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How to Increase Vascularity and Muscle Definition

How to Increase Vascularity and Muscle Definition

Big muscles are one thing, but it’s a whole other achievement when you can really get your veins to show through your skin.

In fact, the vascular look is what distinguishes bodybuilders from powerlifters. Even if you’re not a fan of showy muscles, you can’t deny the visual appeal of a vein-popping physique. The veins are a sign of desirable muscle-to-fat ratio. We’ll show you how to increase vascularity the natural way without drugs or synthetic diuretics.


The Role of Genetics

Before we talk about how to become more vascular, we must add that the degree of vascularity is partly genetic. Some people will be able to naturally look more vascular even at a higher body fat percentage. In other words, your training buddy may be able to achieve impressive veins at 12 percent body fat.

Others may have to keep the body fat within the single digit range like 8 percent or so. Some people – and women in particular – can even achieve visible veins at around 20 percent body fat.

MORE: Supercharge Your Workout With These 25 Natural Supplements

We want to make it clear that anyone can achieve a veiny look. However, much like putting on muscle and losing fat, your genetics and hereditary determines the limit and amount of work you have to put into to get the veins to really show. Now let’s take a look at some methods for boosting vascularity the drug-free way.

1. Build Muscle, Lose Fat

Of course, you can get more vascular just by knocking out a set of pushups. However, the look and muscle pump are only temporary. A more permanent vascular physique is possible by increasing muscle mass and reducing body fat.

Muscles require blood flow. More blood-vessel networks will form to accommodate the newly built muscle mass. To build muscle and lose fat, we suggest checking out our Thor Program.

Some people suggest increasing vascularity by incorporating higher volume training using higher repetitions. We don’t quite agree with this approach. Sure, higher reps will definitely result in a greater muscle pump, but not so much in long-term muscle gain. We are advocates of muscle overload using compound movements and low-volume training. While the occasional high-rep workout is fine, low-volume (5-7 rep range) should constitute your main regimen.

2. Eat Nitric Oxide-Boosting Foods

Some foods are naturally high in nitrates, which turn into nitric oxide. This dilates the blood vessels, leading to the striated vascular look. If you want to know how to increase vascularity, you have to make certain foods a mainstay in your diet.

We suggest seeing our list of nitric oxide foods for natural vasodilation. Some of the foods on the list include beets, garlic, citric fruits, and grass-fed meats. Dietary nitrates widen the blood vessels; aside from more prominent veins, you’re also looking at increased oxygen flow, which means improved nutrient transport and waste removal. This is something you should be aiming for even if you don’t care much for the aesthetics.

3. Reduce Water Retention

Fat isn’t the only thing that resides between the muscle and skin. There is also a lot of subcutaneous water. Greater vascularity is equally about eliminating water weight. Consider these methods:
  • Eat potassium-rich foods, which studies1 show eliminate excess water by increasing urination.
  • Consume magnesium either through food or supplementation. Studies2 show this mineral decreases fluid retention.
  • Avoid refined carbs, which studies3 suggest may increase fluid volume.
  • Drink more water. Conventional wisdom would have you believe H2O increases water retention. However, the opposite is true. When you’re dehydrated, the body is more likely to hang onto the little bit of water available as a reserve and store it in places that obscure the veins.

4. Take a Nitric Oxide Supplement

We always recommend getting nutrients through food first and foremost before resorting to supplementation. However, we understand some people can really benefit from the convenience of nutrition in capsule form.

IN-DEPTH: 7 Benefits of Nitric Oxide

A supplement like Redwood contains all-natural and proven ingredients that elevate nitric oxide levels. This includes vitamin C, garlic, and pine bark extract just to list a few. These compounds work synergistically to raise blood flow via dilation.

The primary benefits include lower blood pressure and better overall circulatory health. As an icing on top of the cake, you’ll also notice a more muscular look and stringier veins coursing through your arms and legs.

Redwood by UMZU

5. Notable Mentions: Hot Showers and Foam Rolling

We lumped hot showers and foam rolling into the “notable mentions” category because they increase vascularity temporarily. Nevertheless, feel free to give these methods a try before heading to the local Starbucks in a sleeveless tee. Try a hot shower. When the body is exposed to heat, it rushes blood to the surface as a protective mechanism to prevent overheating. This explains why you have a more vascular look during summer and less so in winter.

You can also try foam rolling. This is a common physical therapy technique meant for improving mobility and flexibility. However, using a foam roller also pushes nitric oxide into the bloodstream. Try foam rolling for 10 to 15 minutes in the area where you would like to increase your veins.

How to Increase Vascularity: Boost Vein Visibility Naturally

It’s a shame you can’t retain the fresh-out-of-the-gym look indefinitely. However, it’s very possible to retain a greater degree of vasculature throughout the day. You just have to follow a few simple daily modifications, much of which you should be doing anyways for better health in general.


1. Gallen I, Rosa R, Esparaz D, et al. On the mechanism of the effects of potassium restriction on blood pressure and renal sodium retention. Am J Kidney Dis. 1998;31(1):19-27. [PubMed]
2. Walker A, De S, Vickers M, Abeyasekera S, Collins M, Trinca L. Magnesium supplementation alleviates premenstrual symptoms of fluid retention. J Womens Health. 1998;7(9):1157-1165. [PubMed]
3. Osterberg K, Pallardy S, Johnson R, Horswill C. Carbohydrate exerts a mild influence on fluid retention following exercise-induced dehydration. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2010;108(2):245-250. [PubMed]

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