How does muscle congestion work?


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Are you an athlete or simply a bodybuilding enthusiast who wants to work on your muscles? To achieve muscle anabolism and gain muscle, it is essential to understand the mechanism of muscle congestion and to hypertrophy of the muscle. In other words, understanding how muscles are formed.

What is muscle congestion?

In bodybuilding, anabolism is the muscle-building stage. Thanks to weight training, as well as a sufficient supply of essential nutrients and amino acids. This is the goal to be reached when you enter the weight room.

During training, blood flows into the muscles, which swell and become voluminous: this is congestion. Muscle congestion is a natural phenomenon favoured by muscular exercises consisting of long sets, with short pauses, accompanied by lighter or lighter loads.

Why do bodybuilders seek congestion?

There's a very pleasant sensation associated with muscle congestion. But much more than this sensation, this phenomenon creates the right conditions for muscular anabolism.

A shirtless man, in full muscular congestion with visible veins, holds a dumbbell in his right hand.

During congestion, muscles receive the oxygen and nutrients they need from blood flow. Muscle development achieves hypertrophy, through the application of proper weight training exercises. When there is hypertrophy, there is muscle gain.

Muscular hypertrophy: muscle gain through appropriate training

There are two types of hypertrophy: sarcoplasmic and myofibrillar muscle hypertrophy. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy increases the volume of sarcoplasm contained in the muscle fibers. The type of training to obtain such hypertrophy does not work on strength and gains in muscle mass are not sustainable.

Myofibrillar hypertrophy, on the other hand, deploys muscle fibers. These muscle fibers are composed of myofibrils that contract during muscular effort. During myofibrillar hypertrophy, the number and density of myofibrils are increased by the stimulus of overload. The muscle then becomes more voluminous.

By adhering to a muscular program based on progressive overload and adequate muscle recovery, the body achieves consistent muscle gain and congestion more easily. However, congestion and muscle gain are not the same thing: the former will fade after a while, while muscle mass is stable, if training is regular and the program adequate.

Here are some intensification techniques for rapid congestion:

  • The superset This exercise consists in carrying out two consecutive exercises without time of pause by mobilizing two opposite or antagonistic muscles. For example, you can work the biceps and triceps, the pectoral and back muscles, or the abdominal and lumbar muscles. The superset is an intensive program, which can work both endurance, muscle mass and strength depending on the number of repetitions performed.
  • The degressive technique: the technique of degressive series consists in continuing a bodybuilding exercise after having touched the threshold of muscular failure, but by gradually decreasing the load. In this way, the strength training exercise continues, soliciting all the muscle fibres. The degressive series is recommended to develop muscles and endurance and to pass a milestone when you are stagnating.
  • Rest-Pause: This technique consists of performing a series of exercises with a heavy load, interspersed with short breaks of a few seconds. In this way, additional repetitions are gained without decreasing the weight, after reaching muscular failure. The rest-pause technique is not ideal for increasing strength but rather for increasing muscle mass and promoting muscle congestion.

How do I gain lean muscle?

We talk more about muscle gain than dry muscle. The aim is to gradually increase caloric intake in order to gain muscle mass, while minimizing fat mass gain. The result is more athletic muscles and clearer muscle definition.

This objective requires a rigorous diet: more calories and more proteins, carbohydrates and lipids according to the body's needs. If calorie intake is insufficient, the body will be unable to build muscle mass.

On the contrary, if calories are too high, fat mass will also increase. Knowing that it's impossible to gain dry muscle at 100%, it's advisable to eat slightly more than your caloric needs in order to balance muscle and fat gain.

Tips for a good workout and better congestion

Strength training is measured in the progression of performance and muscle growth. Strength and muscle size are the fruits of intensified training. To train well in the weight room, start your program with a proper warm-up and finish with stretching to avoid aches and pains.

Make sure you stay well hydrated during training and throughout the day: this helps the body maintain a good blood volume, which will facilitate congestion. Next, eat an appropriate sports diet, with sufficient carbohydrates, as glycogen, a source of energy, helps the body to have better endurance during training and boosts muscle congestion.

To ensure that your efforts produce lasting results in terms of muscle definition, optimize all your exercises by ensuring that the movements are correctly executed and that the progress of the workout respects all the stages: muscle contractions, long sets, short breaks and muscle recovery.


To develop your muscles effectively, a booster or pre-workout (containing arginine, beta alanine, creatine, etc.) helps the body to sustain its training performance. Muscle congestion is facilitated by nitric oxide.

Under the effect of nitric oxide, blood vessels dilate to better convey nutrients to muscle cells. The substance then stimulates muscles to rapidly assimilate proteins. Thanks to creatine's action, muscles gain in strength and muscle volume, and recover better.

This stimulator (dietary supplement) is particularly popular in weight rooms, as it also ensures good muscle recovery after exercise. For more info on the Big Shot click here

How do beginners train?

In beginners, whose muscles are not yet well defined, there may be an absence of congestion. In fact, the larger the muscles, the more congested they become. After a few training sessions in the gym, the first sensations will come gradually.

However, there are other factors to take into account if you plan to train intensively. Pay particular attention to your diet, to avoid any deficiencies in the nutrients essential for building muscle. Sports nutrition rich in essential amino acids and a pre-workout provide the energy you need during an intense training session.

Finally, to maximise muscle mass gain, be sure to adopt a proper weight training program. And lastly, consider the importance of recovery.

Here is a test video in which I explain muscle congestion.

How to gain arms quickly? Get congested biceps and triceps in 30 minutes with supersets. Here is my arm training program with my training techniques to increase muscle volume quickly thanks to muscle congestion.

My best triceps and biceps superset exercises for big arms and good congestion. Details of my bodybuilding workout:

  • First exercise in superset : (both exercises are performed without recovery time). Standing curl with the straight bar for the biceps Tight bench press with the guided bar for the triceps. Four sets of 12 to 15 repetitions are performed for each exercise with 1 minute of rest between each set (1 set = 1 superset). The last series being carried out in series of 21 (7 partial low + 7 partial high + 7 complete)
  • Second superset exercise: Seated dumbbell curl (12 reps) Triceps rope extension (15 reps) 1 minute rest between each superset.
  • Third superset exercise: Low pulley one arm curl with elbow resting on an inclined bench (15 reps) High pulley one arm extension (15 reps) 1 min rest between each superset.
  • Last superset: Standing low pulley curl (10 + 10 + 10 reps in dropset) Tight push-ups or diamond push-ups (max reps + kneeling push-ups)

Do you want a complete bodybuilding program to follow?


Congestion helps to gain muscle mass thanks to improved performance and recovery due to a better supply of nutrients to the muscles. However, it is important to remember that all the training parameters must be met for optimal mass gain, i.e. intensity, volume and sufficient loads.

Other articles to read :

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