A great muscle pump while you're working out is a sure sign you are training hard enough to stimulate new muscle growth! When you lift weights, extra blood is shunted into your working muscles to cope with the increased demands for oxygen and other energy-producing compounds. Your arteries carry blood into your muscles, however, as your muscles contract intensely, the veins taking blood out of your muscles are compressed which causes a back up of blood - resulting in the "the Pump".
The typical sets and reps of a high-intensity bodybuilding style training program will usually generate a strong pump. The muscle swelling of a good pump not only feels great, but research has shown that this cell swelling acts as a stimulus to increased protein synthesis! At a cellular level, cell swelling is thought to kick off a protective mechanism that activates mTOR, one of the key regulators of muscle growth. Anything you can do to increase your pump can have a marked effect on more muscle growth.
Exercise protocols recommended for maximum stimulation and muscle growth include higher rep workouts (2 - 3 sets of 15 - 20 reps with a 60 - 90 second rest) or medium rep sets with a shorter rest period (5 - 10 sets of 8 - 12 reps with a 30 - 60 second rest).
One of the key regulators of muscle pump and blood flow is a compound called Nitric Oxide or NO. Nitric Oxide is made in many tissues throughout the body and acts as a signalling molecule. One of it's main roles is to relax the linings of blood vessels (called Vasodilation) which causes the vessel diameter to increase and therefore allow greater blood flow. Human and animal studies have shown that increasing NO production can result in better blood flow, lower blood pressure, and increased athletic performance.
Studies have also shown that a number of foods and food derived compounds can naturally increase NO production, and hence performance.
MAX’S Nitric Oxide PUMP Complex
Agmatine Sulfate - 500mg, Glycerol Monostearate - 500mg, Betaine Anhydrous - 500mg, Alpha GPC (L-Alpha Glycerylphosphorylcholine) - 400mg, CDP Choline (cytidine diphosphate choline) - 300mg, Cocoteanol - 75mg, Octopamine HCl - 40mg