It is one thing to work out, but looking like you actually do is another puzzle to solve.
And being vascular constitutes one of its pieces.
A pair of vascular guns can deceive the eye and make the rest of the body appear leaner, bigger and more aesthetic.
Veins are also a panty-dropper in the sexual market.
Well… mostly in the male sexual market.
Anyway, no matter the purity of your motivation, here’s how to get roadmap forearms, biceps and even abs without any further verbal spill-out.
1) Get lean(er)
Sorry, not sorry.
Seems pretty obvious but this is the most crucial part of acquiring veins. There is not so much that you can do when they are buried underneath a thick layer of fat. Simply laid out with the Pareto principle, it is the 20% of your focus that shall lead to 80% of results and without it, all following steps are pointless.
Melt some fat and veins will happily “surface.”
For us guys, body fat correlates to vascularity as follows:
>15% Very little vascularity, even with a pump
~12% Arm vascularity appears, with the cephalic (bicep)vein popping on a pump
~10% Arm vascularity is now clear, even without a pump
~8% Abs veins begin to show at this point
<8% You’re crazy
Note: Ladies your body fat is the same as the male + ~7%, yet these vascularity principles may not apply to you.
2) Drop water weight
Just like fat, water weight interferes between muscles/veins and skin.
Gladly, water is much easier to get rid of than fat and the way to do so is through…
~More water, counter intuitively.
A liter per 50 pounds of bodyweight is a good starting point, this will prevent dehydration and improve circulation.
~Balancing sodium and potassium intake.
Sodium is easily absorbed by the cells and brings water in with it, whereas potassium sucks it out and is vital for restoring cellular fluid balance.
Research says that restricting potassium intake can increase cellular water retention so it is a good practice to keep an eye on it.
Some potassium rich foods are Bananas, coconut water, potatoes, avocados.
Try to incorporate them into your diet if you tend to overdo it with salt.
Cortisol is the so called “stress hormone” and will lead to excessive water retention.
Now reducing cortisol is a whole nother story on its own, but some good guidelines to follow are:
-Reduce daily stress
-Practice meditation or mindfulness
-Improve sleep quality
-Eat healthy dietary fats
(All shall be covered 😉 )
3) Chase the pump to increase Vasodilation
*Vasodilation: A nerdy way of saying widening of blood vessels.
Ah the pump…
An old school tactic, but they say “if it works don’t try to fix it”.
Weight training in general, will lead to greater vascularity over time (as a by-product of muscle growth) but focusing on getting a massive pump, will increase vessel size and their ability to dilate quicker.
Once, a vessel makes its appearance, given that all previous variables are in check, it is there to stay and keep you company.
I normally recommend training mostly in a myofibrilar or sarcoplasmic hypertrophy rep ranges (4-15 reps). However, high reps and ultra high reps, in particular, tend to give better pumps and eye catching vascularity.
Incorporate 1-2 sets of 30+ rep bicep curls in your routine, once or twice (at most) per week.
Some other exercises that this principle also applies to are calf raises, seated leg extensions (brave move), shoulder raises, weighted wrist rotations ( Sylvester Stalone’s practice for forearms).
Practice combined with the next step for best results.
4) Carb cycle
Carbs alone are promising for delivering pumps, hence making the blood vessels more visible even without exercise.
There have been times when in a restaurant that I just had to snap a picture of my forearms because of a naughty carb pump.
Vain, I know.
There is a catch with carbs though.
When consuming them airily leptin sensitivity decreases and the body’s ability to respond to them in the “well mannered” way of using them to fuel muscles diminishes.
Hence it makes sense to cycle them.
Grab a bagel and hop on a bicycle.
Or manipulate your carbohydrate intake according to your training and energy expenditure.
More specifically, on days that you exercise with weights or any form of resistance, consume more carbs and fewer fats, and on rest days or pure cardio days, consume more fats and fewer carbs. In such way, you condition your leptin sensitivity and insulin response in your favor.
Optimally, you want to consume the most carbs on the days that you are going super high reps, as prescribed previously so that there is more glucose available to feed the pumping muscles.
5) Tissue temperature conditioning
Well, it is not as fancy as it sounds.
Have you noticed that whenever you get exposed to a hotter environment, your veins tend to be more visible?
Nice, so what we aim to do with this tactic is to improve the responsiveness of the smooth muscle in the veins to become more alert while enhancing circulation along the way.
Simply put, we will practice the deliberate transition from hot to cold environments, training the vascular response and vasodilation of the muscles.
Thankfully the how is much simpler than the why.
Just dip your hands, arms and anything of your liking (lol) into hot water, stay there for 5 seconds and then dip in cold water for another 5. Repeat that 10 times and over time your muscles should become conditioned to be fed more easily, through better blood flow.
This can also benefit the “cold hand syndrome”, which I just made up but totally have.
Another way to achieve the vascular look is through high Nitrate foods such as spinach, kale, beetroot and lettuce.
And/or nitrate oxide promoting supplements such as Citruline-Malate and Arginine.
All the above will promote nitric oxide circulation in the blood leading to vasodilation.
There you have it.
Take care of the variables listed above and you’re guaranteed popping veins and a stroke on the ego. till next time.
Let me know in the comments how it works for you, or dm me a massive pump 😉
Till next time,
PS: Disclaimer I am neither a doctor nor pretending to be one. Although there is no hazard for healthy individuals, use the above with caution and at your own risk.