Looking back at the day when we all started working out, I remember I wanted to be shredded and after months of workout I got my first biceps vein after that I wanted to have veins like jungle vine all over my body so I bumped into the question ‘how to make your veins show’?.
Visible veins are always associated with a high level of fitness or sometimes with good genetics making it desirable to any person that walked into the gym.
When you walked into the gym you must have seen some guys with veins they all have a few things in common like they are incredibly lean/shredded, low body fat, and sometimes genetics also have a huge part to play. These 3 variables are important when it comes to gaining vascularity. Another word for veins is vascularity.
Bodybuilders and many fitness influencers that we see online or in real life are often shown with veins, making it a special feature for people. Some bodybuilders have taken down their body fat percentage to a single-digit and some are genetically blessed. Before we look into ‘how to make your veins show’ we have to look into ‘what causes your vein to show’.
What causes your vein to show?
You’re more likely to see veins when lifting heavy stuff or anything that challenges your strength that’s because when strength challenging repetitive motions are being performed your muscles will swell with blood and that swelling pushes your veins closer to the surface but you’ll see them only if you have a low body fat percentage and high muscle mass however sometimes fitness is not the only cause of veins.
- Increased Blood pressure
Whenever you exercise, your blood pressure increases to fulfill your muscle’s need for more blood. This causes your veins to become dilated that in turn enhances your vein’s definition during high intensive training. If you have an unmanaged blood pressure problem use caution when lifting or exercising.
2. Genetics & Age
Some people are born with translucent skin or porcelain skin (Skin type that is pale to see through). That makes it easier for their veins to show especially if they have been working out. Some have large veins naturally that are more visible if they work out often.
When it comes to older people their veins show easily because they have larger veins due to weakened valves and thinner skin with less elasticity.
3. High-stress level
Sometimes veiny arms can be a sign that your body is under stress due to your daily workout or fitness routine. Cortisol the primary stress hormone increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain’s use of glucose, and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues (1). Sometimes the stress hormone cortisol can cause vascularity when having a high-stress level.
Another hormone is ‘ aldosterone’ a steroid hormone that is secreted by adrenal glands. Its main role is to regulate salt and water in the body thus having an effect on blood pressure. This can cause your veins to swell and show on the surface.
How to make your veins show?
The first place where we get to see veins being developed is in our forearms and biceps, and then as you progress to a higher fitness level you might show veins in calves, thighs, shoulder, and abs but all that is a thing of future. To get there you need to focus on reaching some other goals first like increasing muscle mass, decreasing body fat percentage, etc.
- Increase Nitric acid intake
Nitric acid is responsible for making your veins dilate and thanks to mother nature there are such foods that can help you increase your intake of nitric acid in your body. Also, nitric acid is produced by almost every cell in our body it is one of the most important molecules when it comes to blood vessel health. It helps in relaxing the inner muscles of blood vessels causing them to dilate. In this way, nitric acid is responsible for increasing blood flow in our muscles and helps in lowering blood pressure.
Eating food like beetroot, lettuce, celery, broccoli, and spinach will help you increase nitric acid in your body. Apart from increasing nitric acid some of this food is also low in calories that will help you in lowering your body-fat percentage.
2. Check your sodium intake
Salt aka sodium makes sure that water stays so simply put the more sodium in your body the more water you will retain and that can be a problem when your goal is to show more veins. The smarter you’re about what you eat the better result your body will show.
If you’re someone who relies upon’s on microwaved cooked food you will have a hard time making your veins to show because in those microwaved cooked food is high in sodium and likely is made from cheap quality ingredients. Currently, 2,300 mg of salt is the upper limit daily recommendation. That’s just one teaspoon of salt. The Institute of Medicine and the American Heart Association suggest 1,500 mg of sodium per day (2). Instead, cook your own meal according to your goal.
3. Increase muscle mass
Performing a high-intensity workout causes your muscles to enlarge that in turn pushes your veins closer to the surface making them visible. To build muscle mass you should focus on a strength-building workout like deadlifts, squats, etc. Try keeping the number of repetitions high accompanied by heavyweights and short breaks.
Veins in arms are easier to achieve than in legs or shoulders so first we should target that, and focus on strength-building exercises that target biceps, triceps, and forearms muscles. To increase vascularity increase the weight lifting movements that require you to lift weight over or above your head.
4. Water Intake
Our body knows if we’re dehydrated and it tries to hold as much water as it can. so try to keep your water intake high so your body doesn’t have to store the excess water and will remove excess water every time. When you’re trying to stay dehydrated so that you can show more veins, drinking water can change the way you look so instead stay hydrated so your body doesn’t have to worry about the water level. then just a little bit of dehydration will make your body show more veins.
To avoid water retention increase the intake of potassium in your system as it flushes out the water by increasing urine production, unlike sodium which helps in water retention. Potassium-rich food such as bananas, tomatoes, and avocados can help achieve healthy potassium levels. High potassium intake can be because of many health risks such as chronic kidney diseases, uncontrolled diabetes, dehydration, etc.
5. Reducing body fat
Reducing fat between your skin and veins would be an important step. You will have less fat covering your veins and that will make it easier for you to show more veins.
Reduce your body fat by increasing cardio exercises in your workout and reducing calories intake. A low body fat percentage will help you to lose subcutaneous fat (a layer of fat between your skin and veins). HIIT workout is a popular choice when it comes to losing fat because it burns more calories in less time.
Tracking your diet will help you keep track of what you eat and that, in turn, will let you know if you’re calories deficit or not. Inflammation from your diet can also cause your body to retain water. Adding no-inflammatory food such as vegetables, nuts, fruits, etc will help get rid of water retention. Hydration has a great effect on vascularity so drinking enough water would be great but increasing the intake of other homemade health drinks will be the cherry on top.
Keep carbohydrates in check because carbohydrates increase the amount of fluid our body holds, having a high carbohydrate diet can cause water retention and if you have a low card diet can result in lower water retention and can also lead to fat loss.
7. Increased Cardio
When it comes to cardio we have plenty of reasons to skip it but if you want to show more veins you have a reason to do cardio. Increasing cardio duration in your workout will help you stay in the calories deficit zone even if once in a while you have a cheat meal. staying in the calories deficit zone will have you reduce fat and get leaner that in turn will help you show more veins.
Additionally, when we do aerobic exercises consistently it increases capillary density, a tiny blood vessel that will reach your muscles. By adding cardio to your workout you will promote effective blood circulation and as veins get closer to the surface good flow of blood will make them show themselves.
8. Blood flow restriction training (BFRT)
The sole purpose of veins is to carry blood circulation so by increasing the amount of blood flow we can make veins go larger and visible. During any average resistance training blood circulation is increased towards the working muscles, blood circulation provides energy and nutrients that muscle needs to sustain the activity. This increased blood flow is also known as ‘The pump’.
Blood flow restriction training is a level up from ‘The pump’. To do BFRT while training use equipment such as blood flow-restricting cuffs and bands. It will put more pressure on your arteries and prevent the flow of blood from the limb to the heart and back.
BFRT increases vascularity and it allows you to build more strength from lighter loads this, in turn, allows you to do more repetitions. Restriction in blood flow will make your veins swoll but when performing blood flow restriction training it is necessary to have knowledge about it or should be done under the supervision of a BFRT certified trainer. Athletes and other health influencers often use BFRT training before their photoshoots to capture enhanced vascularity and show more veins in photos and videos.
Note – When BFRT training is done incorrectly it can cause nerve or vascular damage. Avoid BFRT training if you’re a beginner, old, or are suffering from health risks such as blood pressure or any other cardiovascular concerns.
9. Increase Body temperature
When our body temperature starts to rise blood starts to be pushed towards the surface making your body show more veins. Some athletes and bodybuilders use tricks to increase their body temperature such as using a hairdryer on the skin.
There are some other safer ways to increase our body temperature and that is through food. Food such as red hot pepper or green chili can help increase body temperature. Sitting in the sauna can be helpful too, firstly it will pull out all the excess water in our body through sweat and it will superheat your body will make your body temperature rise and that in turn will make your body show more veins by pushing them closer to the surface of the skin.
Can veins be a cause of an alarm?
Showing more veins through lowering your body fat percentage and increasing muscle mass isn’t a cause of alarm but sometimes these veins appear due to excess stress and high blood pressure. Avoid pushing past your limit if it comes at expense of a health risk. Sometimes pushing past your limits can cause injury or worsen your condition.
Instead, take it slow, work according to your body, and don’t rely on outer measures to show more veins. If you’re new to working out or starting to work out after an injury it would be best to talk to a doctor first.
To show more veins isn’t an easy task you will have to work hard towards your fitness goal but make sure to keep your health in mind. Try to lower your body fat percentage to single-digit and increase your muscle mass, after doing that you can strategize how to remove excess water and increase blood flow. If you’re genetically blessed then you won’t need to do work as hard. Strive to achieve a healthy lifestyle in the process you will be able to show more veins and focus on achieving a balanced diet.