The Nitric Oxide Dump Exercise Guide: How To + 7 Benefits

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The Nitric Oxide Dump is a form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that lasts only about four minutes long, much like a Tabata workout, but the format is different, and there are specific exercises to perform. 

Exercises are performed back-to-back at a high intensity with little to no rest in between each movement.

But how do you do the Nitric Oxide Dump workout, and what are the benefits of doing one? Keep reading to find out!

We will cover: 

  • What Is the Nitric Oxide Dump Workout?
  • Health Benefits of the Nitric Oxide Dump Workout
  • How to Do the Nitric Oxide Dump Workout

Let’s get started!

People doing air squats in the gym.

What Is the Nitric Oxide Dump Workout?

The Nitric Oxide Dump, or NOD workout, is a specific high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout created by Dr. Zach Bush.

Dr. Bush designed the Nitric Oxide Dump to stimulate the production of nitric oxide, which is a compound that can dilate the blood vessels and improve circulation.

Nitric oxide acts on the endothelium, which is the thin membrane that lines the walls of your blood vessels, causing the smooth muscles to relax. 

This widens the blood vessels and allows for a more patent passageway for blood.

In this way, increasing nitric oxide in the body can decrease blood pressure, increase the elasticity of your blood vessels, decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke, and improve cardiovascular health.

A man blocking the sun, flexing his biceps.

Health Benefits of the Nitric Oxide Dump Workout

As the name describes, the Nitric Oxide Dump workout is intended to increase nitric oxide production in your body.

Nitric oxide is a chemical compound naturally produced in the body.

Although nitric oxide is most known for its vasodilatory properties (ability to dilate or widen blood vessels), it has numerous roles in the body. It also plays an important role in controlling information and acts as a neurotransmitter to convey messages from cell to cell.

According to research, obesity and endothelial dysfunction can decrease nitric oxide availability. This, in turn, can increase the risk of lifestyle diseases such as insulin resistance, ischemic heart disease, and hypertension. 

Here are some of the health benefits of nitric oxide for the body:

A stethoscope and electrocardiogram printout.

#1: Reducing Blood Pressure

Nitric oxide is a vasodilator, which means that it widens blood vessels.

Because the diameter of the blood vessel increases, blood pressure decreases because there is more room for the blood to travel through the blood vessel without pressing up against the walls.

#2: Decreasing Unhealthy Blood Clotting

Nitric oxide can help prevent the formation of blood clots by making blood platelets less sticky. Blood clots are what can cause heart attacks and stroke, among other severe conditions.

#3: Improving Endothelial Function

Nitric oxide has many benefits for your blood vessels.

One of its benefits is improving the health and function of the endothelium, which is the thin cell membrane that lines the walls of your blood vessels.

Endothelial dysfunction has been associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis, which in turn, can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Additionally, nitric oxide has been shown to reduce inflammation in the blood vessels. This will improve cardiovascular health and efficiency and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

A doctor holding a chalkboard that says, boost your immune system.

#4: Supporting the Immune System

Another benefit of nitric oxide is that it helps support the immune system.

A certain type of immune cell known as activated macrophage produces nitric oxide, which, in turn, helps combat and fend off pathogens in the body.

#5: Improving Brain Health

Not only does nitric oxide improve the health of blood vessels, which can increase cerebral blood flow and improve brain function, but nitric oxide can also act as a molecule for cell-to-cell communication in the central nervous system.

Studies have found that nitric oxide may be useful for improving brain function in cases of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases by helping the individual learn new information.

#6: Increasing Sexual Function and Arousal

Because nitric oxide is a vasodilator, it may be helpful for those with erectile dysfunction. Boosting nitric oxide levels may increase penile blood flow, helping achieve an erection during sexual arousal. The increased blood flow may also improve sensation and pleasure during sex.

Not only does nitric oxide help reduce blood pressure, which, in turn, can reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction, but nitric oxide has also independently been shown to enhance penile blood flow and male sexual arousal.

Nitric oxide has also been shown to increase female arousal.

Note that although many people are interested in nitrite oxide for sexual performance, there are not nitric oxide pills. Instead, you can find nitric oxide boosters, which are supplements that contain compounds that may increase your body‘s production of nitric oxide.

A person smiling while doing a skipping exercise.

#7: Improving Exercise Performance

The vasodilatory properties of nitric oxide can also boost exercise performance. 

By increasing circulation in the tiny capillaries surrounding your muscles, your working muscles are better perfused with oxygen and nutrient-rich blood during exercise. This may improve aerobic capacity and increase endurance.

The Nitric Oxide workout is also said to help fight aging by promoting mitochondrial health and telomere length.

Mitochondrial dysfunction and shortened telomeres are associated with aging.

Some studies suggest that high-intensity exercise, such as the Nitric Oxide Dump workout, can help maintain telomere length and mitochondrial function and thus help protect against premature aging.

A person doing an air squat in their apartment.

The Nitric Oxide Dump workout is extremely short and involves only a handful of exercises. 

The goal is to perform the NOD three times per day, but because it only takes about four minutes per session. This should be a manageable goal for most people. You can even do the Nitric Oxide Dump before bed.

For this reason, one of the benefits of the Nitric Oxide Dump is that it is sustainable for most people because they can fit it into their lifestyle, and focusing on just four minutes at one time can be more appealing and “digestible“than mastering the motivation to work out for 30 minutes at once.

Additionally, stoking the metabolism several times throughout the day in “exercise snacks“ or mini-workouts rather than one continuous workout has been shown to be as effective as longer, continuous single-session workouts.

Another benefit of the Nitric Oxide Dump workout is that it does not require any exercise equipment. You do not need dumbbells, resistance bands, cardio machines, or even a jump rope.

This makes it a great option for home workouts or when you want to exercise while traveling. You just need a small space to move your body.

A person doing a non-jumping jack.

How to Do the Nitric Oxide Dump Workout

The Nitric Oxide Dump workout consists of three sets of four exercises with 10 reps for each exercise per set. 

The four nitric oxide dump exercises are:

  • Squats: Perform 10 bodyweight squats.
  • Alternating Arm Swings: For this motion, pump each arm back and forth straight up and down alongside your body as if vigorously raising your hands. Or, you can do full-arm circles like windmills.
  • No Jumping Jacks: This is just the arm portion of the jumping jacks, so your feet stay planted, and you vigorously bring the arms over your head.
  • Shoulder Presses: This involves pressing your arms up from shoulder height over your head as if you are lifting a heavy duffle bag. 
A person doing arm circles.

There are different ways to modify the Nitric Oxide workout for various body sizes and injuries. For example, if you have bad knees, you can do rapid, shallow squats instead of deeper squats. 

Make sure to sit your hips back as far as possible to keep stress off of your knees and to really activate your glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings.

If you have a shoulder injury, you can modify the “no jumping jacks exercise” by doing seal clap no jumping jacks. 

This is where you bring your arms directly across, sweeping parallel to the ground so that they clap in front of your body rather than up above. 

This can reduce stress and strain on your shoulders while still keeping your heart rate elevated.

As with any type of exercise, in order to maximize the effectiveness of the Nitric Oxide Dump workout, you need to do it correctly.

Two people doing air squats.

One of the key mistakes that people make when doing the Nitric Oxide Dump workout, or any type of HIIT workout, is not exercising vigorously enough during the “hard“ intervals or during the workout in general.

Although there is lots of scientific evidence that has demonstrated the benefits of HIIT workouts, in order to actually reap the benefits of HIIT (for the Nitric Oxide Dump workout, which is a specific format of HIIT), you have to truly be exercising at a high intensity (about 85% of your age-predicted maximum heart rate).

The Nitric Oxide Dump workout is a great workout for anyone who is extremely busy or has limited time or resources for working with a trainer to learn more complicated exercise routines or take on longer workouts.

For other HIIT workouts, check out the following guides:

8 Awesome HIIT Workouts At Home

3 Great Upper Body HIIT Workouts To Build Muscle

A group of people doing kneeling push-ups.
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Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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