We can all agree the pump is one of the greatest feelings you can get from a workout.
It's the rush of endorphins, the fullness, the confidence.
And the feeling of a "pump" during a workout is often associated with a practical training session.
This sensation is not just a psychological boost; it's a physiological response that can enhance muscle growth and performance.
But what exactly gives the pump in pre-workouts?
The answer lies in a group of ingredients known as nitric oxide boosters.
These compounds increase muscle blood flow, resulting in feeling pumped and potentially improving workout performance.
Let's dig into them...
The pump in pre-workouts is from nitric oxide boosters, which are ingredients that increase blood flow to the muscles. Key ingredients include Citrulline, Agmatine, and Glycerol, which enhance blood flow, hydration, and nutrient delivery to the muscles, improving performance and the sought-after pump sensation.
The muscle pump, scientifically known as cell swelling or hyperemia, is a physiological phenomenon where blood flow to the muscles increases during intense exercise.
This increased blood flow results in a temporary increase in muscle size and tightness, often described as a "pump."
This pump feels satisfying and has a functional role in muscle growth and performance.
Pre-workout supplements are designed to enhance workout performance and endurance.
They often contain a mix of ingredients that work together to increase energy, focus, and stamina.
One of the key effects of pre-workout supplements is the "pump" - a feeling of fullness in the muscles during a workout.
This pump is primarily driven by increased blood flow to the muscles, facilitated by several key ingredients in pre-workout supplements.
Citrulline: An amino acid that boosts nitric oxide production in the body. Nitric oxide helps dilate blood vessels, allowing more blood, nutrients, and oxygen to flow to your muscles during workouts. This increased blood flow can enhance the muscle pump, improve exercise performance, and speed up recovery time.
Betaine Anhydrous: This compound helps with cell hydration, similar to creatine. It can enhance muscle pump by drawing more water into the muscles, making them look fuller and more pumped during workouts.
GlycerPump (Glycerol): Glycerol is known for its ability to draw water into your body's cells. In a pre-workout context, this means it can help enhance muscle pump and improve hydration and endurance.
Beet Root Extract: Beetroot is a natural source of nitrates, which are converted into nitric oxide in the body. Like citrulline, nitric oxide helps increase blood flow to the muscles, enhancing the muscle pump and improving exercise performance.
Nitrosigine: This patented complex of arginine and silicon significantly increases nitric oxide levels, promoting blood flow and muscle pump during workouts.
Agmatine: Agmatine is a metabolite of L-arginine, and is often included in pre-workout formulas to boost nitric oxide production, thereby enhancing blood flow and the muscle pump.
Pomegranate: Pomegranate extracts are rich in antioxidants and nitrates. They can help boost nitric oxide levels, enhancing blood flow and muscle pump during workouts.
Pre-workout supplements are designed to enhance your workout performance.
They often contain a mix of ingredients that work together to increase energy, endurance, strength, and muscle pump.
Here, we will explore the science behind these key ingredients and their role in enhancing your workout.
Citrulline is an amino acid that plays a crucial role in producing nitric oxide, a molecule that dilates blood vessels.
This dilation allows more blood, nutrients, and oxygen to flow to your muscles during workouts.
The increased blood flow can enhance the muscle pump, improve exercise performance, and speed up recovery time.
A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that citrulline malate improved athletes' performance in high-intensity anaerobic exercises with short rest times.
This suggests that citrulline could benefit high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and weightlifting workouts.
Recommended Dose: 3-10g Pure Citrulline, or 6-12g Citrulline Malate
Betaine anhydrous is a compound that helps with cell hydration, similar to creatine.
It can enhance muscle pump by drawing more water into the muscles, making them look fuller and more pumped during workouts.
A study published in the journal Nutrients found that betaine supplementation supported submaximal strength but did not enhance strength endurance or body composition after 6 weeks of CrossFit training inexperienced athletes.
The study suggests that betaine may be more beneficial for strength-based workouts rather than endurance-based ones.
Recommended Dose: 2.5g to 4g
Glycerol is known for drawing water into your body's cells.
It can help enhance muscle pump and improve hydration and endurance pre-workout.
A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that glycerol supplementation before exercise increased fluid retention, thus reducing the risk of dehydration during prolonged exercise.
This suggests that glycerol could benefit endurance athletes or those training in hot conditions.
Recommended Dose: 1g to 5g
Beetroot is a natural source of nitrates, converted into nitric oxide in the body. Like citrulline, nitric oxide helps increase blood flow to the muscles, enhancing the muscle pump and improving exercise performance.
A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that whole beetroot improved running performance in healthy adults.
This suggests that beetroot extract could be beneficial for endurance athletes.
Recommended Dose: 500mg to 2g
Nitrosigine is a patented complex of arginine and silicon.
It has been shown to significantly increase nitric oxide levels, promoting blood flow and muscle pump during workouts.
A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that Nitrosigine supplementation improved mental acuity, focus, and perceived energy in healthy, physically active adults.
This suggests that Nitrosigine could benefit both physical and cognitive performance during workouts.
Recommended Dose: 800mg to 2g
Agmatine works by influencing the nitric oxide synthesis in your body.
Nitric oxide is a powerful neurotransmitter that helps blood vessels relax and improves circulation.
As a result, agmatine is often used to help improve workout performance and recovery.
Research shows that agmatine has the potential to enhance insulin production leading to better insulin response.
This mechanism may contribute to a more robust muscle pump when agmatine is taken before workouts.
Recommended Dose: 500mg - 2g
Pomegranate is a fruit that is rich in antioxidants and nitrates.
The extracts of this fruit are often used in pre-workout supplements due to their potential to boost nitric oxide levels, which can enhance blood flow and muscle pump during workouts.
Pomegranate extracts are rich in polyphenols, potent antioxidants that protect your body against oxidative stress and inflammation.
These antioxidants can help boost nitric oxide levels, enhancing blood flow and muscle pump during workouts.
This study shows that pomegranate extract can significantly enhance exercise performance and endurance, possibly due to its ability to optimize oxygen usage.
Recommended Dose: 500mg - 2g
Vaso6 is a patented ingredient that is often found in pre-workout supplements.
It is a green tea extract that is claimed to increase nitric oxide production, leading to better blood flow and improved oxygen and nutrient delivery to muscles during workouts.
Vaso6 is derived from green tea, a natural source of antioxidants. It is designed to increase nitric oxide levels in the body, which can lead to vasodilation or the widening of blood vessels.
This can improve blood flow to the muscles, enhancing the muscle pump and improving exercise performance.
Research shows that green tea extract can enhance exercise-induced improvements in muscle strength and boost fat oxidation during moderate-intensity exercise.
Recommend Dose: 50-200mg
Vasodrive (AmealPeptide) is a patented ingredient derived from casein, a protein found in milk.
It is often used in pre-workout supplements due to its potential to improve blood flow and enhance exercise performance.
Vasodrive works by inhibiting an enzyme called angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), which regulates blood pressure.
By inhibiting ACE, Vasodrive can help relax and widen blood vessels, improving blood flow to muscles during workouts.
Research shows that ACE inhibitors like Vasodrive can enhance muscle blood flow, potentially improving exercise performance and recovery.
Recommended Dose: 250mg-500mg
Epicatechin is a flavonoid in certain foods like dark chocolate and green tea.
It is often included in pre-workout supplements because it can enhance muscle growth and strength.
Epicatechin is believed to inhibit a protein in the body called myostatin.
Myostatin is a growth factor that regulates and inhibits muscle growth, so by inhibiting myostatin, epicatechin could potentially enhance muscle growth.
Check out: Guide to Epicatechin Supplements
Recommended Dose: 100mg-300mg
What is the muscle pump? The muscle pump, also known as cell swelling or hyperemia, is a physiological response where blood flow to the muscles increases during intense exercise, which temporarily increases muscle size and tightness.
What are nitric oxide boosters? Nitric oxide boosters are ingredients that increase blood flow to the muscles. They are commonly found in pre-workout supplements and include compounds like Citrulline, Agmatine, and Glycerol.
How does Citrulline contribute to the muscle pump? Citrulline is an amino acid that increases nitric oxide production, a molecule that dilates blood vessels and improves blood flow. This enhanced blood flow contributes to the muscle pump sensation during workouts.
What is the role of Agmatine in pre-workouts? Agmatine is a metabolite of the amino acid arginine and is included in pre-workouts due to its potential to regulate nitric oxide synthesis. This regulation can increase circulation, allowing for better nutrient delivery and waste product removal in the muscles during a workout.
How does Glycerol enhance the muscle pump? Glycerol is a compound often used in pre-workout supplements to enhance hydration. When consumed, glycerol can increase the amount of water held in the body, potentially improving hydration status during prolonged exercise and contributing to the muscle pump.
Are nitric oxide boosters safe? Nitric oxide boosters are generally considered safe for healthy individuals when used as directed. However, as with any supplement, it's important to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.
Can I get a muscle pump without using pre-workouts? Yes, a muscle pump can be achieved without pre-workouts through high-repetition resistance training that focuses on muscle contraction and relaxation. However, pre-workouts can enhance this effect.
What is the "pump" in pre-workout? The "pump" refers to the sensation of increased blood flow to the muscles during a workout, often achieved through nitric oxide produced from nitrates in supplements.
How does beetroot extract contribute to the "pump"? Beetroot extract is high in nitrates, converted into nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide improves blood flow, leading to the "pump" sensation.
Does beetroot extract improve exercise performance? Yes, research shows that beetroot extract can improve peak and mean power output during high-intensity exercise.
Does beetroot extract reduce fatigue during exercise? While beetroot extract improves performance, it does not significantly affect fatigue during or after high-intensity exercise.
Can I get the benefits of beetroot extract from other sources? While beetroot extract is a convenient and concentrated source of nitrates, other nitrate-rich foods like spinach and arugula can also boost nitric oxide production.
The pump in pre-workouts results from increased blood flow to the muscles, primarily facilitated by nitric oxide boosters. These ingredients, including Citrulline, Agmatine, and Glycerol, enhance blood flow, hydration, and nutrient delivery to the muscles, improving performance and the sought-after pump sensation. By understanding these ingredients and their functions, individuals can make informed decisions about their pre-workout supplements to maximize their workout performance and results.
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