When asked about his bicep development, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who owned some of the best biceps in history, described how he’d envision his biceps “filling up” with each rep.
This analogy would encourage him to keep pumping out the reps until his biceps felt ready to burst.
This approach causes blood to pool rapidly in the biceps, which expands the fascia—the elastic-like sheath that envelopes the muscles.
Over time, and with consistent work, the fascia stretches, allowing additional muscle fibers to develop. “Cell swelling” describes the mechanism whereby increased amounts of sarcoplasmic fluid in the muscle generate more mass.
These two approaches, fascia stretching and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, explain why getting a bigger bicep pump can result in faster arm growth.
The question is, how do you train the biceps to obtain the sought-after pump?
This article contains the five most effective tools to achieve the most skin ripping pump you will ever experience!
1. Use Cables
When it comes to getting a great bicep pump, cables beat both free weights and machines, hands down. For every inch of the rep, the cables put tension on the biceps, relentlessly ripping the muscle fibers.
Blood rushes into the muscle faster under these conditions to help aid performance, fight fatigue, and even to start the recovery process. When using a challenging amount of weight, the heightened blood flow induced by cable curls will cause the skin to feel like it’s being stretched to the max.
The best cable exercises are seated reverse cable curls, drag cable curls, and standing unilateral cable curls. Starting your bicep routine with these exercises will definitely have your biceps feeling pumped right off the bat.
2. Change Up Tempo
The impact rep tempo has on getting pumped cannot be underestimated. Doing the first half of the set with a slow tempo encourages lactic acid to build, which triggers the body to send oxygenated blood into the muscle.
The second half of the set can be done with a faster rep speed, acting as a “pump”, and forcing even more blood into the biceps until you hit failure. This technique is best used with rep ranges of twenty and above.
3. Incorporate Supersets
Taking two bicep exercises and doing them back-to-back is an awesome way to get pumped fast. When supersetting, it’s smart to hit the biceps from two unique angles to achieve more damage.
One option would include wide grip EZ-bar curls, followed by dumbbell hammer curls. The wrists are completely externally rotated for the first exercise and then neutral for the next.
Another way to introduce variation with a superset is to change the height of an exercise. With this approach, you could perform regular cable curls, immediately followed by overhead cable curls. Pairing exercises in a superset leads to a higher number of reps, meaning the blood flow is peaked for a longer duration of time.
4. Finish Off with Drop Sets
When wrapping up your biceps workout, you want to ensure there is absolutely nothing left in the tank, which can be done efficiently with drop sets. They are high in intensity and force considerable amounts of blood to flow into the biceps, right to the very last rep you’re able to squeeze out.
The perfect bicep drop set would be machine preacher curls. The machine forces stricter form from a seated position so the biceps work harder. For drop sets to be most effective, you don’t want to allow too much rest between sets.
For this reason, machines are a great option, opposed to plate-loaded exercises. It’s much faster to simply move a pin, keeping the intensity in your biceps even while you drop the weight.
Don’t allow your form to become too sloppy as fatigue sets in, even when the burn becomes excruciating. The sensation you're feeling just demonstrates how much lactic acid is accumulating within your biceps, which has to be removed by oxygen-rich blood.
Remember, this is the goal, because more blood in the biceps results in a bigger pump.
5. Supplement Right
Pre-workout supplements have forged their way into the lives of gym goers looking for the pump. It’s important to note that when it comes to getting pumped, some ingredients are better than others.
Before I disclose what to look for, here’s some basic advice when selecting a pre-workout supplement. Don’t base your decision on the biggest “buzz”, or the strongest “tingle”, because high dosages of cheap synthetic stimulants will do that. The aim of a pre-workout product should be to heighten performance, fight fatigue, encourage blood flow, as well as to support mental focus and recovery.
Two of my favorite pre-workout ingredients are Carnosyn and Pure L-Citrulline. CarnoSyn is designed to increase intramuscular carnosine levels during intense exercise. Extensive scientific studies have been done to prove how this helps improve performance by reducing fatigue.
Taking control over fatigue will enable you to do more reps, resulting in the muscle becoming more pumped. Before working out, you’ll require 1.6g and an additional 1.6g during training to continue experiencing the benefit. This will provide you with the 3.2g that are in accordance with the comprehensive scientific studies undertaken on CarnoSyn.
Pure L-Citrulline is perhaps the most notable ingredient when it comes to achieving a noticeable pump. It provides 100% citrulline in every gram, compared to the 50% citrulline you’d get from citrulline malate.
Upon ingestion, citrulline is converted into L-Arginine. This has been scientifically proven to be more effective at increasing L-Arginine blood plasma levels than supplementing with L-Arginine itself. The result is increased vasodilation of the capillaries which allows for faster blood flow to the working muscles.
As you crush the biceps with the above training tips, pure citrulline will help create a bigger pump than you’ve ever felt before. For the best effect, take 6-8g of pure citrulline before every workout.
Understanding how a bicep pump facilitates faster muscle growth is important.
Cell swelling and the stretching of the muscle fascia are the main growth principles behind a bigger pump. All you have to do is employ the training strategies I have provided every time you train biceps.
Do not hold back, do everything as I have described and seek out the pre-workout ingredients I’ve recommended.
Together, these steps will leave your biceps full of blood and everybody else in the gym wondering how you’ve made so much progress.