Getting in the zone is one thing but taking your training to another level is another. When do you know you’re in the zone? For me, it happens whenever I get the best muscle pumps regardless of what I do. What’s the muscle pump you ask?
Muscle pump has everything to do with pumping as much blood into your muscles. This happens with forceful contractions while using a full range of motion. Some muscle exhibit a better muscle pump than others. For instance, biceps and pecs are susceptible to this phenomenon. Quadriceps and triceps can also benefit from the muscle pump effect, however I do believe more extended warm up sets are needed for these body parts.
Throughout ever workout, aim to get a muscle pump. Easier said than done here are a few tips for nailing it most of the time.
Watch what you eat
Muscle pump can occur much more easier if your body possess the right nutrients. Carbohydrates eventually become glycogen in the body. This can greatly help the muscle to store precious fuel in the form of glycogen that assists in driving you deeper into the muscle pump zone.
Stay in the zone
Ok, so let’s say, you’re in the middle of a grueling set of bicep curls and you begin to experience the onset of the muscle pump. Seize the day! Don’t quit just yet. Keep driving yourself deeper and deeper into the exercise while engaging the muscle into forceful contractions. Also, focus on working the muscle rather than working the ego. In short, pay attention to maintaining good form and proper lifting technique.
Mind muscle connection
Here’s a tip I always use. In fact, I used it a few hours ago during my last workout. Prior to executing a set, close your eyes and imagine yourself doing the exercise. Imagine the feel of the bar or weight, its temperature as you pick up a dumbbell or barbell and even think of the weight you’re using. Continue to think about manipulating the weight through space. Think about the first rep and how your body responds to it. Think about how the other assisting muscles feel and respond to the movement. Imagine what the exercise will do to your breathing and balance. The reason I have you do this is to build on the mind muscle connection. You will find this effective meditative technique contributes to stronger lifts and more controlled exercise form. Also, lifts that seem heavy subsequently becoming after this brief mental exercise.
In the end, the muscle pump is a sign you’re on the right track. If for whatever reason, the pump ain’t happening, don’t sweat it. Complete your full exercise routine and hope on conjuring the muscle pump next time!