For bodybuilders, maximising muscular pump is one of the most sought after affects of a good weight training session. Arguably made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger in that legendary scene in Pumping Iron, we all love that pumped up feeling. However, there is more to a good pump than just that feel good factor of seeing instant results, Arnold knew it, but it also provides an important physical stimulus to spur on muscle growth. Muscle cell swelling stretches the muscle membrane and instigates processes that lead to long-term growth.
There are an untold number of products on the market designed to boost muscular pump, mostly containing the same ingredients, some that you would of no doubt heard of and a few that you may not of. Ingredients such as l-arginine, citrulline malate, agmatine and potassium nitrates are frequently used for their ability to boost nitric oxide (NO) production and the vasodilation of blood vessels. However, glycerol, more specifically Hydromax glycerol, seems to be the new kid on the block and is gaining popularity. More and more products are adding Hydromax glycerol to their formulas, but what exactly is it?
Glycerol is the backbone of fats known as triglycerides, the primary form of fat in your diet. However, we need not be concerned by this as glycerol form the part of the triglycerides that are not stored as fat, but are instead broken down and converted to glucose by the liver to be used as fuel. Supplementing with glycerol has been used by longer distance runners for years, for one main and powerful reason, it hyperhydrates. Glycerol increases osmotic pressure within cells to draw water in, boosting the total water volume of cells. This greatly reduces the risk of dehydration which could have significant negative effects on performance. Recent studies have shown that consuming 2.9 to 3.1g/kg of bodyweight of glycerol decreases fluid consumption prior to and during physical exercise, when compared to water alone, keeping athletes hydrated for longer.
It is this ability to hyperhydrate cells that is also attractive to bodybuilders for slightly different reasons. Muscle pumps occur when fluid builds up in muscle cells, making them stretch to accommodate this increased volume, therefore making them appear larger and fuller. Glycerol is hygroscopic, meaning it attracts and holds water molecules in the surrounding environment. Having extra glycerol inside you muscle cells and blood vessels will help to massively boost muscle pumps during training. One study found that glycerol increases the body’s volume of body fluids by 300 to 730ml. However, as stated above the average bodybuilder would require a significant quantity of glycerol, upwards of 30g at least, to achieve the desired effect. This is where Hydromax glycerol comes in. Hydromax is a patented form of glycerol that boasts an impressive 65% glycerol content, whereas the standard form of glycerol monstearate is only 5-12%. This is why supplement companies have very quickly utilized Hydromax as their preferred source of glycerol as you only need a much smaller dosage to obtain the required effect.
With Hydromax a dosage of between 5-10g is more than adequate to elicit notable effects, with most products providing upwards of around 2g per serving. It can easily be combined, and often is, with other pump inducing ingredients such as l-arginine, citrulline malate, agmatine and potassium nitrates to give you the best possible pump. There are numerous products that contain Hydromax Glycerol as each the principle ingredient or as an addition to many others. Purus Labs’ Noxygen (see our review here) and Controlled Labs’ GlycerGrow focus their formulas on Hydromax or a similar high concentration glycerol. Other products such as Iforce’s HemaVo2 Max, PES High Volume, AllMax’s Hemanvol and USN’s Amino Stim are just a few of the products CSN stock utilizing Hydromax’s powerful effects. These are some of the most potent pump enhancing formulas on the market, with particular recognition being given to Purus Lab’s Noxygen, easily one of the most incredible pump experiences we here at CSN have ever experienced.
BSc Sports Biomedicine and Nutrition