Is Achieving A Muscle Pump or Burn During Weight Lifting Workouts Necessary For Muscle Growth?

By: Francesco A. Castano

Many weight lifters who wish to gain significant levels of muscle mass aim to achieve a muscle pump or burn during their weight lifting workout sets, feeling that such a sensation is indicative of muscle overload and breakdown, therefore improving the opportunity for muscle growth. Bodybuilders will even specifically seek out the muscle pump or burn by modifying certain weight lifting workout factors in order to encourage such a feeling, and often tell other weight lifters how their workout was extremely potent or describe a certain weight training exercise as feeling superior specifically due to the muscle pump or burn that accompanies each set.

But, is there a serious drawback to this bodybuilding concept? Certainly, any individual who has lifted weights is well aware of the muscle burn and pump fascination, as bodybuilders often refer to this phenomena, but how specifically is the muscle pump or burn produced, and are the techniques that foster such a sensation actually beneficial towards muscle growth?

The muscle burn and pump are a function of high rep ranges, where a bodybuilder uses lower weight in order to fail using a much greater number of repetitions, which causes the muscles to fatigue in a much different way than with higher weight and lower reps. Because a muscle is able to function longer during a weight training set when using higher reps, there is a muscle burn and pump that begins during the latter portion of a high rep range, as the muscle begins to reach failure, but by virtue of utilizing lower weight in order to sustain the muscle burn and pump rep range, muscle building is impacted adversely, and although the workout session may actually seem more intense due to the muscle burn and pump, the class of fatigue, which is more endurance related than muscle building in nature, is not the most effective for those who wish to produce the greatest level of muscle gain.

When using a lower rep range and higher weight, the workout set will usually not lead to anywhere near the level of muscle pump or burn as compared with higher rep, lower weight workout sessions, but because the weight used is greater when reps are lower, the muscle receives a far more significant level of overload and shock, therefore causing superior overall bodybuilding progress in most muscle groups. Therefore, although the muscle pump and burn is much less noticeable in heavier weight training sessions, since muscle growth is superior, there is no legitimate reason for a bodybuilder to aim for a muscle pump or burn during workout sessions that has muscle gain as its primary focus.

Higher rep and lower weight workout plans are helpful for overtraining prevention, joint recuperation, and muscle recovery, but are far less effective at muscle gains in most areas as compared with heavier weight training workout sessions that do not offer any significant muscle pump or burn. There are also particular exercises that result in a greater sense of muscle pump or burn, especially those that stretch the muscle significantly, but they also function in the same method just described, in that the muscle burn and pump will greatly increase with higher reps and lower weight, but, the most important point to always keep in mind is that the greatest level of muscle growth will not occur by searching for a muscle pump or burn, but rather through organizing weight training workout sessions within a lower rep range where greater weight will be utilized to produce a much higher level of workload.

If you enjoy a muscle pump or burn, then you may implement one set at the conclusion of every weight training workout exercise that is comprised of higher reps and less weight (a burn out set), as this will not interfere with muscle gains assuming that all prior workout sets are structured using a lower rep range and heavier weight, which is helpful for maximum muscle growth. The goal is not to feel as if a muscle has grown during the actual weight training workout session, but rather to achieve weekly measurable muscle gains, so do not make the mistake of believing a muscle pump or burn during a workout will translate into any extra sustainable muscle growth unless you have planned your weight training session with heavier, lower rep workouts for sufficient muscle overload.

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Francesco Castano owns, where you will find his natural fat loss program.

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