Pumping or Pounding to Build Muscle Mass?

Copyright 2006 Jonathan Perez

There are pretty much 2 schools of thought in how to gain muscle weight: you are either a “pumper”, meaning you do a lot of sets for a lot of reps, using lower weights, and you go after the “pump”.

Or, you are a “pounder”, meaning you do a low number of sets, a lower rep range, but you use as much weight as possible, so you are more concerned with getting stronger than getting a pump.

Lately, in the magazines you are having more and more people favoring “pumping” as opposed to “pounding”.

The man that without a doubt made getting a “pump” the thing to do to build muscle mass is Arnold (no last name needed).

Especially since he made his famous “comment” about getting a pump in the movie “Pumping Iron”, in addition to his very high volume workouts, many are led to believe that the way that Arnold built his incredible physique was through the “pump”.

However, look closer at what really happened. You can read in any of his biographies that at the start of his bodybuilding career, all the way up until he pretty much came to America, Arnold was NOT a “pumper”.

He was a “pounder”. He trained with a “powerlifting”-style. He even competed in several powerlifting competitions.

By the time he came over to the States, he already weighed 240 pounds, before he started really following “pumping” routines.

His style of training was very “ballistic”, fast rep speed, and very heavy weights…….just as he himself has said many times.

Well, he already was 240 pounds of muscle, the result of heavy lifting, NOT pumping.

Now, did he gain any additional muscle once he switched over to a pumping-style????

No! Look at all of his competition body weights.

The biggest he ever competed at was in the 230’s.

Remember, he was already 240 from the heavy pounding back in his native country.

He gained the majority of his muscle mass from heavy lifting, “pounding”……NOT from pumping.

If pumping was the way to go to build and gain muscle mass weight, then Arnold should have gotten bigger, NOT maintain his current weight.

Most people make the mistake of looking at Arnold’s body, his peaked biceps, massive chest, etc., and think that he built that by doing a ton of sets, chasing the “pump”.

Well, all that managed to do for him was maintain the musculature that he built by heavy, powerlifting-style lifting at the beginning of his lifting career!!!

Who knows how big he would have gotten had he stuck to what made him big in the first place……..”pounding”!

So, what are you, a “pumper”, or a “pounder”???

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