As a bodybuilder, one of your key goals is probably making the veins underneath your skin more visible. Called vascularity, the prominence of these veins is a bodybuilding mark of pride and can help you to win more contests and enjoy more accolades from other bodybuilders. While genetics plays a role in vascularity (some people simply show more veins than others) there are also a few ways in which you can increase the visibility of the veins throughout your body. With proper exercise, nutrition, and effort, you should be able to bring veins in your arms, legs, and even abdomen into bulging prominence. Here are a few tips for how to increase vascularity.
Lower your body fat percentage.
You are probably aware that lowering the percentage of fat in your body is a key element in creating the classic, sculpted bodybuilder look. However, it can also help you to dramatically increase vascularity. In fact, it is the very first step you should take when trying to increase vein size.
Body fat in the single digits is the best percentage to have if you want to maximize your vascularity. Once you drop below 10 percent body fat, you have removed enough fat from between your skin and your veins to make your veins more noticeable.
There are many strategies for lowering your body fat. Perhaps the most reliable is to cut back on saturated fats, consume healthy fats and complex carbohydrates, engage in regular aerobic and high intensity interval training, drink plenty of water, and follow your weight training regimen. Over time, these steps will cut back on the amount of fat in your body, allowing your veins to shine through.
Increase your lean muscle mass.
In addition to lowering your body fat percentage, you should also take steps to increase your lean muscle mass. The reason that doing so will increase vein size is because it creates a demand in your muscles for more blood and oxygen. To keep up with this demand, your body will increase the size of your veins (and sometimes create even more veins). As your veins enlarge, they will become more visible, and your vascularity will increase.
Any type of exercise or weight training will increase blood flow through your veins. However, weight lifting and HIIT workouts will improve your lean muscle mass most quickly. If you stick with your workout regimen, your body will eventually maintain the larger veins even when at rest, leading to a permanent increase in vein size.
Reduce water retention.
Just as body fat can obscure your veins, so can water retention. One of the key tips for how to increase vascularity, therefore, is to reduce the amount of water your body holds onto. This does not mean that you have to dehydrate yourself. Instead, try to cut back on water retention by cutting back on the amount of sodium and carbohydrates that you consume.
Both of these elements will cause your body to hang onto water, making it look puffier and making it more difficult to see your veins. Plus, few people need as much sodium and as many carbohydrates as they think they do. For instance, the Institute of Medicine recommends a single teaspoon of table salt as the maximum amount of sodium anyone should consume each day. This means that cutting back your sodium intake to meet this recommendation will both improve your health and reduce your water retention.
Finally, you can reduce your water retention by drinking about a gallon of water every day. When your body is sufficiently hydrated, it does not need to hold on to extra water. Instead, it takes what it needs and flushes the rest out of your system. The result is a look that maximizes your veins’ prominence without sacrificing your health.
How to Increase Vascularity Quickly
While the methods mentioned above are effective for building vascularity over the long-term, there are also strategies for increasing your vascularity quickly (and temporarily). Mostly, you should reserve these techniques for contests where you want to look your ultimate best for a few hours.
Reduce water intake.
Drinking a gallon of water a day is the best way to reduce water retention for the long term. However, if you want to achieve greater vascularity quickly and temporarily, you can decrease the amount of water you drink the day before a competition. The dehydration can help you achieve a temporary increase in vascularity.
Eat carbohydrates just before going on stage.
About six hours before you compete, try eating one gram of carbohydrates per pound of body weight. The result should be more obvious veins during the course of your competition.
Increase your body heat.
An increase in your body temperature will force more blood through your superficial veins as your body attempts to cool down. Running a hair dryer over your body just before a competition can make your veins stand out even more than usual (for a short while).
There are many answers to how to increase vascularity. However, the best long-term solutions are going to be reducing your body fat percentage, increasing your lean muscle mass, and reducing water retention. If you want to further display your vascularity on stage, you can reduce your water intake, increase your carbohydrate intake, and raise your body temperature just before competing. The result of these strategies should be an increase in vein size and prominence that will make you look and feel more like the sculpted and successful bodybuilder you want to be.