Most people think of a day without training is an action to becoming smaller, fatter, and weaker.
This mindset is especially popular amongst people who are new to lifting weights or who haven’t gained much muscle or strength. So, they become scared to waste what little aesthetics they own. But when they actually start to be more experienced they remark something curious.
Not only is it more difficult to lose muscle than they believed, but they also recover whatever they do lose much quicker than the first time.
In most situations, the losses are insignificant and it only takes a few weeks to get right back to where they were before taking the pause. This applies to also to periods of a few weeks or more. Even when talking about many months, the losses are still restricted and the rate of regain is exceptional. So, muscle memory is a crucial aspect of human anatomy and not a perk for the genetic elite or dedicated steroid users.
So, in this article, you’re going to discover why and how muscle memory works.
What Is Muscle Memory?
Muscle memory represents the phenomenon of muscle fibers recovering size and strength quicker than originally obtaining them.
For example, for an intermediary or superior weightlifter, a few pounds of tissue gain per year is the standard, and eventually, it reduces to a nearly undetectable crawl. If they stop uplifting for a moment and lose, five pounds of muscle, it might just take a month or two to get it right back.
The same principle is accurate for many other skills and physical processes, such as:
- Retrieving your aerobic capability after a layoff is much easier than initially building it up.
- Learn again how to ride a bike is much simpler than learning it first, even it’s years later.
- Learning again to play a song on the piano is so much easier than the first time.
You can imagine muscle memory to be a lifelong compensation for the hard work you put towards muscle and strength building.
How Muscle Memory Helps You Regain Muscle Faster
Muscle tissues are uncommon because they can contain multiple nuclei that provide the DNA that organizes the development of new muscle proteins.
The nucleus of a cell is accountable for raising or reducing the production of different cellular chemicals and activities, controlling cellular replication and improvement, and starting and stopping other vital roles.
You can think of the nucleus of a cell like its brain. This tiny brain can only manage so much data and its restricted computing size restricts a cell’s capacity to grow larger. Because muscle cells have multiple brains, they can become significantly bigger than most other cells in the body.
Each myonucleus can only handle so much cell, and this volume is referred to as its myonuclear domain. To keep getting larger, a muscle cell must append more myonuclei.
But the muscle cells can’t create myonuclei. They must take the form of another kind of cell known as a stem cell. Stem cells are distinctive cells that can be extended into many different types of cells in the body.
There are many distinct sorts of stem cells in the body, but the type most engaged in muscle growth are called satellite cells. These cells lie asleep near muscle cells and are selected to assist in the healing and repairing process of the damaged muscle fibers.
Once called upon, satellite cells connect themselves to the damaged muscle cells and provide their nuclei, which not only helps in repairing but also improves the cells’ potential for more size and strength.
This is the body’s primary adjustment to endurance exercise that ends in bigger and stronger muscles. It also aids to clarify why you have to progressively overload your muscles to get fitter.
The more you train, the more myonuclei your muscle cells collect, and this makes them more resistant to muscle loss, which means you have to work harder and harder to excite more satellite cell recruitment. This means that your body won’t burn its muscle-building machinery unless it has to.
Keep in mind that muscle fibers can grow to a point before demanding additional myonuclei. This means that once they reach that border, the only way to continue growing is to add myonuclei.
Also, if you stop exercising your muscles for a few weeks, you’ll lose strength and ultimately muscle size, but the extra myonuclei you worked so hard for will survive in your muscle cells for some time. This is why you can recover the muscle you’ve lost much faster than you can gain muscle you never had.
There is also a theory that states that muscle memory stimulates new muscle growth as well. Let’s check it out and see if this is true or not.
Can New Muscles Be Build Faster Due To Muscle Memory?
Part of the reason why people that are new to weightlifting grow muscle so quickly is that their bodies are extremely receptive to muscle damage.
Especially, during the first six to twelve months of lifting, satellite cells are quickly stimulated after practices, ending in large infusions of myonuclei into muscle cells.
The more muscle you get and the closer you approach your genetic potential for muscle mass, the harder it is to continue adding new nuclei to muscle cells. However, the more your body becomes used to the situation the less is stimulated by it. This happens because of fact that the total number of satellite cells accessible for recruitment decreases.
You must do more difficult workouts to build enough muscle damage to establish the donation of the nuclei to muscle cells.
However, there are some people believe there’s a method to hack this rule.
It takes around three to four weeks without exercise for a muscle to start atrophying. Additionally, the larger and more exercised your muscles are, the fewer satellite cells are selected in reply to exercise and the less muscle you build over time.
So, what if you introduced training pauses in your plan long enough to restimulate satellite cells to muscle damage but not so long as to result in muscle loss?
There is a study managed by scientists at the University of Tokyo which divided 14 men into two groups:
- Group one lifted weights every week for 24 weeks
- Group two lifted weights for six weeks, stopped lifting weights for three weeks, and then replicated this series twice more for a total of 24 weeks.
Both groups obeyed a weightlifting method that included bench pressing three days per week for 3 sets of 10 reps at 75% of their one-rep max.
Surprisingly, both groups increased the muscle mass and strength almost equally, at the end of the study, despite group two making 25% less exercise.
The researchers didn’t measure satellite cell action, so it’s unlikely to tell if that might have contributed to the surprisingly positive effects in group two.
Another related research directed by the same team provided nearly identical results. In this case, the researchers separated 15 young men into the following two groups:
- Group one lifted weights continuously for 15 weeks.
- Group two lifted weights for 6 weeks, paused lifting for 3 weeks, then lifted weights for 6 weeks for a total of 15 weeks.
Both groups reached the same strength and muscle, but there was an unusual difference in the rates of strength and muscle addition.
Group one’s strength and muscle increases began to slow down in the last 6 weeks of the study, which is to be expected due to the repeated bout effect.
In group two, however, although they didn’t gain any muscle during their 3-week break (natch), they gained muscle fast and consistently enough throughout their two 6-week sessions of training that they ended up obtaining the same amount of strength and muscle after 15 weeks as group one.
As exciting is all that is, it doesn’t certainly involve including increased pauses into your practice is going to assist you to get jacked faster.
Examining that size and power are the two most significant exercise determinants in muscle building, common sense talks that dramatically decreasing these over extended periods of time would end in less muscle gain and not more.
Conclusions Regarding Muscle Memory
Muscle memory represents the phenomenon of muscle fibers recapturing size and strength faster than originally gaining them.
So, when you exercise your muscles hard enough, you’re not only improving their size and strength, you’re also enhancing their muscle-building machinery for the long-term.
If you then stop exercise for any reason, you ultimately begin to lose size and strength but not the upgrades to the machinery.
Therefore, when you commence exercising again, the enhanced muscle cells regain muscle and strength faster than the first time around.