musclefiber_myofibrilI’m going to take a little break from my new Best Exercises For Growth series to talk about what actually causes a muscle to increase in size.

It’ll involve a little biology but will prove INVALUABLE knowledge in your ongoing campaign to build more muscle. If you’re introduced to a method of training that doesn’t match what you read it here, you know you can dismiss it.

Anything that recommends

  • Low intensity
  • Working the same body part too often

is NOT optimal for muscular hypertrophy.

Let’s have a look a the muscle fibers themselves and see just what’s going on in there to produce growth.

Sliding Filament Theory

Skeletal muscle is made up of striated muscle fibers. These slow and fast twitch fibers are made up of myofibrils. These myofibrils are composed of the myofilaments actin and myosin.

It is the action of actin and myosin sliding over each other that causes a muscle to both shorten and lengthen (contract). This is called ‘Sliding Filament Theory‘.

I found a good video on YouTube that explains this fairly well:

The myosin myofilaments form cross-bridges and attach to binding sites on actin myofilaments. Using ATP, they pull these protein strands closer together and the result is muscular contraction.

Note: For more on the importance of ATP for building muscle and how creatine works, read this article.

How does all this relate to muscle growth?

  • Intense training produces microtears in the myofilaments
  • Microtears in the strands of myosin and actin attract the elements of growth
  • With sufficient rest, these strands will strengthen and thicken
  • This in turn increases the diameter of the muscle fibers
  • This then increases the overall size of the muscle in question

Like I said at the top of the article, you can see why intense training is required. You can also see that sufficient rest and recovery is necessary for growth. If you bring the stimulus back to the muscle too soon, you’ll short circuit your gains and actually IMPEDE muscle growth.

This is why clients on my ‘A Month Of Mass‘ training program have been given methods to find their own (what I am referring to as) Peak Overcompensation Point. This is the point where you have recovered and grown and are ready to load the muscle again. Obviously, loading too soon is bad, but leaving it too long is also undesirable because decompensation/atrophy can start to set in. Coupling the requisite intensity with your own P.O.P. is THE way to maximize muscle growth, PERIOD!

This is all be further elaborated in future articles and a free ebook I’ve got planned for you guys. I really hope you’ll stick around for it.

Stay Tuned | Stay Motivated!

Your Buddy,

Mark

P.S. I always get this question, so my recommended creatine is any Creapure Micronized Creatine Monohydrate.

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