The best ripped arms, legs and torsos do not just display mass and definition, they also show off nice, long veins. Yes, getting ripped not only means getting the muscles, it is also about good vascularity. Not everyone gets it, but bodybuilders and lifters do.
Veins that pop out to announce their presence on the arms and shoulders are always a source of pride, the glitter on a nice, shiny trophy, the icing on a protein-rich cake.
So what does it take to get that wonderful vascularity? For lifters and bodybuilders who want to learn how to get veins, read on.
Are You Vascular Enough?
One of the key factors that lead to great vascularity is of course, genetics. By nature, some people are just more vascular compared to others, which explains why two guys of the same build, the same routine and the same muscle mass may not show the same size and number of veins. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that anyone can get those veins – of course, with some extra effort and some wise decisions here and there. Bodybuilding may be an art form but it is (and should be) backed by science. In this case, science is your friend. You just need to know what to do, why and how, and to do it repeatedly and correctly to achieve your goals.
Factors That Get You Those Veins
Other than genetics, there are three important factors that increase your vascularity. If you want to know how to get veins, you have to understand how these factors affect you and your workout, and how you can use them to your advantage. These factors are:
1. Body Fat
2. Subcutaneous Water
First, let’s discuss body fat percentage. Fat is like the body’s insulating material. It shields the musculoskeletal system to protect it from impact, harmful elements and invading microorganisms. It is also needed to aid in the absorption of certain vitamins.
While fat does have a good side, it will not help you get the veins you want because it acts as cushioning, hence minimizing and even covering the appearance of whatever veins you may already be developing.
The type of veins that appear on the arms and shoulders are superficial veins (the veins highlighted blue in the image above). They are the ones that lie closest to the surface of the skin. If there is too much fat on your body, these veins simply cannot pop out. To achieve good vascularity, lose the fat and get lean. When the layer of fat is reduced, veins will appear more visible on the surface. Try to get your body fat to at least 10% (ideally, it should be about 5% for guys and about 15% for the ladies). Do this and you are guaranteed to see results.
The second factor is subcutaneous water, essentially the water you hold within the body. Water retention is fairly common. After all, the body is 75% water and over 90% of the cells are made up of water. However, water also prevents veins from appearing because like fat, it makes the skin appear plump. That bloated look you have if you retain too much water? That’s the result of too much fluids in the system.
To fix this, try to look at your diet and identify the types of foods that stimulate your body to retain water. Sodium, for example, is a common culprit and is notorious for causing excessive retention of water in the body, leading to that unattractive, puffy look. Cut down your sodium intake so you do not retain as much water. The daily recommended intake for sodium among adults is 1,500mg to 2,300mg, so try to keep your number within this range.
Keep away from salty chips, sauces and dips, and hold the table salt, a teaspoon of which can sneak in as much as 2,300mg of sodium into your body. Try to use a good substitute for salt, or cook with an alternative such as garlic powder, lemon or lime juice.
Do not, however, completely remove salt from your diet. Sodium performs an important role in the body by maintaining a balance of the fluids within the cells. In short, it helps retain the water that keeps the cells hydrated and healthy. The key is to take it in moderation.
The third factor that will help you in your goal on how to get veins is vasodilation. Essentially, the type of veins you can show off will depend on how big your blood vessels are. If you are blessed by nature, you should not have any problems working out the moves that will showcase your natural vascularity. If you are not, you simply have to work harder at it, and here is where good exercise will work its magic.
Each time you get your body to exert effort, such as during exercises and weight lifting, your heart pumps more oxygen-rich blood through the arteries. This extra supply enlarges the blood vessels. Although this action is temporary, it does have its advantages.
With regular exercise, blood vessels expand and remain enlarged even before and after a workout. Furthermore, an intense and highly focused exercise regimen can even encourage new blood vessels to grow. If you are already doing high-intensity exercises and have a good weight lifting routine going, then you can expect excellent results over the long term.
Reaping the Benefits
You cannot realistically expect to see results overnight but you should be glad to know that knowing exactly what you are doing and why will help you get the vascularity you have always wanted.
Eat healthy, train hard and focus on what works. Do not be the first to sabotage your hard work. The more you understand how your body reacts to a specific type of stimulus, the better you will be at harnessing its power.