Were you asking yourself how to build those muscles?
You don’t have to be confused anymore!
I would like to introduce you to a new series of blog posts dedicated to those who are just starting with exercise.
You might be confused about how everything works and how to train effectively in order to see the results you desire.
That’ s why I came up with a FITNESS NEWBIE!
I will be adding blog posts with the basics for you to learn and understand the fitness life as much as possible.
So let’s jump in!
Today’s topic is all about how to build muscle effectively. How does it work, how to build it. What to eat and much more!
Let’s talk about different types of muscles first.
The human body has three types of muscle cells: Skeletal, smooth, and cardiac. Smooth muscles are those inside of all our hollow organs like the intestines and the stomach.
Cardiac muscles are located in our heart, that’s where the name of the muscle comes from. Both cardiac and smooth muscles are involuntary, which means we can’t control them and tell them to tense or relax. Their movement is regulated by our autonomic nervous system.
The third group of muscles is called is formed by skeletal muscles. They include well-known ones like the hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, and illusive external and internal obliques.
For our concerns, we will talk exclusively about skeletal muscles in this blog post.
Let’s review the quick physiology of our skeletal muscles.
How does a skeletal muscle look like?
Skeletal muscle is composed of thread-like myofibrils and sarcomeres that form a muscle fiber and are the basic units of contraction.
The 650 skeletal muscles in the human body contract when they receive signals from motor neurons, which are triggered by a part of the cell called the sarcoplasmic reticulum.
Motor neurons tell your muscles to contract and the better you become at having those signals tell your muscles to contract, the stronger you can get.
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When someone has the ability to activate those motor neurons and contract their muscles effectively it’s easier to lift heavy weights for that person. That’s why some powerlifters can look smaller compared to bodybuilders but can lift significantly more weight.
The Physiology Of Muscle Growth
After you workout, your body repairs or replaces damaged muscle fibers through a cellular process where it integrates muscle fibers together to form new muscle protein filaments or myofibrils.
Muscle growth happens when the ratio of muscle protein synthesis is higher than muscle protein breakdown. You might think you are building muscles while you are working out, but in fact, it occurs while you rest.
The gluteus maximus muscle is the largest one in the body. It’s crucial for a movement known as the hip extension which allows us, humans, to perform basic functions like walking, standing, and running.
3 Mechanisms That Help To Build Muscles
The main idea of building muscles is to put stress on them. The stress disrupts homeostasis within your body which ”forces” our body to activate repair processes.
So, how to put stress on those muscles? These are the three main mechanisms that help us to build our muscles.
1. Muscle Tension
You have to apply a load of stress bigger than what your body or muscles had previously adapted too in order to build your muscle. How do you do this? The main way is to lift gradually heavier weights. This tension on the muscle helps to cause changes in the chemistry of the muscle.
Muscular tension has also affect on the connection of the motor units with the muscle cells. That’ why some people can be stronger, but not as big as other people.
2. Muscle Damage
If you’ve ever felt sore after a workout, you have undergone the localized muscle damage from working out. This leads to a release of inflammatory molecules and immune system cells that activate satellite cells which are important for the growth of myofibrils (muscle cells). The damage from the workout has to be present in your muscle cells in order to help you build those muscles.
3. Metabolic Stress
If you’ve ever felt the burn of an exercise, then you’ve experienced the effects of metabolic stress.
Metabolic stress causes cell swelling around the muscle, which helps to contribute to muscle growth without increasing the size of the muscle cells. This is from the addition of muscle glycogen, which helps to swell the muscle along with connective tissue growth. This type of growth is known as sarcoplasmic hypertrophy and is one of the ways that people can get the appearance of larger muscles without increases in strength.
Why Muscles Need Rest To Grow
Your aim is to keep your body in an anabolic process (=building process) which is base on an adequate rest after a workout or right nutrition. If you don’t give your body enough of these, you can reverse the anabolic process and put your body into a catabolic one (=destructive process), which you don’t want.
The response of muscle protein metabolism to a resistance exercise lasts for 24-48 hours. The interaction between protein metabolism and any meals consumed in this period will determine the impact of the diet on muscle hypertrophy.
Don’t forget that gender, age, and genetics can affect the possibilities of growing your muscles. Because men have more testosterone than women, they are able to build bigger and stronger muscles.
How do I get rid of muscle soreness once I have it?
That’s a highly debated topic that supports an extremely lucrative industry—foam rollers, vibrating foam rollers, cryotherapy, ice baths, the icy hot patch, etc.
But, the best way to get rid of it is a combination of active stretching and—more exercise. But your recovery exercise should be light in comparison to the workout that made you sore; you want to get your body moving while still giving it time and energy to recover. Take a walk, go for a swim, do some yoga. This helps to facilitate the removal of waste products and the influx of fresh blood and nutrients. Massage and heat treatments, like warm baths or saunas, have also been known to help.
Why it’s unlikely to build the muscle rapidly?
People will generally not see visible growth for several weeks or months because most changes are made thanks to the nervous system that activates your muscles.
We also need to take into consideration the most variable factor – genetics. Everyone is different, we have different muscle fiber types and numbers, the hormonal output might differ in each individual and the activation of satellite cells might also vary.
To be sure you’re doing your best to grow muscle and getting closer to your goals, muscle protein synthesis must be higher than muscle protein breakdown. You need to feed your body with an adequate source of protein (especially essential amino acids) and carbohydrates to help facilitate the cellular process of rebuilding broken down muscle tissue.
Trust me, it’s important to know how it all works. The results you will see will be significant for your further motivation.
In order to keep your muscle growth, you must force them to adapt by creating stress that is different than the previous threshold your body has already adapted to. You can start lifting heavier weights, continually changing your exercises so that you can damage more total muscle fibers and pushing your muscles to fatigue while getting a “pump.”
Resistance training (lifting weights) is the most common way of rapidly building more muscle, but all exercise will build muscle.
The most important thing after the workout is to rest well enough and to provide ample fuel to your muscles so they can regenerate and grow.
Let’s recap on How To Build the Muscle
The more tension you place on your muscles, the more likely the muscle cells will tear, repair, and get stronger. Just make sure you give yourself time to recover, or the healing process that leads to muscle growth will never actually occur.
Do you feel more confident in the ”How to Build Muscle” topic? I hope so!
We’re gonna talk about nutrition that is also extremely important for the muscle growth in the next blog post.