The Workout Pump: What Is it & Does It Mean Muscle Growth

When lifting weights, the phrase “pump” means your muscles swelling up and your skin getting tighter. This is caused by the rush of blood flow to those muscles when you work them out.

Now just by reading that you may think that the pump is something bad but it’s actually one of the best natural feelings that you can get. It’s almost like the runners high that you hear about but for people who work out.

Why Is The Pump Good

When you get a good pump you know that you’re putting in work in your workout, this is a good indication of your body telling you that you’re on the right track for building muscle in that area.

Note that I said on the right track for building muscle, I’ll explain why I emphasize that part in a section below.

Other than that the mental feeling you get is pretty cool and is a motivator in itself to keep pushing through for a better workout.

Like I mentioned above this feeling isn’t an exact thing you’ll notice, it’s like the runners high where you might casually notice after your workout that you’re feeling good, or having that feeling of accomplishment.

Does The Pump Equal Muscle Gains

No, it does not. Getting a muscle pump just means you’re putting enough work into your muscles to get some blood flow pumping to it.

However, this is a good indicator for if your exercises are hitting the muscle that you’re trying to work out.

For example, if you’re doing a work out for biceps and notice that your forearms have a major pump with not so much in your biceps then this may be a good indicator that your form may be off if your forearms are doing most of the work. This isn’t 100% exact but something to kind of keep an eye out for.

The Mental Benefits Of A Workout Pump

Like I mentioned a few times in this articles there are some overall mental benefits to the pump but not something that has actually been proven (as far as I know) in terms of if it increases dopamine in the brain or anything actual concrete. I could try my best to explain how the pump makes you feel but I believe Arnold Schwarzenegger said it best with this quote.

The greatest feeling you can get in a gym or the most satisfying feeling you can get in the gym is the pump. Let’s say you train your biceps, blood is rushing in to your muscles and that’s what we call the pump.

Your muscles get a really tight feeling like your skin is going to explode any minute and its really tight and it’s like someone is blowing air into your muscle and it just blows up and it feels different, it feels fantastic. 

It’s as satisfying to me as cumming is, you know, as in having sex with a woman and cumming.

So can you believe how much I am in heaven?

I am like getting the feeling of cumming in the gym; I’m getting the feeling of cumming at home; I’m getting the feeling of cumming backstage; when I pump up, when I pose out in front of 5000 people I get the same feeling, so I am cumming day and night.

It’s terrific, right? So you know, I am in heaven.

– Arnold Schwarzenegger

Now of course this feeling varies per person so don’t expect to feel like you just got off when you do some bicep curls but a more realistic expectation would be something like just having that feeling of your mind giving you a pat on the back by letting you know you’re doing work.

Final Thoughts

Some people say the pump is greatly over exaggerated, while others such as Arnold swear by it. It comes down to the person on how it makes them feel and really what their trying to get out of lifting weights.

If you’re actively trying to get big and looking better, then the pump can be an amazing thing but if you’re just in the gym going through the motions because your wife is making you or whatever reason then it came be consider as more as an inconvenience to you.

Overall though for a majority of people that are hitting the gym getting a pump is something we strive for and once you get it the first time you aim to hit that feeling every time you work out.