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Q. I can't get enough of a pump in the gym. It's starting to frustrate me; I want a huge pump for huge gains! What can I do?
A. The first thing you should understand is what a pump really is. Contrary to popular belief, it is not caused by a flow of blood into a particular area of the muscle. Instead, it is the result of blood that has been "trapped" inside. This results in a hard, full feeling inside the muscle. However, a pump is most certainly not an indicator of a successful workout. Although it feels great, we should never use this as a guide to whether or not we are having a good workout. Use progression as your guide for success in the gym, not the pump. You would get a huge pump by doing 50 reps with a 10 pound dumbbell, but do you think this would be effective for muscle growth? There is your answer right there.
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Simply put, squats are the most difficult, intimidating and painful exercise you could possibly have in your arsenal. They require massive amounts of discipline and willpower to perform correctly. After you have performed a set of squats to failure, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about! They are also a challenging exercise to master from a technical standpoint. All this aside, they are also the most productive. Squats have packed more muscle onto skinny frames than any other lift out there. Because of the degree of difficulty, squats also force your body to release higher amounts of important anabolic hormones, such as testosterone and growth hormone, thus resulting in total body muscle growth. In addition, squats also cause what is known as a "spillover effect": a strength gain in almost all of your other exercises. When I started squatting to failure, my bench press increased by 20 pounds! If you're looking for serious muscle gains and you don't already squat, you'd better get started. Quite simply, they really, really work.
Read More Building a Big Squat