Sooner or later, every bodybuilder starts wondering about the best way to bring out his vascularity and sharpen up his physique. Vascularity describes how prominently your veins show and it can be critical in bodybuilding, especially in its competitive form.
But even if you’re not looking to become a pro, a high degree of vascularity is one of the key indicators of having low body fat and being ripped, so people will inevitably judge your aesthetics by the visibility of your veins. The more vascular you are, the leaner you are and the better chance you have of making heads turn and placing higher on competitions.
To get those pipe-like veins coursing through your body, you need the right mix of genetic factors, training and nutrition. Have you noticed that some guys have naturally prominent veins while you struggle so hard to achieve the same look, even though they don’t pay as much attention to what they eat and how they train as you do? There’s no doubt that genetics play a big role here, but that’s not the end of the story. With a proper training and eating plan, anyone can beat their disadvantages and get those veins to pop up. Read this article to learn the secrets of the vascular monsters you admire!
#1. Get Lean
It’s no surprise that reducing body fat will increase vascularity, regardless of your genetics. Body fat is most commonly stored right under the skin, so eliminate as much of it as possible to get your veins closer to the surface! In men, prominent vascularity usually requires single-digit body fat, and for women it’s enough to get under 20%.
If you’re already pretty lean, know that shedding those last few stubborn reserves of fat will be the hardest phase of your fat loss. To get rid of it, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn, but if you limit your calorie intake too much you’ll start losing precious muscle as well. Therefore, you need to find the perfect balance and avoid drastic cuts.
Start by dropping your current calorie intake by 400 calories per day. This should allow you to lose around a pound of pure fat each week without sacrificing muscle mass. Swap starchy foods for low-calorie veggies, avoid fatty meat and don’t even dare to think about greasy junk food or high-carb processed snacks. As the weeks go by, you can gradually reduce your caloric intake, but try to keep the pace steady and smooth.
#2. Train for the Pump
Chasing the pump can stimulate many factors that contribute to bigger lean gains. Remember when Arnold said: “The most satisfying feeling you can get in the gym is the pump”? It was the beginning of the pump craze. But beyond making you feel like the king of the world, getting a good pump has been shown to promote greater long-term growth and of course, powerfully increase vascularity.
Biologically, what we refer to as the “pump“ is the process of cell swelling and metabolite accumulation. When you lift, the veins taking blood from the working muscles become compressed from the force of muscular contractions, while the arteries continue delivering new blood continues to the muscles.
Naturally, this increases the concentration of blood within the muscle, eventually causing plasma to leak into the interstitial spaces of the tissue. After you finish the set, the accumulation of extracellular fluid calls for the blood to be drawn back into the muscles, thus causing the blood-engorged working muscles to swell far beyond their usual girth, giving you a majestic pump.
One great way to get there is by introducing blood-flow restriction (BFR) in your training, i.e. partially restricting the veins of a working muscle that results with pooling of blood. Finish off your training session with high-volume work with BFR for the particular muscle group where you’d like to improve vascularity the most. Push yourself to get the best pump possible (restricting the duration of rest pauses to 30 seconds helps tremendously) and get a taste of what it’s like to be a super-vascular beast.
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