Want to maximize your strength and mass gains? Add exercises for pump to your routine and the best pump supplements will help you get there even faster.
Below are what I consider to be your best options for pump supplements, as an amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. The reporting and opinions are independent, objective and my own.
Pump & Training 101
The goal of adding training to stimulate muscle pump is twofold. The immediate reward is swell and tighter, larger muscles after training. While that is usually enough to get guys ready to start, probably the most important reward is greater muscle recovery and gains.
It’s all behind the mechanics. You are training to force blood, and with it life giving oxygen and muscle building nutrients into your muscles at maximum capacity. Along with that, the muscles heal faster from your workout.
Sounds great, right? It’s also easy to add in. There are a lot of programs out there, but the basic idea is to add in slow, isolated, high volume training to the end of your workout. After you finish your training sets, you perform 2-3 sets of slow and controlled sets consisting of 8-12 or 12-15 reps (depending upon what works best for your body). Take a short 30-60 seconds rest between sets. The goal is to flood the muscle with blood. These are usually going to be done with isolation exercises, less often using compound exercises.
Is this easy enough to start today? Absolutely. So, which supplements really are best and which are good in theory? Here is a rundown on my personal favorites, with the advantages and limitationsof each.
Best Supplements for Pump
I put this one first, not because it is my favorite, but simply because it is what everyone thinks of when discussing muscle pump. There is a lot of controversy on how helpful it really is, with some people being die hard fans, and others pointing firmly to the lack of research.
Nitric oxide is a gas naturally found in the body that helps to increase vasodilation and blood flow, both of which are what it takes to achieve muscle pump. The problem is that you you can’t consume it directly. Supplements can provide higher doses of the building blocks of nitric oxide, from there your body decides what it will do with them.
Like anything else, often our body goes rogue and does whatever it wants with the substrates. The good news is that there isn’t any harm in taking some extra nitrogen, arginine, citrulline or really any other individual amino acid. The only people who may be concerned are those with kidney disease, or problems with low blood pressure but for everyone else, there doesn’t seem to be harm in giving it a shot.
Nitric oxide seems to mostly help people who are in poor to moderate shape more than it helps well-trained athletes, and the older you are, the greater the likelihood it may help. Here are some of the highest rated nitric oxide supplements.
Beetroot is among the most promising of the nitric oxide supplements. That said, it may turn your urine and stool red. Be prepared! Here you can see the top nitric oxide supplements, most of which are beetroot derived.
The benefits of caffeine to a workout are ongoing. Caffeine actually does increase nitric oxide levels as well as increase blood flow. It also helps burn more fat and provides significant improvement in exercise performance.
You would want to check with your doctor if you have any heart condition, and, as always, make sure you hydrate.
So, have your coffee before hitting the gym, your body will thank you for it.
This one is a longstanding and proven supplement. Why does it work? It helps to maximize the fuel your body needs to power heavy lift and intense exercise while also boosting recovery. It’s been around a long time and deserves it’s wonderful reputation.
Creatine may not be a good option for people with kidney disease or Parkinson’s and can cause stomach upset for some. Otherwise creatine is considered safe and is generally well tolerated with standard dosing.
Carbs have the unique power to shut down the ripping apart of muscles that occurs after a hard workout and turn on your anabolic response. You want complex carbs about an hour before your workout and a simple carbohydrate within 30-60 minutes to maximize your muscle gains.
If you are also working on getting leaner, keep your portions on the smaller side. Carbs pre-exercise help provide fuel to maximize your workout efficiency, and carbs after help to stimulate the healing response. So, if you are working with some tight carb restrictions, post workout consumption will provide the greatest benefits.
Protein – Preferably Whey
While I’m sure you are already aware, I’d be remiss not to mention making sure you get enough protein. By far, whey is the most easily digested and absorbed protein, providing the best amino acid profile for us.
Make sure protein is a part of your breakfast every day, and then have some with each meal (including your first post workout meal). Mornings seem to be the largest struggle for most people, and the time when supplements may be of greatest benefit. After a night of building and repairing tissue, if you don’t give your body any new protein to work with, it has to break down your hard earned muscle to get it.
Meal replacement shakes can be a really easy morning option as you rush out the door. Here is my personal favorite (taste is big component for me). Being female (smaller with less muscle mass than a male), I do one scoop instead of two. This shake has both carbs and fat, so it can be a quick foundation for a meal.
The Bottom Line on Pump & Pump Supplements
If you are considering adding some training for muscle pump into your routine, you are making a great choice. Done right, you will benefit both now and in the future.
Some of the best pump supplements have been around and helping longer than most of us have been training. Only nitric oxide falls into question, but wouldn’t hurt if you want to give it a try. Whatever you decide, listen to your body, listen to your doctor, and enjoy the ride!
Fun Reading on The Best Pump Supplements
- Why You Really Want to Focus on Your Muscle Pump https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a19520337/muscle-pump-builds-size-and-strength/
- 5 Ways nitric Oxide Supplements Boost Your Health and Performance https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/nitric-oxide-supplements
- Effects of Beetroot Juice Supplementation on intermittent high-intensity exercise efforts https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-017-0204-9