Ever notice how you look your biggest and buffest during and immediately after your workout? Of course you do! You sneak a peak at yourself in the gym mirrors any chance you get.
When you're pumping iron, your blood vessels are pumping blood. As you work out, your muscles contract and apply pressure to these vessels. Think about gently squeezing a straw as liquid flows through it. This means your body is working harder to push blood and oxygen through these temporarily tightened "straws."
Towards the end of your workout, as your blood pressure slowly returns to normal, the vessels expand back to their normal size, and the backed-up blood and oxygen come flooding back through. This rapid flooding is what gives your muscle that extra "pop" and temporary pump — keyword being temporary.
But, let's say you have a hot date or a day at the beach planned for later. How do you make that pump last as long as possible?
According to a recent study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, you should do high reps with low weights during your workout. A practical application of this finding if you don't have time for a full workout is to do a quick push-up routine before you hit the shower.
Do as many push-ups as you can until your form starts to break down, then rest for 1 minute, and repeat. Try for 3-5 solid minutes, and you'll be pumped and ready to go!
Of course, a few hours later, she'll get to watch as your muscles shrivel up and shrink away, but we're going for first impressions here, right?