Welcome to the "pump." It's epic when you get that shirt-splitting look, but sometimes it doesn't show up. Well we're going to put an end to that. Gone are the workouts we're you feel and look like a soggy sock.
The front side of your workouts are probably aimed at building strength, with size as a secondary concern. And rightfully so. Even though this piece is all about finishing methods to get you pumped, you should never train for the pump exclusively.
Training for strength should always be your priority. But after you've dominated the big lifts and arrive at your finishing movement, it's time to cap off things off with a bang. There's a reason why the people with the best physiques and biggest muscles attack their muscles in a such a violent matter.
Pumping the muscle floods it with blood, which transports nutrients into the muscle all while stretching the muscle fascia (the covering that holds the muscle together). By doing this you little by little increase the dimension of the muscle. The fascia is the limiting factor in achieving muscle growth because the muscle will grow only as much as there is room for it to do so. Another bonus to high intensity finishers is that you get a temporary GH boost, assisting in muscle growth and managing body fat levels.
Here are 5 finishing methods to help you cap off your workouts leaving the gym with that perfect pump.
5 Effective Muscle Pumping Methods
1. FST-7 (Fascia Stretch Training)This method is created by contest prep coach Hany Rambod. By definition here is how Hany breaks FST 7 down. According to Hany, FST-7 stands for:
Fascia: pl. fas·ci·ae : Anatomy - A sheet or band of fibrous connective tissue enveloping, separating, or binding together muscles, organs, and other soft structures of the body.
Stretch: v. stretched, stretching, stretches - To lengthen, widen, or enlarge Training: the process of bringing a person to an agreed standard of proficiency by practice and instruction.
Seven: The seventh in a set or sequence.To utilize the FST 7 method you train any particular body-part as you normally would keeping your rep ranges between 8-12. Then at the end of your session, you would perform the seven sets to finish off that particular muscle, with 30-45 seconds rest between sets to ensure a maximum pump. Each set is done to failure allowing for 10-12 reps.
Hany recommends that you stay away from using any big compound lifts on your "seven sets" using FST 7. The big compound lifts like a deadlift or squat require to recruitment of ancillary muscles which take away the focus from the targeted muscle.
The optimal way to use FST 7 is with machines and cables. If used properly free weights can work as well; barbell curls and skull crushers are a popular movement choice for FST 7.
- Standing Ez Curl Bar Curl - 3 sets x 8-12 reps
- Incline DB Curl - 3 sets x 8-12 reps
- Cable Hammer Curls - 7 sets x 10-12 reps
- Weighted Dips - 3 sets x 8-12 reps
- Close Grip Bench Press - 3 sets x 8-12 reps
- Tricep Pushdown - 7 sets x 10-12 reps
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2. EMOM (Every Minute On The Minute)At first glance this method looks simple. But as the minutes go by, that rest period gets shorter and shorter and your muscles get flooded with blood. This is a potent time-priority method that is surefire way to increase training density. This method will maximize blood flow to the muscle and enhance the pump for fuller, rounder, and more detailed muscles.
EMOM stands for "every minute, on the minute." Meaning, at the top of every minute, you perform the number of reps required in your given workout. EMOM's should be used in the 8-12 minute range assuming that they are utilized as a finishing method. Here are a few examples:
- Even minute: 12-15 Cable Crossover
- Odd: 12-15 Push Ups
- Even Minute: 12-15 Leg extension
- Odd: 12-15 Bodyweight squats
10:00 EMOMEven minutes: 10-12 Wide grip lat pull down Odd minutes: 10-12 Close grip seated row
3. 28 MethodTo avoid accommodation, you constantly need to vary your exercise technique, angle and rep scheme to shock the musculature system. This is why strength athletes cycle their training, utilize different loads, diversity their volume and use different tempo's for each lift.
I remember my first brave attempt at "changing things" up and shocking my muscles by using the 21's method with an EZ curl bar. You know the drill: 7 reps halfway up, 7 more halfway down and then finishing it with a full 7 reps.
The pump was incredible. But, for the next 3 days I walked around with T-rex arms. Even though it hurt like hell, I knew shocking my muscles were the gateway to muscle growth. Even though the 21's method is still a good choice, the 28 method takes the intensity and the pump to another level.
The 28 method requires 7 regular reps, 7 slow reps, 7 top half reps, 7 bottom reps. The result? 28 ball busting reps. The blood in your veins will look like their about to undergo spontaneous combustion.
This method works well with:
- Leg press
- Chest fly machine
- Rear delt fly machine
4. Rest Pause/Drop SetIf you're not seeing the gains you want from your workouts, it may be time to challenge yourself with an intensity booster. The two most popular types of intensity boosters are the rest pause sets and drop sets. If you're doing a rest pause set, you take a 5- to 10-second break when you reach failure, then resume lifting to get more reps. With drop sets you reduce weight upon failure before continuing.
Both of these methods have stood the test of time; even the greatest physiques of all time have been built using these methods. However, combining the two methods together may be your secret weapon to fuller, harder muscles. Say hello to the rest pause/drop set.
Utilizing the rest pause/drop set in a time priority manner, instead of placing a rep target number on each set, you'll perform as many sets in a given time frame. 8-10 minutes is plenty for this method. Here's how it works:
- Choose an exercise that is a bilateral movement (using both arms or legs at the same time) on a machine that allows for quick changes in weight.
- Choose a weight that you can get 8-12 reps with. Your last few reps each set should bring you close to failure.
- After each set, take a 20-30 second break.
- Repeat and do another set.
- Once you can't get 8-12 reps, drop the weight.
Ever notice that the people with the best physiques do crazy stuff sometimes? That's because following the boring advice of 3×10 get average results.
5. Century ClubEver notice that the people with the best physiques do crazy stuff sometimes? That's because following the boring advice of 3x10 get average results. The century club method truly shines when a lagging muscle group needs to be brought up to speed.
The Century Club is an A1 method to bring up lagging body parts. That bird chest, the small arms, or pathetic quads can all benefit from this method. For this method you're going to pick a weight that's about 30-40% of your typical training weight on that respective exercise. You want a weight where you can perform 40+ reps on your first set. After you've completed your first 40 reps, rest one second per rep that you are missing toward your goal rep target number of 100.
As an example, if you get to 50 repetitions, rest 50 seconds; when you're at 99 reps, rest one second, etc. (If you cannot reach 40 reps during your first attempt, choose a lighter weight next time. Conversely, if you get to 70+ in the first attempt, go a bit heavier.)