It’s Not How Much You Lift, It’s The Execution


Rich Piana was not a guy who believed in lifting heavy weights. Oh sure, he lifted heavy in his early years and built his foundation that way. Yet in his later years, he felt training for the pump was the way to go. That meant moderate weights, higher reps, perfect form, and quality rep performance. If you’re like Rich, well, it’s not how much you lift, it’s the execution of your exercises.

The Pump vs. Heavy Weight

It’s true that new lifters should work on building strength on the basic exercises - once they have the form down. But, once you’ve laid a strength foundation, there’s not really a good reason to keep going for heavy weights. Progression is key, but once you’ve reached a strength ceiling, you need to go about it differently. Rich believed in quality execution and getting a great pump. 

Rep Performance - Mindless Lifting vs. Quality of Execution

We’ve all seen it. The guy (or gal) that just pounds out rep after easy rep and then they just stop at a predetermined rep number. They never actually did a difficult rep, they’re just going through the motions. Or, there are those lifters that knock out rep after sloppy rep, again never really working the target muscle. The connection is that when the reps begin to get difficult; they stop. They could have easily done another 6 or 8 reps, but it’s hard, so they don’t even try. 

First of all, you have to push past the pain and make every rep count. Otherwise, why bother? Otherwise, you can get your reps in at home lifting the TV remote - you aren’t working either way. Once you understand that, the key is, as Rich said, execution. Rich’s reps were continuous. His exercise form was spot on. When the reps got hard, he kept going. He’d go up and down like a piston, under perfect control, and squeeze at the top. None of this sloppy, pretzel-twisting form, or using momentum to lift the weight. He’d push it until his muscles ached, burned, and his pump was mind-numbing. 

The Sarcoplasmic Theory

Training for the pump ties into a popular theory of muscle growth. Let’s take a look.

Hypertrophy – This is the process of increasing muscle cell size (muscle growth) through resistance training.(1)

There are basically 2 theories of muscle growth:

Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy – Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is an increase in the muscle cell’s sarcoplasmic fluid without an increase in strength. Typical terms that refer to this are “cell expansion” and “cell volumization". The sarcoplasmic muscle growth theory actually means causing the sarcoplasm to swell beyond normal. The muscle is then signaled to grow because of all the nutrients available to help cause this effect. This is training for the “pump”. There are a number of supplements that target this process, and of course 5% Nutrition has some of the best.(1)

Myofibrillar Hypertrophy - Myofibrillar hypertrophy is a cellular increase in the contractile proteins actin and myosin which leads to size and strength increases.(1)

5% Nutrition - Of Course We Have Killer Pump Boosters!

As noted, 5% Nutrition has some exceptional supplements designed to maximize the pump. The ones that come to mind first are Full As F*ck and Kill It RTD. Both of these products target increased nitric oxide production and enhanced cell volume, or water-based pumps. 

Full As F*ck

This legendary formula is a combination of nitric oxide boosters and cell volumizers. It features citrulline, taurine, GlycerSize™, and nitrosigine®, among other powerful ingredients. Use it by itself or stack it with any stim-based 5% pre-workout and experience outrageous pumps!

Kill It RTD

Here’s our newest pre-workout and man, it would make Rich proud! With an outstanding 10g glycerine (glycerol), a huge 400 mg caffeine, plus citrulline and nitrosigine®, to name a few, this is a pre-workout that you absolutely must try! Glycerol is the standout ingredient, it will not only promote pumps like you’ve never seen, but it will also dramatically improve your endurance. That means more reps! A key to getting the most out of this product is to drink lots of water. After all, Kill It RTD (and Full As F*ck) contain osmolytes, and they work better when you’re fully hydrated. That means drinking water!

5% Pre-Workouts

All of our pre-workouts contain nitric oxide boosters and cell volumizers. Use the Pre of your choice, and stack it with Full As f*ck for an amazing pump experience.


As we have seen, Rich was a big believer in the pump. Not just for looks, but because he believed it promoted muscle growth. As noted, his routine targeted the pump, and it did so with moderate weight, higher reps, and quality rep performance. Specifically, continuous up and down, under control reps until he couldn’t continue. Try that approach yourself, add Full As F*ck and/or Kill It RTD, and you’ll discover, it’s not how much you lift, it’s the execution!


  1. Hypertrophy for Your Client's Strength Goals | ISSA (
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