Muscle Pump Effect

Hi friends πŸ™‚

I hope you all had a great weekend! It was so incredibly nice to relax and not worry about doing schoolwork! Woo hoo for only 1 class today! I fly home early tomorrow and the one part of the trip I’m worried about is flying with Zoey. She’s going to be in a carrier and will have to go under the seat in front of me. Hopefully the sedative the vet gave me will work and keep her calm! Fingers crossed.

Speaking of Zoey…she somehow managed to open this drawer and crawl in it even though it was barely open:

And she had a bit of hard time getting out afterward haha.

Oh she is so entertaining :).


I am super excited to go home tomorrow! I haven’t been home since the end of August and it will be so nice to see family and friends again! Plus, Chris will be home and I’ll get to spend more time with him :).

One person I’m looking forward to seeing is my cousin Whitney. I was in her wedding in 2010 and when I came back to school this fall she found out she was pregnant!! It’s been so sad not being able to see her through some of her pregnancy. I’m so excited to be able to catch up with her this week!

Whitney and I at her wedding!


So yesterday while I was lifting at the gym, I noticed that my arms were looking a little “puffy” after I had completed a few exercises. Basically my arms looked slightly swollen and felt full and tight.

Well, did you know that your muscles actually do experience something called “the pump” after you have lifted them? Essentially what happens is when you contract your muscles and you are sufficiently working them, blood will rush to them. The blood rushes to your muscles in order to help flush out the lactic acid that builds up (this is what causes that burning sensation) and to deliver oxygen and nutrients to help rebuild and repair them.

When a muscle is forcefully contracting it essentially squeezes inward and backs up the blood flow. In order to compensate, your blood pressure will raise and forces plasma into the spaces of the muscle cells. This trapped plasma is what causes that “pump effect”. The appearance of the pump effect can last for about a half hour to an hour after a workout.

There isn’t really a benefit to any of this occurring, other than that bodybuilders will sometimes utilize this effect to make them appear more buff before a competition. Also, if you are unable to achieve the pump it could be a sign of overtraining.Β  I just think it’s really cool to learn about the body and why things happen. Plus when I was lifting and noticed that my arms were looking a bit larger than normal I wanted to figure out why haha.

It’s pretty cool what our bodies do during exercise isn’t it? I think so πŸ™‚

Today is your last chance to enter my giveaway! The winner will be announced tomorrow :D.

I hope you all have a great day!



What are you looking forward to this Thanksgiving?

Have you ever heard of the muscle pump effect? Have you ever noticed it when working out?

About In Sweetness and In Health

I'm Lindsay! I'm a 23 year-old graduate student in occupational therapy. I love all things health and fitness related and this blog will document my life as I learn to really love myself, try to stop worrying so much about my body, and truly take advantage of all the sweet things that life offers us.

Posted on November 21, 2011, in Family, Lifting, Random. Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. I’m most looking forward to just being with my family and enjoying some of my favorite eats!

    I have heard of the muscle pump effect, and I LOVE when I experience it. It makes me feel accomplished and productive. πŸ˜‰

  2. Oh wow, your kitty is flippen adorable πŸ™‚ And I have never heard of this, so I am rather intrigued! Thank you for the info pretty lady

  3. I have noticed that my veins stick out after I lift–eeeeewww!!!

    I can’t wait for my parents’ homemade stuffing and playing cards with the fam this Thanksgiving. So happy for you that you get some good QT with your own fam this week! πŸ™‚ XO

  4. SO SO COOL…I didn’t know about ‘the pump.’ That is awesome. YAY for only one class today! I am so happy you get to go home, enjoy every second!

  5. My ex would do pushups when we’d head out to the pool or beach on vacation so he’d look more “pumped”. Ugh he was so annoying!

  6. aw have an awesome trip at home!! i’m sure your kitty will be just fine in a carrier. we take our dog all the time.

    i don’t experience the “pumped up” look very often, since i rarely lift weights :-/ oops! but my bf is obsessed with looking “swole” haha boys are crazy

  7. Aww, what an adorably sneaky kitty move!!!

    I’ve never heard of the “pumped” effect…but my boyfriend is coming into town tonight so maybe I should crank out a few sets before he gets here so I look a little more toned πŸ˜‰

  8. I’m looking forward to the food! Especially some pumpkin pie. Good luck with your cat travels. Don’t give her the sedative too early. I remember I did that last time I flew with my cat and it wore off mid flight. My fellow flight mates weren’t thrilled as she meowed for 2 hours.

  9. I’m looking forward to my Mamaw Dot’s Google Gaggle (boiled custard) poured over coconut cake!!

  10. I have totally noticed it before! That info is really interesting, and now I will think about it while lifting lol! I’m looking forward to relaxing from school, spending time with my loved ones, and eating a bunch of great food πŸ˜€ Have a good one!

  11. I’ve never actually SEEN the muscle pump situation, but I have noticed that I feel it if I put jeans on right after I work out.

    Kittens are so silly! Good luck taking Zoey home, have a great trip!

  12. Well you know, I did lock my friend’s cat in a suitcase for nearly three days and he was A-okay…

    I am totally kidding, do NOT try that with Zoey! My cats would hate being in a carrier under the seat though, they would freak out! The sedative is a good idea.

    Have a safe flight!

  13. You are your cousin are so gorgeous in that picture!!

    I’m looking forward to having several days off work, visiting my mom in Florida, and amazing food! I can’t wait! πŸ™‚

  14. oh i wish i was in college again, just so i can take off work the whole week, haha. We are going to NZ this week though, so i can’t complain. YEA!!!

    great muscle post. I am constantly amazed at our bodies abilities. God has given us a lot of internal and external strength.

    • Haha I’m going to miss all of the breaks that come along with school! Yay! That is so exciting that you’ll be going to NZ this week :).

  15. I’m looking forward to seeing my family! Now that we all live in different states, I feel so homesick and don’t get to see everyone nearly enough.

    As for the swollen muscles, I have totally noticed that. I’ve heard supermodels (think VS) do just a few crunches to look more toned before hitting the runway, and figure competitors do some curls and such backstage before the show.

  16. I’ve had that pump or swollen effect before and it scared the crap out of me! But an athlete friend explained that I was fine..thank goodness. I’m really looking forward to catching up with my little cousins – I haven’t seen them in forever!

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