Does The Flushing Technique Really Work for a Muscle Pump?


question-icon-newIn one of your articles, you mentioned the “flushing” technique. I’m a little confused. Should I mix up the different exercises in my routine or stay focused and complete one body part before moving onto another? As an example, today is what I call my “Leg Day”. I’ll do legs and upper chest exercises. But in my routine I’ll do all my leg exercises first and then move onto my upper chest routine and do all those exercises. Should I mix up the different exercises I do?

answer-icon-newThe flushing technique basically involves doing multiple sets of different exercises for the same muscle group, back to back with no rest in between. Your goal will be to totally annihilate the muscle and completely engorge it with blood which will provide the “muscle pump” feeling. The way this happens is to do many repetitions over the course of the back to back exercises you choose. If you decide to do the flushing technique with 3 different exercises of 12 reps each, then your overall rep range will be 36 repetitions in one set. I guarantee you will feel a serious pump after a set like that.

Here is an example of the flushing technique for chest:

  • 1 set of bench press (12 reps)
  • immediately followed by
  • 1 set of dips (15 reps)
  • immediately followed by
  • 1 set of cable crossovers (20 reps)

When doing the flushing technique, you should remember that this is a super high intensity training principle and your workouts will be very taxing to your muscles when you’re doing 2-3 exercises back to back. For this reason, you want to make sure your total workout does not exceed 45 minutes in length in order to maximize your training time and avoid any overtraining issues. The flushing technique is also a good circuit style training routine for cardiovascular endurance and will make you break a good sweat. Since you are going from one intense exercise to the next with virtually no rest in between, your heart rate will be elevated for 3-4 minutes while you execute your chosen exercises.

An important point to note is that you mentioned that you are doing legs and chest on the same day. I want to advise that this is probably not the best routine to incorporate if your goal is to pack on muscle and avoid overtraining. Since your legs are the biggest muscle group on your body, you should only focus on doing this one muscle group for one specific workout. By combining chest along with legs, this is just simply too much and you will need to sacrifice on one muscle group in order to get a super high intensity workout completed. It’s good to do circuit style training also when doing legs and dividing your workout up into quadriceps, hamstrings and calves in order to get your workout completed within 1 hour. A good back to back set would be barbell squats followed up by Romanian deadlifts for the hamstrings. Do them back to back with maybe 30-60 seconds of rest in between. After this full set is complete, then rest for 2-3 minutes and do another set. You can also choose to do your quads for the first part of your workout and then leave your calves until the end.

Here is an example of a super high intensity leg workout that involves using 2 different exercises for the quads and hamstrings with the flushing technique.

  • muscle-pump-legsBarbell squats (1 set of 10 reps)
  • Immediately followed by
  • Seated leg extensions (1 set of 20 reps)
  • Rest 30-60 seconds
  • Romanian deadlifts (1 set of 10 reps)
  • Immediately followed by
  • Lying Hamstring Leg Curls (1 set of 20 reps)
  • Finish this workout with 3-4 sets of calf exercises

Another style of flushing workout for your legs would be to combine hamstrings and calves after you complete your quadriceps exercises. So, in this example you would do 4-5 exercises for your quads (in normal fashion) and then once all of your quad work is finished, you would move onto your hamstrings and calves and do them back to back with a few different exercises. The great thing about combining your hamstrings and calves is than when you train your hamstrings (in an exercise like the leg curls), you are also training your calves as a secondary muscle group. So when you finish up your hamstrings exercises, you will move directly into your calf exercises and the pump in your calves will be incredible!

Here is an example of combining your hamstrings and calves with the flushing technique:

  • Romanian deadlifts (1 set of 10 reps)
  • Immediately followed by
  • Lying Hamstring Leg Curls (1 set of 20 reps)
  • Rest 30-60 seconds
  • Standing Calf Raises (1 set of 6 reps)
  • Immediately followed by
  • Seated Calf Raises using Leg Sled (1 set of 6 reps)

If your goal is to add mass to your calves, focus on doing lower reps in the range of 4-6 per set. The reason for this is because we use our calves everyday at high repetitions when walking, so your muscles will adapt very quickly if you do higher rep training when doing calf exercises since they are such a “high use” muscle group. By doing super low and heavy reps for each set, you will shock your calves and make them grow since they will be subjected to a totally new set of stimuli.

Remember that no matter how intense your workout is or what exercise technique you use, you are only as good as your diet. The food that you eat to fuel your body will make or break you in reaching your goal of building lean muscle mass and increasing strength. If you choose to eat junk food (fast food, processed food, soda, alcohol), you will not optimally prime your body for growth. Make sure to be smart in the kitchen and read our Nutrition 101 article for more information on eating a clean and nutrient dense diet.

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