Have you just finished your workout routine or training session and you notice that your muscles are bigger and better-looking? Such a feeling is hard to beat because you feel like a gladiator like you’ve just won the Olympic medal like you’ve reached the climax of your training goals.
However, this aspect and sensation of the muscles don’t last forever. The effect is temporary but, even so, many fitness enthusiasts work for gaining this effect through a workout session, rather than focusing on obtaining a particular fitness goal. What is a muscle pump and how long does it last are matters that will be discussed in the following lines?
What is a muscle pump?
Muscle pump occurs when we work out our muscles and it is a slang expression rather than a scientific explanation of the phenomenon. In medical terms, the pumped muscles sensation is called transient hypertrophy, in which hypertrophy indicates the growth of a muscle’s aspect and mass. At the same time, we have the word transient, which makes reference to the fact that the growth is only a temporary effect.
What causes the muscles to grow so big during a workout? There is a very logical explanation to this aspect that will help you understand better the physiological processes that take place when you’re exercising at the gym or strength training.
When we exercise, we subject our muscles to tasks that exceed the regular level of difficulty. If the exercise or physical effort session takes a while, the heart will act and will begin making sure your muscles get everything they need to make it.
In other words, more blood will be pumped to the muscles, because blood carries oxygen and nutrients that are much needed by muscles during periods of hard effort. But, besides blood, other types of fluids begin accumulating in the muscles.
Lactic acid is one of them, which is also responsible for muscle soreness after a hard and long training session. Lactic acid draws in water, in its turn, which means even more fluids add up, making the muscles look inflated in a miraculous way.
Most people describe their muscles as feeling “full” after a good workout session, so they are not just cushions filled with air. And this is all due to all the previously mentioned fluids, which flood the muscles each time you’re working out and pushing your physical limits.
How long will my muscles stay pumped after a workout session?
If you manage to do a muscle pump the right way, with proper training and plenty of water consumed as indicated, a muscle pump can last between 2 and 3 hours. In case you’re inexperienced at weight lifting and weight training, you may need a while to get to such performances. But, with patience and perseverance, they can be achieved.
How To Long Does A Pump Last
If you do things right, a muscle pump can last anywhere between 2 and 3 hours after you’re done with your workout session. Doing things right meaning you should go through a warm-up session before training, finishing the workout routine with a cool-down session and muscular stretching.
Also, during a workout, you need to make sure you’re drinking sufficient water to stay hydrated. For every 20 minutes of muscle pump, your muscles will take about 100 ml of water, which makes hydration an important part of the process.
A workout session does not need to last longer than one hour, so focus on performing exercises well. If you perform compound exercises, you will need to rest for 90 seconds between sets. In case you’re doing isolation exercises, it is enough to rest for 60 seconds in between sessions.
How to Keep Muscles Pumped – The Process
Muscles can get pumped if you perform any kind of exercise that increases blood flow to this type of tissue. However, according to research and long-time weight lifters, training with weights is the best way to get a proper muscle pump. Again, we go back to the importance of starting with light weights, especially if you’re not used to weight lifting, and work your way up as you manage to obtain muscle resilience and stamina.
Still, several weight lifting exercises may not produce a proper muscle pump, capable of lasting several hours. The secret recipe that brings such results is high-volume resistance training. More precisely, you will need to increase your number of reps and sets, while diminishing your rest periods in between. So, to achieve muscle pump, you can:
- Perform more reps than usual;
- Perform a higher number of sets, for example instead of doing three sets of 10 reps, do five sets of 10 reps;
- Reduce the time dedicated for resting, so if you’re used to resting for two minutes, do the same during 60 seconds only;
The whole idea of muscle pumping is to make the muscles intake as many fluids as possible. This is why you need to have a bottle of water around you when you work out. To stimulate the muscles to take more water in their structure, you will need to perform a higher number of muscular contractions. Also, it is recommended to get hydrated before a workout as well, not just during the workout. You need to have a good level of water in the body if you want to have sufficient fluids for pumping your muscles.
The bottom line is that if you want to keep your muscles pumped long after you are finished with the workout, you must nourish them and take care of them properly. Here are several ways you can prolong the pump after your workout is done.
1. Increase the Number of Reps
The more reps you do during your training session, the more your heart rate and blood flow will be provided to your muscles, and this is what will ultimately keep them pumped for longer periods.
2. Drink a Protein Shake After You Are Done With the Workout
Drinking a protein shake post-workout is a wise choice since it contains carbs and protein, which will stimulate the recovery process of your muscles and minimize the breakdown. Use a scoop of protein powder with some fresh fruit juice or milk blended with fruit.
3. Consume Complex Carbs
It is very important to eat a complete meal after you are done working out. The meal should contain complex carbs such as pasta, brown rice, baked potatoes, yams, and other sources of whole grains that will keep your blood flowing and your muscles pumped.
4. Drink Lots of Water
Hydrating is extremely important, and it should be done during and after your workout sessions. Adequate hydration ensures the right kind of balance in your muscles to keep them pumped for an extended period.
5. Avoid Stress and Remain Cool and Relaxed
It is very important to avoid stress throughout your workout day since increased stress levels will make your body release a hormone named cortisol into your blood, causing the loss of muscle pump.
If you’re looking to gain more muscle mass and muscle pump, the foods you eat play an important role in helping you achieve your goals. It is a well-known fact that proteins are needed for gaining muscular mass, so not consuming them in proper quantities will not allow your muscles to grow, no matter how hard you try.
So, make sure your diet includes high-quality proteins that can be provided by foods like eggs, lean meat, fish, and shrimp, but also Greek yogurt, beans, peanuts, chickpeas, tofu, whole milk, and cottage cheese, and soybeans.
These foods are rich in protein and should be present in your meal plan if you want to gain more muscle mass. Whether you are consuming them cooked, in various recipes, or in salads, according to possibility, they offer a wide range of options that drives the growth of muscle mass. But, besides proteins, you will also need good carbohydrates. Carbohydrates will provide the energy you need during workouts, so you can perform better and for longer.
To make your muscle pump last longer, you should eat complex carbohydrates after a workout session, besides proteins. This means you need to include brown rice, pasta, whole grains, and baked potatoes in your meal plan. Thus, a balanced diet is a secret to bigger and better muscles. Since you’re working out rather often and you’re also looking to gain bigger muscles, you should also make sure you eat food in adequate portions.
This is why your meal plan should be made to suit your body’s needs during workouts. If you eat too little food throughout the day, not covering the number of calories needed to support your training sessions, you’ll begin losing weight. In this case, you will need to adapt your meal plan and diet, making sure the portions of food you eat are sufficient to provide the necessary level of energy and nutrients r
1. It promotes the growth of muscle mass.
When it comes to muscles, pumping them through intense workout sessions will promote in time the growth of muscle mass. If you want to have bigger muscles, the only way to achieve it is by training them. The feeling of “burning” in the muscles as you train means that fibers are breaking, just to be rebuilt by the organism bigger and better. But, for this, you will also need to allow your body to rest, not just to train.
2. It accelerates the repair process of the muscles.
An increased blood flow to the muscles activates the stem cells found in this particular tissue. In other words, more blood to the muscles means newer cells in a shorter period, which translates into a faster recovery rate after training sessions.
3. It promotes the removal of waste and toxins.
While lactic acid builds in the muscles as you train, and improved blood flow, which happens during the pump phase, helps with the removal of such waste and other toxins. Thus, intense training sessions help by promoting a better cleaning of the muscles and body.
4. It helps with achieving better fitness and physical resilience.
When done correctly, a muscle pump will help a person become fitter, better shaped, and more resilient from a physical point of view. Muscle pump is a good indicator that the training session or exercise did its job well, working out the muscle and improving the blood flow as it should. You just need to pay attention to avoid overdoing it.
1. Continuous muscle pumps can lead to premature wear and tear of the muscles.
While constant exercise is needed to achieve bigger and better muscles, periods of rest play a role as important as a training session. Your body, and implicit your muscles, need to change to rest because that’s when repair processes are done. If you work out too much and too often, you risk reaching exhaustion without the much-wanted muscle mass gain results.
2. The bones can suffer fractures due to stress.
When pursuing muscle pump and muscle mass gain, some bodybuilders or fitness enthusiasts suffer stress fractures. These stress fractures are very small cracks that occur on the surface of the bones, as a result of training sessions that are too intense and inadequate for the physical condition of the person.
In other words, you should never try lifting weights that are above your ability at the moment, out of the desire to gain muscle mass fast. You need to take things gradually and train safely, by beginning is small weights at first and adding to the weight on the way.
3. Damage to ligaments and tendons may occur as well.
This is also a result of training sessions that are too often, too strenuous, and too difficult. While pushing your limits is a way to develop and become better, you also need to know your limits before inflicting damage on your body. Damaged and injured ligaments or tendons are very painful and take a long time to recover. Also, some injuries of this kind may never allow you to perform strength training again, so it’s always best to take care.
4. There’s the risk to develop reversed anorexia.
Some people become so obsessed with their goal of gaining more muscle mass that they turn this into a permanent struggle. A person suffering from reversed anorexia will begin focusing all the attention, effort, and time into building muscles.
Such a person will break any social relationships, even ditch jobs, and adopt extreme diets meant to help him or her gain more muscle. As it is easy to see, such a person has a distorted perception of his or her own body, never feeling satisfied, despite the success in gaining muscle mass.
5. Do’s While Muscle Pump
Do increase your number of reps and sets. Pumping your muscles requires more than just a regular workout session. Do opt for weight lifting and training, because this is the most effective way to get muscles pumped adequately. Do consume a proper amount of water, throughout the day, before a workout, during a workout, and after a workout, to provide all the fluids necessary for the muscles to remain pumped for longer.
Do make sure you eat sufficient protein and complex carbohydrates since muscles need nutrients not just water to grow and look pumped well. Do keep a training log, as it will provide a clearer insight into your performance in time and let you know whether your training routine is working or not.
6. Don’ts Of Muscle Pumping
Don’t get stressed during the day. When we get stressed, our body produces the hormone cortisol, which causes our muscles to lose their pumped aspect. So, do your best to relax and stay calm, not pushing any cortisol into your bloodstream. Don’t exaggerate with the weights you’re looking to lift. While you may feel determined, motivated, and enthusiastic about your workout routine, it is not a good idea to exaggerate or overdo it because it can lead to serious injuries.
Lifting weights that are above your capacity at the moment can cause damage to ligaments, tendons, and may lead to bone cracks. Take things gradually and increase the weights as you gain stamina and muscle mass. Don’t deprive your body of rest. Yes, it is true that you should increase your number of reps and sets, but that doesn’t mean you should not rest. Muscles need rest to repair and rejuvenate, getting ready to face yet another workout session.
Don’t be impatient, because muscle training and muscle gain take time. Nothing can be achieved overnight, only through countless hours of training. Exaggerating can only lead to injuries.
FAQs How Long Does Muscle Pump Last
1. Why do muscles stop feeling pumped after a while?
Muscles get pumped because blood and water are pushed into the muscles, as a body’s response to intense physical effort. Once you’re done training and start resting, these fluids are no longer required in the muscles, so they will no longer be pumped in high quantities, as it happens during workout sessions.
2. Is it possible to extend the duration of my muscle pump?
Muscle pumps don’t last more than 3 hours, so if you want to get there, you could do some things to help extend this effect. Increasing the number of reps and sets in your workout routine, and diminishing rest periods will generate a higher number of muscular contractions.
These, in their turn, will increase water intake in the muscles. After a workout, eat a meal consisting of protein and complex carbohydrates and don’t forget to drink water, to maintain a proper level of hydration in the muscles. Also, avoid getting stressed, as cortisol, the hormone of stress, can deflate pumped muscles.
3. Should I continue pumping the muscles if I feel sore?
If your muscles feel sore, you should go for light recovery exercises instead of an intense workout. Ideally, you should rest if you’re experiencing pain after a workout session, allowing the muscles to repair faster.
Walking and swimming might help by relieving tension and stretching the muscles in a gentle manner.
4. Are daily exercises necessary for a muscle pump?
Rest is just as important as a good workout session, so you should make sure you’re resting at least one day a week. However, if you feel like you’re okay with working out daily, you can do so, as long as you’re not pushing yourself too hard or exaggerating.
Muscle pump doesn’t usually last more than a couple of hours, because it is the body’s response to a session of intense physical effort. Once you relax, the feeling will diminish, as the muscles will relax and fluids will exit their structure. Maintaining muscles pumped continuously is not possible and not recommended, as muscles need time to rest in order to repair themselves.
Also, when done right, muscle pumping leads to the growth of muscle mass, which is the desired outcome in most cases. Adopt an adequate diet and proper workout routine, and a muscle pump will be a constant in your life.
Working out is my life. I love to help others see the potential of their bodies as they transform into their best selves.