Preparations for Pumping

At the moment, perhaps the most difficult issue in the field of sports nutrition and pharmacology is the choice of an effective product for pumping.

The most popular category of supplements are nitrogen donators, with arginine leading the way. However, in recent years, a lot of data has appeared that disprove the effectiveness of arginine and similar supplements (norvaline), so in this article we will consider in detail the pharmacological means, which have a sufficient evidence base.

Mechanism of Action

The action of all pamping agents is aimed at the vessels of the skeletal muscles. They expand, which in turn leads to increased blood flow, improved transport of nutrients and oxygen to the muscles, and there is a noticeable rapid increase in muscle strength – “pharmacological pumping”.

Nitrogen Donators

You can find basic information on these supplements in the articles: arginine and nitrogen donators. Efficacy is low to moderate for complex supplements.

Additionally, inorganic nitrates should be mentioned. They have been shown to actually increase nitric oxide levels in the blood and cause vasodilation. Inorganic nitrates (potassium nitrate) are present in fairly large amounts in some vegetables, especially beets. For example, the supplement NO-Bomb (MHP) has beet extract in its composition. However, based on the reviews and practice of use, we can conclude that the effectiveness of the supplement is low. Obviously, this may be due to the low nitrate content.

There are reports that some athletes successfully use potassium nitrate (plant fertilizer).

Some of the most effective nitrogen donors are a class of pharmacological drugs called nitrates. They include short-acting (nitroglycerin) and long-acting (nitrosorbide) agents. However, their use is complicated by the fact that they act mainly on large veins, whereas small vessels dilate only slightly. This means that a sufficient dose will cause a drop in blood pressure, a decrease in performance, headache, and a number of other side effects.

Viagra in bodybuilding

Viagra (the active ingredient is sildenafil citrate) is a popular remedy for improving erectile function in men, but recently this drug has found wider application both in medicine and in bodybuilding.

Many people think that Viagra is just another nitrogen donor, but it is not. It does not affect NO (nitric oxide) levels, but it does dilate the blood vessels in the muscles. Whereas true nitric oxide donors increase NO levels, which increases the concentration of cellular cGMP, resulting in a cascade of reactions that ultimately leads to a relaxation of the vascular wall. Viagra blocks the enzyme phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5), which breaks down cGMP, so its concentration also begins to increase, and the same end result is obtained.

There are a number of advantages that make the use of Viagra in bodybuilding the most promising. The drug slightly reduces blood pressure levels, has a positive effect on the heart, effectively improves blood flow in the muscles and causes a minimum of side effects. At the same time, it is discouraged by the very high cost, but there are cheaper generics (“dynamiko”, “tornetis”, “sindelfil” proper and others).

Some people mistakenly believe that taking Viagra causes a permanent erection, but this is not true. In the absence of sexual arousal (stimulation), an erection usually never occurs.

Reception regimen

  • Carefully study the instructions in order to avoid all contraindications.
  • A good dosage in bodybuilding is considered to be 25 mg at a time.
  • The best time to take it is before and after training. You can avoid taking it on days of rest first of all for economic reasons (the benefit is significantly lower on days of rest), and secondly, in order to avoid developing a tolerance to the drug.
  • The course duration is 3 to 4 weeks if taken daily or 4 to 6 weeks if used only on training days.

There are a number of much cheaper generics of Viagra that contain exactly the same active ingredient – sildenafil. One such option is Dynamico (Russia) or Potenciale (Ukraine), the cost of which is several times lower.


The international name of the drug is tadalafil and it is an analogue of sildenafil. Reception mode is actually the same, the only difference is that the single dose is 5-10 mg, and it is taken once a day, which means that it has a much longer period of action – up to 36 hours, whereas Viagra acts for 4-5 hours. Provided that you can find Sialis at a price of 80 p for 1 tablet, the monthly course will cost about 2,400 p. At the moment, there is information that Sialis for daily use is coming on the market, which will provide athletes with a 24-hour effect. Recall that the presence of the drug in the body does not lead to a stable lasting erection – an erection appears in response to sexual stimulation and passes after ejaculation (restoration of natural erectile function).


This is another quality “long” analogue of Viagra from the German company Bayer Schering Pharma. The international name of this prolonged analogue is vardanafil. The action of the drug resembles Cialis, but it is shorter in duration of action – up to 12 hours. Dosages are identical to those of Cialis – from 5 to 20 mg, for systemic use in bodybuilding – up to 10 mg. It is believed that Levitra proves in many cases more effective in terms of erectile dysfunction than sialis or sildenafil, due to the higher selectivity of action on the penile vessels. Also works in response to sexual stimulus, suitable for daily use.Has fewer side “nitrate-like” complications: facial redness, palpitations, critical blood pressure drop.

Pentoxifylline in bodybuilding

Another drug that improves blood flow to peripheral tissues, including muscle tissues, but has little effect on blood pressure levels. Its low cost makes it one of the best drugs in bodybuilding for pumping. Often found under the brand name Trental, Agapurin.

The mechanism of action is similar to Viagra, that is, pentoxifylline causes vasodilation by inhibiting phosphodiesterase. The only difference is that if in the previous case the advantage was enjoyed by the vessels of the genitals, pentoxifylline does not act selectively, but it does not have a negative effect on muscle blood flow.

Pentoxifylline has a pronounced effect, which is felt already in 20-40 minutes after intake. Almost 90% of reviews report a powerful pamping, which lasts for several hours.

The drug sometimes causes the following side effects:

  • Nervous system disorders: headache, dizziness; anxiety, sleep disturbances; seizures; aseptic meningitis (rare).
  • Skin and subcutaneous fat: facial skin hyperemia, blood rush to the skin of the face and upper chest, edema, increased nail fragility.
  • Digestive system: dry mouth, decreased appetite, bowel atony, nausea, vomiting, exacerbation of cholecystitis, cholestatic hepatitis.
  • Sensory organs: visual impairment, scotoma.
  • Cardiovascular system: tachycardia, arrhythmia, cardialgia, angina progression, decreased blood pressure.
  • Blood and hemostatic system: thrombocytopenia, leukopenia, pancytopenia, hypofibrinogenemia; bleeding (including from mucous membranes of the stomach and intestine.
  • Allergic reactions: skin itching, skin hyperemia, urticaria, angioedema, anaphylactic shock.

Reception mode

  • It is necessary to carefully study the instructions to exclude contraindications
  • In bodybuilding, a single dosage of pentoxifylline is approximately 300-400 mg (4 tablets of 100 mg).
  • The best time to take it is before and after training. On rest days, the drug can be taken 2 times a day: in the morning and in the afternoon.
  • If side effects occur, reduce the dosage or stop taking
  • Course duration 3-4 weeks


Actovegin received publicity mainly due to an article by Yuri Bombela titled “Pharma before and after training. The author writes:

“In order to better fill muscles with blood during training, sports nutrition manufacturers recommend taking the amino acid arginine (more recently, the supplement “NO”, which is essentially the same arginine) before training. But it’s better to solve the problem of blood pressure with pharmacological methods. More precisely, it is more reliable. In order to solve this problem, you should use such medicines as actovegin or pentoxifylline. The first is more effective, the second is cheaper.”

On the whole the article cannot be called good, if only for the recommendation to use insulin before training, or dexamethasone, which destroys muscles. These are very serious errors, but let’s not digress from the main topic. Bombela also points out that actovegin is “more effective.” This is completely untrue. This drug has not passed any authoritative studies and is not recognized at all in the West. Actovegin is a deproteinized calf blood product and is proposed for the treatment of brain diseases.

Theoretically, the drug can slightly dilate blood vessels, but it cannot be called effective. However, it is worth paying attention to the pharmacological action of Actovegin. Actovegin activates cellular metabolism (metabolism) by increasing the transport and accumulation of glucose and oxygen, increasing their intracellular utilization. These processes lead to acceleration of ATP (adenosine triphosphoric acid) metabolism and increase of the cell energy resources. Under conditions limiting normal functions of energy metabolism (hypoxia /insufficient supply of tissue with oxygen or violation of its assimilation/, lack of substrate) and increased energy consumption (healing, regeneration / tissue repair/), actovegin stimulates energy processes of functional metabolism (metabolic process in the body) and anabolism (process of assimilation of substances by the body). A secondary effect is an increase in blood supply.

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