Build Lean Muscle with the Flushing Method
Browsing the bodybuilding or strength and conditioning media on the internet, the idea of pumping target muscles full of blood at the end of a workout is gaining traction. The theory itself isn’t a new one, but the reasoning behind it has certainly evolved. From the golden age of bodybuilding until now, athletes of a wide range have used a “kitchen sink” of tactics to engorge their muscles full of blood. The rationale has been to get that massive pump feeling in the muscles. Having lifted weights for almost two decades myself, a great pump is an unparalleled feeling. Doesn’t matter if you’re a string bean starting out or a competitive athlete, a good pump will leave you feeling like a comic book character or mythic god, rippling with muscles. Not only is the sensation itself amazing, but you literally look bigger. In a society rife with instant gratification, the pump serves to keep the impatient lifter at bay during a long and arduous process of developing hard-earned muscle.
The muscle pump goes beyond sensory perception and aesthetics – it serves to help athletes recover faster for their next workout. Especially used toward the end of a workout, the muscle pump saturates target muscle tissue with nutrient-rich, oxygenated blood. This floodgate effect delivers fatigued and damaged tissue the hormones, oxygen, amino acids, and several other constructive mechanisms. Furthermore, it shuttles away the waste products that build up around the muscle and connective tissues during intense exercise. The act of delivering building materials and removing waste (toxins, free radicals) improves the recovery process significantly.
Although almost any intense workout can result in a great pump, it is better to isolate 1-2 muscle groups for a muscle flush. As your last exercise of the workout, pick an isolation or near-isolation movement and blast out 1-3 high repetition sets of the exercise (failure is ok) with a relatively light weight. The strategy should be to squeeze blood into the muscle, not to perform the reps overly quick or set personal records with weights. Pick a weight that you can do, but fail, between 15-30 reps. Do this between 1-5 sets. After the muscle becomes very swollen, enjoy it for a few minutes. BUT- make sure you properly cool down and static stretch to return those engorged muscles to their normal resting state. Try it next time; you’ll feel like a superhero and will feel much better the next time you work those muscles.