Don’t Be A Pump Chaser

Alright Primal Camp, listen up.

Now I know you love ‘the pump‘.

Nothing feels better than having throbbing guns from cranking out 45 minutes worth of biceps, or your chest stretching out that extra ‘smedium’ shirt you are wearing from bench press supersets with cable flyes.  It feels damn good; your muscles are full, you look big, you can barely move or otherwise your skin might just blow up from your swollness.


But that feeling comes with baggage.

It is like a drug.  It is addicting.  It clouds your judgment.  It is a temporary high.

You cannot judge a workout by it’s pump.

If you want to make progress, you have to understand that.  I’ll be the first to admit that it is tough.  Everyone likes to feel good, so naturally strength athletes have a tendency to chase that feeling.

But if you plan your workouts properly and stick to the plan, you may not even feel a pump at all, especially if you are training for strength and not hypertrophy.

I say this because I caught myself thinking this way for a minute today.  I trained heavy keg snatches, front squats, and then some ring pullups and a pushup ladder.  My goal was to lift heavy sh*t and train for serious strength and power with relatively low reps.

women's strength training

By the time the workout was over, I was still hungry for more, despite accomplishing a pretty decent workload. But I hadn’t achieved ‘the pump’.

I contemplated doing more until I rationally recapped all the training I had just done and realized I was a ‘pump chaser’.

My point is, I trained and did exactly what I set out to do.  I executed my plan, trained my body for strength, and the benefits will come, pump or not.

While the pump is a great feeling, it simply isn’t indicative of whether or not you had a good or bad training session, or whether or not your muscles are growing.

Hell, you could get a full upper body pump from doing a set of 25lb bicep curls and a quick set of 20 pushups. That won’t make you grow though!

Train with heavy weights and moderate rep ranges.  If you absolutely must get a pump, train those heavy sets first and finish with a drop set of 12-16 reps.  You could also decrease your rest intervals.

Just remember, stick with your plan.  The pump should never factor into your programming, no matter how good it feels…


— Tank

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