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Is "The Pump" Important?



Does a pump mean anything? Is it useful for building muscle? It was previously thought that increased blood circulation, swelling, metabolite buildup, and oxidative stress induced by doing a lot of repetitions or even applying a tourniquet-like device, would lead to more muscle growth. However, there is little evidence to suggest that this is works independently of mechanical tension, which is believed to be the main mechanism for muscle growth. Mechanical tension refers to how hard a muscle fiber is trying to contract against an opposing force. You get a combination of maximal muscle fiber recruitment and mechanical tension on those fibers towards the end of a set as you approach failure. Pushing this hard on your sets may create a pump, but that’s probably a side effect, and not the main mechanism for growth. I haven’t once considered the pump to be an essential part of my training. I got results by pushing near failure on most sets, and that’s what you should focus on, too.

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