But, is there a serious drawback to this bodybuilding concept? Certainly, any weight lifter is well aware of the muscle pump and burn fascination, as bodybuilders often refer to this concept, but how specifically is the muscle burn or pump produced, and are the methods that foster such a sensation actually beneficial towards muscle gain?
The muscle pump and burn are a function of high rep ranges, where a bodybuilder uses less weight in order to fail using a much higher number of repetitions, which causes the muscles to fatigue in a far different way than with higher weight and lower reps. Because a muscle is able to function for longer periods during a weight lifting set when using higher reps, there is a muscle pump and burn that accompanies the latter segment of a high rep range, as the muscle reaches failure, but by virtue of utilizing less weight in order to sustain the muscle pump and burn rep range, muscle gains are impacted adversely, and although the workout session may actually seem more intense and effective due to the muscle pump and burn, the type of fatigue, which is more endurance related than muscle building in nature, is not the most effective for those who wish to produce the largest level of muscle mass.
When using higher weight and a lower rep range, the workout set will usually not produce anywhere near the level of muscle burn or pump as compared with lower weight, higher rep workout sessions, but because the weight used is greater when reps are lower, the muscle receives a more substantial level of overload, therefore causing superior overall bodybuilding progress in most muscle groups. Therefore, although the muscle pump and burn is far less in heavier weight lifting sessions, since muscle growth is superior, there is no legitimate reason for a bodybuilder to seek a muscle burn or pump during workout sessions that has as its primary focus muscle building.
Higher rep and lower weight workout sessions are helpful for muscle recovery, overtraining prevention, and joint recuperation, but are far less effective at muscle gains in most areas as compared with heavier weight lifting workouts that do not offer any significant muscle burn or pump. There are also particular exercises that result in a greater sense of muscle burn or pump, especially those that stretch the muscle significantly, but they also as just described, in that the muscle pump and burn will increase substantially with higher reps and lower weight, but, the most important point to remember is that the largest level of muscle gain will not occur by searching for a muscle pump or burn, but rather through structuring weight lifting workout sessions within a lower rep range where greater weight will be utilized to produce a higher workload level.
If you wish to experience a muscle burn or pump, then you can always implement one set at the end of each weight lifting workout exercise that is composed of a higher rep range and less weight (a burn out set), as this will not interfere with muscle building assuming that all prior workout sets are organized using a lower rep range and heavier weight, which is conducive towards maximum muscle gain. The goal is not to feel as if a muscle has gained size during the actual weight lifting workout session, but rather to achieve weekly measurable muscle building, so do not make the mistake of believing a muscle burn or pump during a workout will lead to any extra sustainable muscle gain unless you have structured your weight lifting session with heavier, lower rep workouts for sufficient muscle overload.
Francesco Castano authors MuscleNOW.com, a diet and weight lifting program teaching the exact techniques for muscle growth without supplements or drugs. He also owns IncrediBody.com, an online fitness superstore selling weight lifting equipment at guaranteed lowest prices.