In the words of Family Guy’s Stewie Griffin ‘women love a vascular man’.
Now, we know that that is, of course, subjective, and we also know that it’s not just some women that appreciate vascularity, but you get what Stewie was trying to say.
That’s why today, we’re getting all veiny, as we look at how to get more vascular.
For many people, the perfect physique is muscular, powerful, and ripped to shreds.
Having visible abs, cuts, and shreds with skin so thin it resembles that of onion is the desired look for many an aspiring bodybuilder.
In terms of the perfect shredded physique, however, we missed off one vitally important component.
What, you may ask?
Vascularity can be the finishing touch to any physique.
Vascularity can take a lean physique and turn it into a ripped and shredded physique, yet it is something that evades many of us.
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If you’re looking for tips on getting more vascular you’ve come to the right place.
Below we’re going to be sharing a series of tips with you based on doing precisely that.
So, without any further ado, here’s a look at several tips on how to get more vascular.
First and foremost, one of the best things you can do when trying to increase your vascularity is to increase your muscle mass.
Now, we all know that building muscle is easier said than done, but if you are committed to your training and if you lift weights and watch your diet in the process, your muscle mass will increase.
Have you ever wondered why heavily muscled individuals tend to have impressive rates of vascularity?
Well, it’s because larger sized muscles require larger amounts of blood flow, along with an increased amount of oxygen and nutrients.
This increased demand for oxygenated blood and nutrients means that your circulation improves and your blood vessels dilate to allow for the increased blood flow.
This causes them to look bigger and as they are fuller with more blood flowing through them it means that your vascularity increases drastically.
BFR training stands for Blood Flow Resistance training, and if you’re looking for insane muscle pumps and increased amounts of vascularity, boy are you in for a treat.
You see, blood flow resistance training helps to do exactly that.
BFR is a relatively new concept, yet personal trainers and bodybuilders all over the globe are now encouraging it as part of their training routines and programs.
It works by having the lifter wear special cuffs on the arms or legs which are inflated to the correct pressure to restrict blood flow to the muscles.
This restriction in blood flow encourages insane muscle pumps and levels of vascularity.
The science behind BFR is that it restricts blood flow to the muscles during a working set, helping to eliminate lactic acid build-ups.
After the cuffs are removed, oxygenated blood then rushes to the muscles, via the blood vessels, which the muscle cells then use for energy.
As you know, muscle pumps are caused when the muscles become flooded with blood, and BFR training promotes this like never before.
This, combined with the increase in circulation, means that in terms of increasing vascularity, BFR training is one of the most effective training concepts in existence.
When lifting weights, most bodybuilders will generally aim for the standard 8 – 12 reps per set.
Some that are training heavy, either for mass or strength, may go lower and aim for 4 – 6 reps perhaps?
Whereas both of these rep ranges are beneficial, so too are high rep ranges, especially if you want to become more vascular.
High rep ranges, of say, between 15 and 20 reps, are also beneficial for a number of reasons.
One of those reasons is vascularity.
Select a weight that tests you, but not overly so until you reach more than 10 reps.
The first few reps will feel easy, and you might think that you’ve gone too light.
By the time you reach 15 reps or so, though, your muscles will feel as if they’re on fire.
Higher rep ranges will result in what is known as metabolic stress.
This sounds negative, but in fact, it’s a good thing.
Metabolic stress promotes an increase in the production of Nitric Oxide in the body.
NO promotes a chemical response in the body which results in the blood vessels dilating and expanding.
Nitric Oxide is, therefore, a vasodilator that increases the size of your blood vessels.
This allows for more oxygen and nutrients to be pumped through the blood vessels and transported to the muscles.
The end result is blood vessels and veins that look more like miniature hosepipes.
We all know what Arnold Schwarzenegger had to say about getting a pump in Pumping Iron.
If you don’t, go ahead and look it up, you won’t regret it!
A muscle pump offers no enormous benefit when it comes to long term fitness or physique goals.
A muscle pump basically causes your muscles to become tight and to increase in size because they’re engorged with oxygenated blood.
A pump does not last long, but boy, does it look and feel great when you have it.
Muscle pumps can add inches to your muscles and can make you look fuller and bigger than you actually are.
They’re great motivational tools for training, and if you’re snapping a gym selfie, it is best to snap one when you’re pumped.
It is recommended that you workout for the pump.
Because your muscles are flooded with blood, this blood obviously has to come from somewhere, and the end result is pumped up veins that give you a lean and defined look.
Over time, this does result in increased cell volumes and metabolite accumulations, which can lead to long-term muscle growth.
The best way to get a pump is to cut back on rest times, lighten the weights you’re using slightly, increase rep ranges, and step up the intensity.
When it comes to getting vascular, all of the tips that we have listed so far are useless if your body fat percentage isn’t low enough.
It sounds harsh, but we don’t want to waste anybody’s time here and we need to be straight and to the point.
In order for your veins to become visible, just like with your abs, you need to make sure that your body fat percentage is low enough.
Now, there is no exact magic number in terms of what to aim for, but the lower the better.
Generally, for abs, you need to be below 13% before your abs become visible.
With veins, these numbers can vary from person to person.
Most find that vascularity kicks in at around anything below 20%, especially in the biceps.
In fact, some individuals with higher body fat percentages can still enjoy vascular biceps, depending on how big their muscles are and how much fat they carry on their arms.
Generally speaking, though, the leaner you are the more vascular you will look.
Some prime bodybuilders who competed on stage ripped to the bone and leaner than ever before with body fat percentages of around 3% still had fairly low levels of vascularity.
Jay Cuter for example, who is a 4-time Mr. Olympia winner was never overly vascular, especially when compared with Ronnie Coleman, who had veins like snakes.
This wasn’t Jay’s fault, it was simply due to genetics not being on his side when it came to vascularity, and he certainly did okay.
Genetically, some bodybuilders are more vascular than others.
Don’t believe us, just Google Frank McGrath formerly of Animal, and you’ll see what we mean.
Seriously, do it, because his vascularity is still freaky and out of this world.
Basically, when it comes down to being more vascular, please do not become disgruntled if your veins aren’t as prominent as others, despite you being leaner and more defined.
We can only make do with what we’ve got after all.
Recently, more and more athletes and bodybuilders have started supplementing with beetroot powder, as well as eating and drinking beetroot.
Well, it’s tasty and good for you for one, but from an athletic standpoint, the main benefits of beetroot are the fact that it’s full of nitrates.
Nitrates then promote an increase in the production of Nitric Oxide in the body.
Like we looked at earlier, Nitric Oxide is a powerful vasodilator that causes the blood vessels to dilate and expand.
Athletically, this allows more oxygen and nutrients to be transported to the cells in the muscles which gives them more energy and means that the muscles can work more efficiently.
Spinach, kale, and lettuce are also great sources of nitrates, so be sure to get plenty of those as well, as they’re full of vitamins and minerals.
Even if you don’t compete as a bodybuilder, you still probably bust out a cheeky double biceps pose in the mirror of the gym when nobody’s watching.
It turns out that posing is beneficial not only for snapping an epic gym selfie or impressing bodybuilding judges but also for improving your vascularity.
When you pose you are flexing and contracting your muscles.
Basically, you are mimicking the effects of lifting weights.
Each time you flex and squeeze your muscles, they contract just as they would when you perform a rep.
Flexing and posing will force blood into the muscles, which again will cause your blood vessels to expand and increase in size, leaving you looking lean and vascular.
Sticking with the theme of getting lean for visible veins, in terms of increasing vascularity, your diet is incredibly important.
No matter how hard you train, or how many nitrates you consume, if your body fat percentages are too high, your veins will remain hidden under a layer of body fat.
To lose weight, as well as exercising, you also need to create a caloric deficit and clean up your diet.
Cut way back on junk food, monitor your caloric intake, and be sure to consume plenty of nutritionally dense foods low in fat and calories and high in energy and nutrients.
We recommend you to follow an anabolic diet for better results.
As well as lifting weights to increase blood flow and get a pump, another very useful form of exercise when it comes to getting vascular is cardio.
Cardiovascular exercise is essential for losing body fat, and we all know how important that is for staying lean.
Some of the cardio exercises that should be done on a cardio day are, jumping rope, burpees, sprinting and jogging, jumping jacks.
Cardio promotes a caloric deficit, it helps to burn off subcutaneous fat, it increases blood flow and circulation so your blood vessels and veins look bigger and fuller, plus it’s great for all-around health and well-being.
Aim for at least 3 cardio sessions per week, especially as a circuit training form.
If you’re already lean enough to see veins but aren’t quite seeing them like you may have hoped, supplements could prove useful.
There are cell volumizing supplements, supps that boost blood flow, such as the legal steroids, supps that dilate the blood vessels, Nitric Oxide supplements, and plenty more besides.
If you are satisfied that you are lean enough and active enough to see veins, but so far they’re eluding you, investing in the right supplements could prove to be very beneficial.
Looking for the ultimate gym selfie where you look muscular, vascular, and pumped, be sure to snap your gym selfie for Instagram at the end of your session when your pump is at its most prominent.
And that is pretty much that when it comes to how to get more vascular.
Vascularity is hard to achieve, but once you have it, boy does it make a difference to the look and overall aesthetics of your physique.
Try the tips listed above and you’ll be more shredded and more vascular than ever before!
Reda is an ACE Certified Nutritionist, Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt and bodybuilder with 11 years of experience. He's been published on many influential websites such as lifehack.org, Wealthy Gorilla, Good Men Project and more.