Tyler Robbins Fitness

B.Sc. Biochemistry, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Certified CrossFit Trainer (CCFT/CF-L3), USA Weightlifting Level 1

Body Beast Question regarding "The Pump"

Q: I just finished Bulk Arms for the first time and although I did feel a bit of soreness in my biceps, I've gotten little to no pump. I've been through p90x a few times and still had no luck with getting a pump after a certain amount of time.

I looked carefully this time making sure I didn't swing my elbows and kept my form right, but still no luck. Every other body part gets a pump after a Body Beast exercise but my biceps.

A: I think you may be confused as to what a "pump" means (in resistance training terms). The "pump" refers to the blood flowing into your muscles when you resistance train. Technically, you can get a pump just from lifting a soup can because blood needs to flow to the muscle in order for it to contract. Obviously the harder you work a muscle, the more of a pump you can get, even to the point where it may feel like your muscle is about to rip apart.

Soreness the day after a workout, or even a day after that, is called DOMS which stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. DOMS is caused by stimulating a muscle to do something that it isn't trained to do. For example, let's say you were a runner, and you run long distances. However, one day you decide to do some heavy squats. The next day, your legs would more than likely be sore. It isn't because your legs aren't strong, it just means that your legs are being used in a different way than they are used to.

Eventually, if you do something enough, your body isn't going to get sore from doing that action any more. In exercise, this is called adaptation. In order to continue to improve and stimulate new strength and muscle size gains, you need to do something called "Progressive Overload", which essentially means that you need to keep stimulating your muscle with new stimulus in order to progress.

For your biceps, if they aren't sore after a workout any more, then you need to increase weight in the workout you are doing. If you can't possibly increase weight any more because you no longer have the strength to do so with strict form, then you need look at training differently as you have plateaued.

For a program like Body Beast, you will eventually hit a plateau where you cannot increase weights any more without keeping good form, so then I would suggest training differently so that you can improve overall strength, then come back and break through your plateaus in Body Beast.

I hope that helps!