The Science Behind Muscle Growth in Weight Training

Muscle growth is a very common topic among athletes. However, the exact science behind muscle growth is that you can achieve it through weight training. When you go to the gym and put your muscles under stress by lifting heavyweight and each repetition is close to muscular failure.

In this scenario, the muscle fiber breaks down and leads to small-scale tears. Your body will get this as a risk to its survival, while the body task is to keep you safe and will respond accordingly.

The moment you complete your workout, you go home and eat and rest. By doing this, the body will repair that small-scale tears, this time stronger and bigger than before to ensure the future heavyweight lift risk. Through this process, your body grows and will look bigger and muscular.

Related: 10 weeks of triphase muscle training for maximal growth.

Muscle Fibers

There are 2 common types of muscle fiber:

Slow-twitch fiber facilitates long-duration exercises such as running and fast-twitch fibers to facilitate short-duration exercises such as powerlifting, sprinting, bodybuilding and more.

Related: Muscular hypertrophy: how does it work?

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However, training fast-twitch fibers are essential in the muscle-building. The research has found many types of fast-twitch fibers and categorized into type 2As and type 2Bs. Old school study shows that type 2Bs fibers are anaerobic fiber with good oxidative capacity.

But the latest study shows that 2As fibers have great anaerobic capacity, while 2Bs have a low oxidative capacity. Both fast-twitch fibers 2As and 2Bs have the anaerobic capacity, the only reason that changes the process is oxidative capacity.

For example:

When you are playing a set of bench press with 5 to 7 repetitions, you getting half part of that 2As fiber. This doesn’t mean that low repetitions don’t build muscle, but every set should take 30 seconds to get 100% 2As fibers. Therefore, the ideal set volume is 10 repetitions. However, many people disagree with this idea.

The professional bodybuilders play low repetitions and they think is the correct set volume! Yes, professional bodybuilders play low repetition but they lift insane heavyweight because of that insane heavyweight they get 100% type 2As fibers trained.

Importance of Nutrition

Anabolic macronutrients are energy serving elements consumed in large segments. These are the three macronutrients such as Protein, carbohydrate, and fat.

Protein is the most essential nutrient for muscle growth. Without consuming enough protein you will have a tough time to build muscle because muscle is protein and protein is muscle. If you are not consuming protein means you are not building muscle.

Carbohydrates are also very important to give you the energy to perform an activity throughout the day. Therefore, our body burns carbohydrates as a fuel that feeds the brain and in the gym. It also gives you the potential to play an intense workout.

Fats play a very important rule in body hormones production. They have told us that fats are not good for us. There are many kinds of fat, good fat, and bad fat.

However, there is no doubt to limit bad fat, but we should eat good fat. Basically, fat acts as a structured compound, and it supplies important chemicals to the body cells to produce testosterone. Testosterone is the king of all hormones and the key to muscle growth. Read more about 3 main anabolic macronutrient requirements.

Proper Warm-Up

You will substantially reduce the risk of injury by doing a proper warm-up. It’ll make sure the muscles can work with heavy weights. Many weight lifters are doing this wrong. Some people absolutely avoid a warm-up, and others just do not understand what they’re doing. During warmup, you should not fatigue your body.

The entire basis of muscle building is to increase as much weight as is possible. That’s why it’s essential when the hypertrophy phase arrives, your muscles are 100% ready. If you think you’re getting even mildly tired or you’re draining your body’s energy, you’ve got to ease it and take things a little slower. Read more about proper warmup and how to perform it.

Machines Or Free-Weights

When you’re new to the gym, it’s natural you have a lot of questions about machines or free-weights. However, free weights are the most effective tools to promote muscle growth. Machines can still have a spot in your workout schedule. A lot of old school hardcore lifters will say that free weights are the best way to pack serious muscles and that machines are a waste of time. Read more about machines and free-weights.

Compound & Isolation Workout

Isolation lifts have their place in a routine of heavy lifting, but not in place of basic compound exercises. The basic movement of the compound exercise will allow you to increase the maximum amount of weight, increase the maximum amount of total muscle fibre and promote the highest overall anabolic effect on the body. You need to focus on the primary compound exercises to build as much muscle as you can. Read more about compound and isolation exercises.

Hypertrophy Phase

The hypertrophy duration should not last longer than 45 minutes. There are several reasons to complete your muscle building during this timeframe. This 45-minute period does not involve a warm-up but comes into play with the beginning of the first set. Intense training is exhausting on the body, and spending long time in the gym is unnecessary and counterproductive.

After 45 minutes of intense exercise, the body releases a potent catabolic hormone called cortisol, which promotes the breakdown of muscle tissue for use as energy. If you want to gain and protect your muscle, stop over training. Read more about the hypertrophy phase.

Resting Between Sets

Always play the next set when you feel you have recovered from the previous set. Some people say that resting between sets should be 2-3 minutes, some say 4-5 minutes. One study shows that longer resting between sets will increase muscle strength. Read more about resting between sets.

Stretching Before Workout

Studies now show that stretching as a warm-up or pre-workout provides almost no benefit. Some studies have shown that stretching your muscles before your muscle building exercise will increase your risk of injury and reduce your energy. Read more about stretching before a workout in muscle building.

Supplements To Gain Muscle

People who want a muscular body will still focus on muscle gain. Muscle gain is usually better. While food and exercise are important, however, supplements can also aid by delivering calories and nutrients. The following supplements can help you gain muscles.

  • Creatine
  • Protein
  • HMB
  • Citrulline
  • Beta-Alanine
  • CLA
  • BCAAs
  • T Boosters
  • Caffeine

In particular, you need more calories to eat than your body uses, and more protein to eat than your body requires. Many dietary supplements, such as weight gainers and protein supplements, can be straightforward ways to help you consume more calories and nutrients. Read more about 9 exercise-enhancing supplements to gain muscle.

Foods for Muscle Growth

High-protein foods are essential for muscle gain, but carbohydrates and fats are also important energy sources. If your goal is to build lean muscle, focus on regular exercises and eat more calories from foods that build muscle every day. By adding the following foods can help you build lean muscle.

  • Chicken Breast
  • Lean Beef
  • Shrimp
  • Beans
  • Salmon
  • Eggs
  • Tuna
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Peanuts
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Soybeans
  • Milk
  • Almonds
  • Tofu
  • Turkey Breast
  • Tilapia
  • Quinoa
  • Chickpeas

Many of the above foods are protein packed and help your muscle to recover and grow after you’ve been active. However, it is also important to eat carbohydrates and fats to provide fuel for exercise and physical activity. In addition, all the foods on this list include the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function in the best way possible. Read more about 18 nutritious foods that help you build lean muscle.

Steroids Use in Bodybuilding

Many people turn to substances such as anabolic-androgen steroids (AAS) to boost muscle strength. Anabolic refers to muscle development, while androgen refers to the rise in male sex traits. The first thing that could come to mind is their use in bodybuilding to improve muscle gain. However, AAS is also used for several other purposes. Using anabolic steroids in body building can have the following effects:

  • Improves stamina
  • Increases muscle mass
  • Improves protein synthesis
  • Reduces body fat Percentage
  • Increases muscle power
  • Boosts workout recovery
  • Increases bone density
  • increases red blood cell

Despite its potential benefits, the AAS has a variety of side effects. As a result, the severity varies depending on the genetics and how often you use these drugs. AAS can cause the following side effects:

  • Heart disease
  • Infertility
  • Baldness
  • Gynecomastia
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Influences body image
  • Decreases testosterone

AAS is a synthetic testosterone source to improve muscle mass and strength. Although their health risks vary according to form and quantity. However, they can be dangerous and can cause side effects at any dose. Plus, they’re illegal, too. It is a very serious decision to use AAS, and the risks result in terrible consequences or even death. Read more about steroids use, dangers, and potential side effects.

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Naeem Durrani BSc
Naeem is a freelance medical and nutrition writer. His interests include medical research, and the scientific evidence around effective wellness practices, which empower people to transform their lives.
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