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How to Increase Vascularity and Muscle Definition Naturally

By Christopher Walker

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 low body fat and vein-popping physique. More veins are a sign of a 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 In Vascularity

genes and blood flow

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. These people are just plain blessed with shallow veins that are close to the skin with more veins being placed throughout their body in the right areas. 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 vein definition at around 20 percent body fat.

MORE: 3 Natural Steroid alternatives

We want to make it clear that anyone can achieve a good vein definition. However, much like putting on muscle and losing body fat, your genetics can determine the limit and amount of work you have to put into getting bulging veins. Now let’s take a look at some methods for boosting vascularity the drug-free way.

5 Ways To Increase Vascularity Naturally

1. Build Muscle, Lower Body 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 body fat, we suggest checking out our Thor Program.

Some people suggest increasing vascularity by incorporating higher volume training using higher repetitions to "get extra fluid into the muscle cell". 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. In order to see muscle growth we recommend progressive 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.

On top of the training you have to ensure that you are in a calorie deficit to effectively have a low body fat percentage. If you are eating more food than your body is capable of burning at any given time and are not in a calorie deficit you body is going to store those calories as body fat. 

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 the visibility of your veins and increase nitric oxide levels, 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 by increasing the amount of nitric oxide in the system; 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. 

For a step by step guide on exactly what to eat in order to boost your overall health make sure to check out The Thermo Diet inside of UMZU fit!

thermo diet

3. Reduce Water Retention

Body fat isn’t the only thing that resides between the muscle and skin. There is also a lot of subcutaneous water (water under the skin). 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. Stick to natural carb sources like fruits and potatoes.
  • 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: 16+ Foods That Will Skyrocket Your Nitric Oxide Levels

One of the best supplements for vascularity is Redwood. 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 nitric oxide in serum to increase blood flow via vasodilation.

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 skin popping veins coursing through your arms and legs.

L-citrulline is another potent vasodilator. L-citrulline works to increase nitric oxide levels by converting into its precursor arginine when introduced into the system, and then converting into NO. We included the exact clinical dose of L-citrulline in our all natural pre workout supplement ZUUM.


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 leading to enlarged veins. This explains why you have a more vascular look during summer and less so in winter.

Some other forms of heat exposure that can increase vein protrusion include:

  • Saunas (we prefer the dry sauna, but any sauna will do)
  • Salt Baths ( Epson salt baths will also help with your mineral balance and can help improve performance)
  • Sun Bathing (this is also great for testosterone levels)

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 and have bulging veins 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]