What Causes Muscle Growth

What Causes Muscle Growth

In order for muscles to​ grow, three things are required:

1. Stimulus - exercise is​ needed to​ make the muscles work, use energy and cause microscopic damage to​ the fibers.

2. Nutrition - after intense exercise the muscles need to​ replenish their stores of​ fuel.

3. Rest - it​ is​ during the rest or​ recovery phase that the muscles repair the microscopic damage and grow.

Muscle size increases due to​ hypertrophic adaptation and an​ increase in​ the cross section area of​ individual muscle fibers. Intensive exercise impacts more on the strength influencing fast twitch type II fibers, therefore the increase in​ muscle size is​ accompanied by greater strength.

This will deplete the muscle's energy stores and cause microscopic damage to​ the muscle tissue. During recovery, these stores of​ glycogen and phosphocreatine will replenish from carbohydrates and creatine ingested as​ food or​ supplements. Amino acids supplied in​ the diet will trigger the protein synthesis that repairs the damaged muscle and lead to​ the creation of​ bigger muscle fibers.

To achieve continuous improvement you will need to​ keep reaching for higher levels of​ training intensity otherwise the improvement process will grind to​ a​ halt. Fortunately, this is​ relatively easy to​ plan for provided certain basic principles and rules are clearly followed. Subsequent articles in​ this series will examine these principles in​ detail.

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