We all know that before he became Governor of California, and way before his movie career, Arnold Schwarzenegger was a professional bodybuilder. Not only did he start at the young age of 15, he also won the Mr. Olympia contest seven times. The Guinness Book of World Records called him the most perfectly developed man in the history of the world.
It’s no secret then that people who practice strength training admire the Austrian actor. And if they don’t, they really should. Workout routines have evolved a lot since the 1970s, but a lot of the most impressive physiques the world has ever seen came from that time.
Arnold practiced something called volume training or “chasing the pump.” It’s basically lifting with the purpose of making your muscles engorged with blood following resistance training. This is achieved by doing multiple sets with moderate to high reps.
“The most satisfying feeling you can get in the gym is the pump.” said Arnold during an episode of Pumping Iron, “Let’s say you train your biceps. The blood is rushing into your muscles. Your muscles get a really tight feeling, like your skin is going to explode any minute. It’s like somebody blowing air into your muscles. There’s no better feeling in the world.”
According to Flex Online, this is how it works: basically, when you lift, the veins taking blood from the working muscles become compressed from the force of muscular contractions. While this happens, blood keeps being delivered to the muscles by the arteries. After the set is completed, a pressure is caused by the accumulated extracellular fluid.
The overall effect isn’t just being “swole” for a couple of hours after workout. Research suggests that the the pump can help promote greater long-term growth too.
So if you ever hit a rut in your workout, or you just want to train like the greats used to, give this technique a try! It certainly worked for the Austrian Oak.