What makes muscles grow? After you workout, your body repairs or replaces damaged muscle fibres through a cellular process where it fuses muscle fibres together to form new muscle protein strands or myofibrils. These repaired myofibrils increase in thickness and number to create muscle hypertrophy (growth). Muscle growth occurs whenever the rate of muscle protein synthesis is greater than the rate of muscle protein breakdown. This adaption, however, does not happen while you actually lift the weights. Instead, it occurs while you rest.
So how do you actually add muscle to your muscle cells? This is where Satellite cells come in and act like stem cells for your muscles. When activated, they help to add more nuclie to the muscle cells and therefore contribute directly to the growth of myofibrils (muscle cells). Activating these satellite cells may be the difference between what allows certain “genetic freaks” to grow massive muscles and what makes other people “hard-gainers.2”
In one of the most interesting studies in the past 5 years, researchers showed that those who were “extreme responders” to muscle growth, with an incredible 58% myofiber hypertrophy from an exercise, had 23% activation of their satellite cells. Modest responders, who had a 28% growth, had 19% activation of their satellite cells. What is interesting to note, though, is that some people known as “non-responders” in the study had 0% growth and had a concurrent 0% activation of their satellite cells. Therefore, it seems the more you can activate these satellite cells, the more you’ll be able to grow. So then the question becomes, how do you activate these satellite cells to increase muscle growth? Underlying all progression of natural muscle growth is the ability to continually put more stress on the muscles. This stress is a major component involved in the growth of a muscle and disrupts homeostasis within your body. The stress and subsequent disruption in homeostasis causes three main mechanisms that spur on muscle growth
There are 3 primary mechanisms of muscle development. They are:
- Muscle Tension – In order to produce muscle growth, you have to apply a load of stress greater than what your body or muscles had previously adapted too. How do you do this? The main way is to lift progressively heavier weights. This additional tension on the muscle helps to cause changes in the chemistry of the muscle, allowing for growth factors that include mTOR activation and satellite cell activation. Muscular tension also most dramatically effects the connection of the motor units with the muscle cells. Two other factors help to explain why some people can be stronger, but not as big as other people.
- Muscle Damage – If you’ve ever felt sore after a workout, you have experienced the localized muscle damage from working out. This local muscle damage causes a release of inflammatory molecules and immune system cells that activate satellite cells to jump into action.This doesn’t mean that you have to feel sore in order for this to happen, but instead that the damage from the workout has to be present in your muscle cells. Typically soreness is attenuated over time by other mechanisms.
Metabolic Stress –If you’ve ever felt the burn of an exercise or had the “pump” in the gym, then you’ve felt the effects of metabolic stress. Scientists used to question bodybuilders when they said the “pump” caused their muscles to become larger. After more investigation, it seems as though they were onto something.
Metabolic stress causes cell swelling around the muscle, which helps to contribute to muscle growth without necessarily 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.
When the goal is mass and creating the most anabolism (protein synthesis), compound movements that hit muscle groups should always be the centre of a bodybuilding program. That’s going to be things like squats, bench presses, and leg presses.
- Squat variations
- Deadlift variations
- Leg press
- Bench presses
- Overhead presses
- Pull-ups and pull-downs
- Rowing variations
- Triceps kickbacks
- Biceps curl variations
- Cable cross
- Skull crushers
- Leg extensions
- Leg curls
- Most machine exercises
- Calf raises
- Shoulder raises
Eat to Gain Muscle
In order to build muscle you need to be eating sufficient amounts of protein. The rule of thumb is that you need between 1 and 1.5 times your body weight (if you are overweight, then substitute your target body weight) in grams of protein; these are found in eggs, red meat, fish, poultry, dairy and whey.
Include carbohydrates in your diet in the morning and post-workout. It is important to have carbohydrates so that your body can tap into glycogen (energy) stores within your muscles while you are working out. If you do not eat enough carbohydrates your body will not have energy reserves and will break down your muscles instead! Good examples are:
- Brown Basmati Rice
- Rolled Oats
- Sweet Potato
- Wholemeal Rye Bread
- Wholemeal Spaghetti
Taking protein supplements helps you gain muscle without having to actually eat a high protein based diet. Whey and soy proteins are common. Some doctors say that whey protein is difficult to digest and can strain your liver or kidneys. A high protein diet in general can be straining on the kidneys, so it is important to drink a lot of water. This will flush out your system and negate the negative effects of eating a high protein diet.
Drink plenty of water! Dehydration can lead to poor muscle recovery, so make sure you drink lots of water throughout the day. Sip on water throughout your workout. Studies suggest you’d have to drink 30 or 40 glasses of water in a short amount of time to suffer from a potentially fatal case. The recommended daily amount for men is about 3 liters, and 2.2 liters for women
Source info: http://www.builtlean.com/2013/09/17/muscles-grow/