We always hear about increasing muscle mass, getting our muscles toned, and building lean muscles. These topics are common among fitness enthusiasts and those who wish to build a body reminiscent of a Greek demigod. There are diet and exercise regimens tailored for building muscle mass, and we follow these to the letter, without really understanding why or how they work.
If you want to make the most of your muscle workouts, understanding the basics of muscle growth is essential. It may surprise you to know that muscle grows in response to injury. That is why resistance training exercises are highly effective in building muscle mass.
Scientific research on the subject has shown that exercise causes trauma to the muscle fibers and activates the satellite cells, causing them to proliferate around the site of the trauma. These satellite cells fuse together and not only repair the site, but also form new muscle protein strands, causing muscles to become more numerous and increase in thickness.
Muscle growth, also known as hypertrophy, is also triggered by the release of growth hormones from the anterior pituitary gland. The more intense the exercise, the more hormones will be released. By triggering fat metabolism for energy use in the muscle growth process, growth hormones stimulate the growth of skeletal muscles.
Muscle growth occurs when the speed by which muscle is synthesized is more than the rate of muscle protein breakdown. This is why resistance exercise done properly cause hypertrophy and increase in strength. This is also the reason why it’s important to limit the amount of time you do intensive exercises. You need to allow your muscles to rest so that it can repair the trauma and cause your muscles to grow. Similarly, exercises done excessively for long periods of time cause muscle proteins to break down and as a result, you won’t build up your muscles but tear them down instead.
Heredity, gender and other biological factors influence the amount of muscles you build with each training program. But if you had more muscle mass to begin with, you’d expect greater changes as well. Research has also shown that resistance training greatly contributes to reversing the effects of aging on the muscles. It has also been shown to prevent injury and accelerate physical rehabilitation therapy.
Take note, however, that while muscles adapt to the stress or injury brought upon it through exercise immediately (meaning the process of repair is almost instantaneous), it will take weeks or months for the results to show. Because the skeletal muscles are the most adaptable of all muscle groups, changes are readily apparent to it after it has been worked out for a certain period of time.
There are so many myths and misunderstandings surrounding the best method of developing lean and well-toned muscles that it’s easy to get confused by all the muddle. Understanding the basics of muscle growth will guide you in choosing a sensible resistance training program. It will enable you to give the right amount of intensity to your exercise and the corresponding amount of rest it needs to build it up.
Last but not least, be sure to check out this P90X transformation story and learn about the number one way to get in shape from home. Also, don’t forget to read this article called “Shakeology scam”.
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