although getting a pump feels good and can be gratifying in the short term, research shows you don’t need to get a pump to build muscle.

What’s more, focusing exclusively on the kind of training that’s most effective for getting a pump—high-reps, light weights, short rest periods, and so forth—may actually hinder your progress.

In reality, most of your strength and muscle gains will come from getting as strong as possible on the heavy, compound lifts like the squat, deadlift, and bench and military press.

This doesn’t mean pump training has no place in your program, though.

When done in small doses at the end of your heavy strength training workouts, pump training can help you gain more muscle than you would from strength training alone.

If you want to incorporate pump training into your workout routine, make sure you adhere to these five guidelines:

  1. Spend roughly 80% of your time doing heavy, compound exercises, and 20% doing pump training.
  2. Always do your heavy, compound weightlifting before pump training.
  3. Make sure you’re progressing in your pump training, too.
  4. Use pump training on your isolation exercises, not your compound exercises.
  5. Experiment with different forms of pump training.
Do that, and you’ll get the benefits of both pump training and heavy compound weightlifting.