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ARM PUMP: WHAT IS IT?

“It’s simply muscle pump, but in your forearms,” 4Arm Strong founder Lee Ramage explains. According to cycle-racing writer Heather McCoy in an article for Cycle World, “arm pump” is the term used to describe chronic exertional compartment syndrome (CECS). CECS is the result of too much blood locked in one area — in this case, the forearm.

 

As Ramage explains, “muscle pump is the tightness you feel after a workout in the gym.” “This is the same thing that is happening in your forearms, however because there is less space in this part of the body to accommodate the blood, the condition quickly becomes debilitating.”  On a positive note, this excess blood is actually essential for the forearm muscles to perform optimally, so it isn’t something we should try to avoid, we just need to create more space in the forearm compartment for the blood to be contained.

How does it happen?

Arm pump occurs when forearm muscles are used at a high capacity. McCoy explains in her Cycle World piece that muscles are strong fibers wrapped in a thin membrane called the fascia. With increased muscle energy demand comes increased blood flow to the muscle. The problem? The fascia resists expansion due to inelasticity, causing a buildup of blood in the forearm. This painful increase results in a rock-hard forearm, restricting both movement and ability, according to Motocross Action Magazine.

Why does it happen?

Arm pump arises because muscle exertion requires increased blood flow. In fact, increased blood flow can expand muscle volume “by as much as 20 percent,” according to Cycle World writer McCoy. We need that blood flow to provide oxygen to our muscles, so when it’s gridlocked, we risk painful damage.

Which activities cause arm pump?

Arm pump affects both men and women in high-endurance sports. These can include “motor sports such as motocross and road racing, but other activities such as rock climbing, weight lifting, Jiu Jitsu and mountain biking can induce this condition,” as an article from Elbow Doc explains.

How does 4Arm Strong help relieve it?

The crucial solution is to create more space for the blood to flow to be contained with less constriction. By “pinning the forearm muscles in their shortest position and pushing them in the opposite direction of the forearm stretch,” the 4Arm Strong device simply creates more space. Ramage further clarifies, “The key is the consistent pressure and stationary position of the part that contacts the body.”  

The tool is designed to be used both pre- and post-activity.

What else can relieve arm pump?

While surgery to reduce arm pump — called fasciotomy — has become popular, “there are no guarantees that arm-pump surgery will work,” especially since it is a fairly new procedure, according to an article from Motocross Action Magazine. Before considering surgery, try the 4Arm Strong device for alleviation of symptoms.

In addition to regularly using the 4Arm Strong device, it is important to implement additional relief measures. Staying hydrated and breathing properly are very beneficial.


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