Pump & Grow

Pump and Grow: Ending Your Workout with 20 Rep Sets

We all know that part of working out to build bigger muscles is achieving that pump; that feeling where your muscles feel like they’re about to burst. And one of the most effective ways to do this is by doing high rep sets. However we also know that we must overload the muscle with heavy weights in order to experience muscle growth. How do you achieve both? It’s simple; you combine both weight training concepts in the same workout.

“The greatest feeling you can get in a gym or the most satisfying feeling you can get in the gym is the pump” – Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pumping Iron










This muscle building concept falls under the weight lifting technique I like to call powerbuilding. In this workout you’ll be starting out with a couple of heavy compound powerlifting exercises using heavy weights finishing with 3-4 sets of 20 reps for your final exercise. Lifting heavy weights at a lower rep range will help build strength and dense muscle mass while ending with 20 reps sets will pump more blood into your muscles. This is an excellent way to achieve maximum muscle overload, which equates to muscle growth (of course given that you’re feeding your muscles outside the gym appropriately as well).

The Pump and Grow Workout

Let’s break down the workout more in depth. You’ll start with 1 or 2 heavy compound movements which the first movement will be 3-4 sets of low reps (shoot for 5 reps). You’ll then move on to your second exercise which will more than likely be another compound movement. You should still use heavy weights for this exercise but your rep range will increase to about 8 reps. After that you’ll throw in a third exercise of 8-10 reps. Finally, you’ll do perform 3 sets of 20 reps on your fourth exercise.

Here’s an example of a back workout using this Pump and Grow weight lifting concept:

Deadlifts: 4 sets x 5 reps

Bent Over Rows: 4 sets x 8 reps

Lat Pulldowns: 4 sets x 10 reps

Hammer Strength Rows: 3 sets x 20 reps

Here’s another example of a chest workout using this training technique (also starting out with the old school strength building method, 5 x 5):

Bench Press: 5 sets x 5 reps

Incline Dumbbell Press: 3 sets x 6-8 reps

Decline Barbell Press: 3 sets x 8-10 reps

Cable Flyes: 3 sets x 20 reps


Leave the Gym Pumped

You may decide to start out with 3 sets instead of 4 and that’s fine. Remember to use heavy weights but don’t sacrifice proper form. On your final 20 rep exercise don’t necessarily go light as you don’t want to merely go through the motions. Though your reps may be done faster you still want to feel the muscle working throughout each rep. Also, don’t rest more than 45 seconds between your sets of 20 reps. If you don’t quite get 20 reps on your second or third set then do a drop set, or just rest 10 seconds then finish your set until you hit 20 reps. Make sure you stretch after your workout.

Pump & Grow will certain help you break through any plateaus you may have hit (and we all hit those more often than we want). I feel like I’m getting the best of both worlds here; moving some heavy weights yet also achieving a phenomenal pump. One thing I would like to address here though is the importance of feeding the muscle: your nutrition. This is a fairly intense weight training method and if you’re not supplying your muscles with the nutrients they need to recover and grow then you’re not going to be pleased with the results you get from any workout, much less Pump & Grow. On that note, make sure you’re taking in plenty of protein throughout the day, several times a day. I also suggest taking in a high protein and high carb shake after this workout (I recommend 50+ grams of protein along with 70+ grams of carbs after most any workout, but especially after this type of workout, unless you’re on some sort of competition diet plan).

Train with Passion,

Jason Stallworth


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