What makes muscles grow? - Jeffrey Siegel

How do muscles grow and what is needed for their growth?

Training for weight, for relief, for weight loss - they all consist in changing the structure of the body, namely in muscle gain. You need to know about how muscles grow both when gaining muscle mass and when losing weight.

The skeletal muscles are filamentous myofibrils and sarcomeres, which form fibers subject to contraction.

How do muscles grow and what is needed for their growth?

All 650 muscles in the human body receive signals from motor neurons that go to the sarcoplasmic reticulum. The strength of the athlete depends on the reaction of cells to impulses. If a person, without having significant muscles, is able to work with heavy weights, then his motor neurons activate the muscles better. Growth always starts with an increase in strength, as this is how cells become more responsive to stress.

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How do muscles grow? Physiology and Anatomy

After training, the destroyed muscle fiber is restored or replaced, with the help of intracellular reactions, new protein threads or myofibrils are formed. Due to the myofibrils, the muscles thicken, hypertrophy occurs. It is possible if the rate of protein synthesis is greater than the rate of its decay. This process occurs only after exertion, during rest, when you need to eat enough protein and carbohydrates, and is called adaptation.

After exercise, muscle grows with satellite cells that act like stem cells, increasing the number of muscle cell nuclei to multiply the number of myofibrils. It is the process of activating satellite cells that is determined by genetics - some people grow massive muscles, others remain without mass.

It has been scientifically proven that in people who quickly respond to stress, muscles grew by 58% due to myofibril hypertrophy and 23% due to cellular activation. The hardgeners showed only 28% muscle hypertrophy and 19% satellite cell activation. The study included people whose processes were not activated at all. So it's worth knowing what supports muscle growth?

How to make muscles grow?

Muscles need to be progressively loaded to support growth.

Stress and subsequent disruption of homeostasis are brought about by three main growth factors:

How do muscles grow and what is needed for their growth?
  1. muscle tension;
  2. fiber breakdown;
  3. metabolic stress.

Muscle tension

To make the muscles grow, you need to give a load that they are not used to. The easiest way is to gradually increase the weight of the dumbbells or barbells. The extra stress will alter cellular chemistry and growth factors will turn on the activity of the Mtor gene and satellite cells.

The degree of stress affects the number of motor units in cells. This is what makes the difference between endurance training and mass training.

Fiber damage

Soreness after exercise is a localized damage to fibers, in response to which there is an influx of inflammatory molecules and cells of the immune system, which activate satellite cells. However, this does not mean that sore throat is a prerequisite for growth. Damage occurs within cells and does not always affect the way the body works.

Metabolic stress or pumping

Feeling hot in the muscles, especially on the last reps, is called metabolic stress. Athletes refer to this process as pumping or pumping blood to the muscles. It provokes swelling around muscle cells. Glycogen helps cells swell along with connective tissue, and this type of growth is called sarcoplasmic hypertrophy - an increase in muscle volume without an increase in strength.

How hormones do muscle growth?

How do muscles grow and what is needed for their growth?

Hormones are an important participant in muscle development, a regulator of the work of satellite cells.

Holding the barbell in their hands, men think about testoterone, which accelerates protein synthesis, inhibits degradation, activates satellite cells and other anabolic substances.

90% of testosterone in the body is inaccessible for use, but after strength training, its release and sensitivity of receptors of muscle cells increase.

Testosterone stimulates growth hormone responses in response to tissue damage for hypertrophy. Many people remember that in the army, guys' muscles grew by themselves, and the reason for this is the surge in the male hormone.

Insulin-like growth factor regulates the amount of muscle mass, increasing protein synthesis, accelerating glucose uptake, redistributing the absorption of amino acids by skeletal muscles, and activating the work of satellite cells.

Rest and recovery

Why don't muscles grow? Most often they have little rest. If you do not give them rest and food, then the body will be in a catabolic state. The musculature's response to metabolic processes continues for 24-48 hours after strength training. During this period, it is necessary to eat with a high protein content in order to provide the body with materials for fiber synthesis.

For muscle growth, you need to eat not just with a reserve of calories, but with a complete protein profile.

If the body does not get enough protein after training, then it has nothing to build cells from. However, you do not need to eat 3-4 grams of protein per kilogram of body. To an ordinary personku, it is enough to consume 1.3-1.8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight to ensure fiber synthesis. More is required only for professional athletes and fitness trainers who train often and for a long time.

How often should you eat protein? You cannot eat all of the daily ration in one go. The body does not absorb more than 30 g of protein per meal.

Therefore, athletes need to eat right - three main meals and 2-3 snacks.

How do muscles grow and what is needed for their growth?
  1. if you do not eat protein for more than three hours, fiber breakdown will not start;
  2. eating protein at night is not needed to prevent catabolism, but for better recovery;
  3. Eating protein foods before and after exercise provides muscle with the resources to recover.

To grow muscles, you need to eat protein - which, in principle, everyone knows. Beef protein is absorbed by 70-80% and quickly, contains many essential amino acids.

Whey protein is 90% used by the body and provides a large amount of essential amino acids, including leucine.

Egg white with an excellent amino acid profile is digested more slowly, but absorbed by 90%. Casein (cottage cheese or protein) is absorbed very slowly.

This is why whey protein should be consumed post-workout.

Other factors of muscle growth

It happens that a person knows how muscles grow, follows the rules of training, rest and nutrition, but does not see the result. Each organism has a certain limit, depending on gender, age and genetics. For example, men have more testosterone than women in order to support large muscles. After thirty years, the amount of muscle mass decreases by 2% annually, and this happens faster in women. And to grow muscles, you have to work harder.

Muscular hypertrophy is a long-term process. Visible results may not appear for weeks or months until the nervous system begins to activate the muscles. Genetic factors determine hormone release, muscle fiber type and number, and satellite cell activation levels.

Everything you need to get started:

How do muscles grow and what is needed for their growth?
  1. progressive strength loads;
  2. adequate protein sources;
  3. carbohydrate intake for cellular repair.

Once your workouts stress your muscles through weight gain or new exercise choices, the most important thing is fuel delivery.

You need to eat more protein foods for two days in order for the fibers to regenerate and grow.


Eat and exercise properly, and let your terrain delight you with its perfection!

The Scientific Secret of Strength and Muscle Growth

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