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Learn How to Become Vascular: Tips & Tricks to Get Shredded

Oct 12, 2018

So you want to learn how to become vascular, do you?

Becoming vascular requires a lot more work than just pumping iron and gritting your teeth through all those punishing reps.

If you want to see a road map of veins bulging out from your shredded body, emphasizing all those straining muscle striations, then read on to learn how to become vascular.

Genetics certainly play a huge role in how your veins show, as well as body fat percentage, muscle mass and the amount of water weight you have on your body.

Of all of these factors, body fat percentage is the most important.

Some people are born more naturally vascular and will have more veins visible than others.

So, to achieve vascularity, you will have to ask yourself:

  1. What is my percentage of body fat?
  2. Are my blood vessels big and dilated?
  3. How big are my muscles?
  4. How much water am I retaining under my skin?

Learn How to Become Vascular - Vascular bodybuilder

The leaner you are, the more dilated your veins are, the more muscle you have, and the less water retained in your body–the more vascular you will appear.

The veins that you want to emphasize are superficial veins that are close to the surface of the body.

Of course, we all have veins but the main reason why someone else’s might be more prominent is that there is much less fat between their veins and the surface of their skin.

Related: How to Get More Vascular in 4 (Mostly) Easy Steps

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Learn to Become Vascular — The Keys to Success

Reduce Body Fat to a Single Digit

Learn How to Become Vascular - Body fat percentages

Veins are like six pack abs – everyone has them but they won’t be visible if you have a layer of fat covering them.

Once you reach 10% body fat or below vascularity will become more obvious.

If you were to do a lot of high-rep, “pump” training then these guidelines will give you a general idea of what you can expect in terms of body fat and vascularity:

  • 15%+ Body Fat

Very little vascularity visible, if any, even with a pump.

  • ~12% Body Fat

Some arm vascularity may start to appear but usually requires a pump.

Cephalic vein (runs from the shoulder, down the bicep to the forearm where it splits off) may show through, too.

Learn How to Become Vascular - Arm vascularity

  • ~10% Body Fat

Clear arm vascularity with a pump and, depending on your genetics, this might be possible without a pump as well. Some shoulder and leg vascularity can start to show now as well.

  • ~8% Body Fat

Arm, shoulder, and leg vascularity can be seen with and without a pump.

Ab vascularity begins to show around this level of leanness too.

  • Below 8%

Vascularity everywhere becomes increasingly more pronounced.

Related: Treadmill vs Elliptical: Getting the Most Out of Your Cardio


How Blood Vessel Size and Vasodilation Affects Vascularity


The size of your blood vessels is also a huge factor in how vascular you look because the larger they are, the more likely they will be visible.

There are two factors here:

  1. The size of the vessels when “pumped.”
  2. The size of the vessels when they are relaxed.

When your veins are pumped up, you’re experiencing vasodilation–the e x p a n s i o n of your blood vessels.

When you exercise, your heart has to pump harder to deliver oxygen throughout your body, and this increases the blood pressure travelling from your heart.

Certain supplements have similar effects as well, like theanine and citrulline.

Eventually, constant vasodilation can cause blood vessels to remain dilated even in a resting state, and intense exercise can even cause new blood vessels to grow.

This is why people who exercise on a regular basis are often more vascular than those who are less active.

While exercise causes the more permanent type of vasodilation that we are looking for, eating carbs and sodium can also temporarily increase the size and visibility of your veins.

If you eat a salty, high-carb meal, you’ll notice that within 30 minutes or so, you’ll have a pump.


Balance Your Salt and Potassium Intake

Learn How to Become Vascular - SaltSodium is easily absorbed into the cells and brings water in with it.

So when you eat a large amount of sodium, cells will temporarily retain water until balance can be restored to cellular fluid levels.

This is why restricting your sodium intake decreases water retention.

Potassium plays an important role in restoring this cellular fluid balance.

While sodium sucks water into cells, potassium pumps it back out.

Research has shown that restricting the intake of potassium will increase fluid retention.

If minimizing water retention is your goal, then you need to keep an eye on the amount of sodium and potassium you take in.

The Institute of Medicine recommends 1,500 mg to an upper limit of 2,300 mg sodium per day and 4,700 mg of potassium per day.

A teaspoon of salt has 2,300 mg of sodium, so it’s no surprise that the average American takes in over 3,400 mg per day.


Vascularity and Carbohydrates

Learn How to Become Vascular - Bodybuilders' levels of vascularity

Because water binds to carbohydrates as well, the more carbohydrates in your diet the ‘puffier’ you will look. Limit the sodium and carbohydrates in your diet and your level of water retention will decrease.

However, carbohydrates are necessary for maximum vascularity.

Confused? Having a high-carb diet will make it hard for you to lose fat when exercising, and fat will cover up those veins you’re hoping to make stand out.

Learn How to Become Vascular - Carbs

A popular and effective way to obtain vascularity is to maintain a low-carb diet and have a high-carb day before you want to be at your most vascular.

This pulls water into the muscles and makes them look fuller and makes your veins stand out more.


How Muscle Size Affects Your Vascularity

Learn How to Become Vascular - Dark Iron Fitness Weightlifting Belt

If you have bigger muscles you’re going to be more vascular.

Your veins run on and around your muscles.

Larger muscles will push these veins closer to the surface of the skin, where they will be more visible.

This is one of the reasons that people become naturally more vascular the longer they lift heavy weights.

When you are lifting heavy protect your back with Dark Iron Fitness’ number one rated weightlifting belt.

I know you want to learn how to become vascular, but also learn how to protect yourself while lifting!

Watch Below: How to Get Vascular Arms

Related: How to Get Insanely Strong


How Water Retention Affects Vascularity

Learn How to Become Vascular - Water RetentionSo if your goal is to learn how to become vascular and maximize vascularity, you will need to minimize water retention.

The layer between your muscles and your skin holds not only fat but also water, this is known as water retention.

The less water you’re holding under your skin the more pronounced your vascularity will be.

One of the main factors that contribute to extreme vascularity is being “dry.”

When your muscles retain water they may look fuller but won’t be as vascular.


Learn How to Become Vascular: Lower Your Cortisol Levels

Learn How to Become Vascular - Lower Cortisol LevelsCortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenals in response to stress and low blood sugar levels.

Almost every cell has receptors for cortisol and its effects are extensive.

This can include affecting blood sugarfluid retention levels, your metabolism, the central nervous system, and more.

Under normal conditions, cortisol doesn’t cause water retention problems.

But it can when it’s abnormally high.


Learn How to Become Vascular: Drink Enough Water

Learn How to Become Vascular - Drink Water DailyIf you don’t give your body enough fluids it will make certain adaptations to increase water retention.

You can stop this from happening by simply drinking enough water every day.

The Institute of Medicine recommends drinking between 3/4 and 1 gallon of water per day for adult men and women.

You want to replace all the water you lose while sweating, which can range anywhere from 3/4 to 2 liters per hour, depending on the intensity of your activities and the climate you live in.

Drink about 3/4 to 1 gallon of water per day as your baseline then add 1 to 1.5 liters per hour of exercise, plus a bit more for additional sweating.

If you think you’re holding more water than you should be, fixing it is going to require lifestyle changes instead not pills and supplements.


Learn How to Become Vascular: Water Manipulation

Learn How to Become Vascular - Cut Bodybuilder

The well-oiled bodybuilders and fitness models you see in magazines, with their veins popping out all over their bodies, don’t look like that every day.

Maintaining such an extreme level of vascularity is next to impossible and trying could be harmful to your health.

If you have some event coming up where you need to appear particularly vascular then water manipulation is key.

  • Start by drinking just over five liters of water daily for four or five days. This will get your body used to flushing out fluids. Your body won’t think water retention is necessary due to how much you are taking in.
  • After this “loading” phase, reduce the amount of water you are drinking drastically, barely drinking any water for two days. This strategy will flush out as much of the retained water as possible without resorting to diuretics and supplements.
  • Combine this with a low carb diet throughout the loading phase, eat a few carb-heavy meals on the last two days to pump up the muscles. By the second day of drinking so little water, you’ll be dry. Your skin will be thinner and your veins and striations will be much more visible.

Many bodybuilders and models will also drink a glass of wine the morning before a photo shoot to further dehydrate the body.

Extreme dehydration should not be done for more than a day.

Any longer period and you will feel dizziness, headaches, nausea and other effects of dehydration.


Learn How to Become Vascular: Vasodilators and Supplements

Learn How to Become Vascular - VasodilatorsSupplements that enhance your vascularity are vasodilators.

L-Arginine and creatine monohydrate are some of the supplements available for vasodilating, which will help increase blood flow to your muscles while working out and leave you feeling more “pumped.”

There are also several pre-workouts that advertise a great pump, but many come with caffeine and are just short-term energy boosts, and don’t really help for longterm vascularity.

Related: How To Become More Vascular: The Ultimate Guide To Ripped Veins


Learn How to Become Vascular: Increasing Your Body Temperature

Learn How to Become Vascular - Heating for VascularityDuring extreme heat, our bodies’ defense mechanism kicks in to prevent us from overheating.

The blood is sent to the surface of our skin to prevent damage to the internal organs (when we are cold our blood flows inwards to provide heat to our organs).

When you’re out doing physical activities during the summer you might notice that you appear more vascular than usual.

Bodybuilders recognize and duplicate this effect by using a hair dryer on the highest setting to blow heat on their arms, legs, and torso before stepping out on stage.

This heat can produce protruding superficial veins for a very short amount of time.


Final Thoughts: Learn How To Become Vascular

Learn How to Become Vascular - Dark Iron Fitness belt

The stress and demand a weightlifting program places on the muscle cause more oxygen and nutrients to be sent to the growing muscle.

This results in a natural increase in blood flow and vein size.

Going back to the basics helps to add lean mass.

Perform heavy compound movements–squat, bench, deadlift & overhead press–in the 4 – 6 rep range.

Remember to wear our genuine leather Dark Iron Fitness’ weightlifting belt during all of these compound exercises to protect your form.

Train hard and make sure you’re eating right to get that body fat down to the single digits.

Build muscle, monitor your water and carbohydrate intake to reduce water retention, and you’ll get there.

It’s difficult to get the vein-popping, rippling physique that we see in magazines, but, with lots of hard work, it’s not impossible.

I hope this article and guide has answered ways to learn how to become vascular.

Try to implement all of these tips into place if you really want to be “showready.”

However, save the drastic options for another day if you just want to look “veiny” for your significant other :)

Watch Below: 6 Tricks to Get Your Veins to Show


Related: Static Core Exercises: 3 Intense Ab Workouts