How To Increase Muscle Memory

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How To Increase Muscle Memory

What Is Muscle Memory?

Muscle memory refers to the phenomenon of muscle fibers regaining size and strength faster than they did initially. It basically refers to the fact that regaining lost muscle and strength is much easier than building muscle and strength from scratch.

In other words, if you follow a good strength training program for a year and gain a significant amount of muscle, then take a break from weightlifting and lose some of your gains, it will take you less time to regain the lost muscle when you resume training than it did to gain it in the first place.

Many other skills and physical processes follow the same "hard to gain, easy to regain" principle. As an example...

It will be much easier to regain your aerobic capacity after a break than it is to build it up in the first place.

It is much easier to re-learn how to ride a bike, ski, or skate than it is to learn these skills for the first time, even decades later.

Learning to play a song on the piano again is much easier than the first time.

Muscle memory can be thought of as a reward for the hard work you put in to building muscle and strength. Do it once, and it will be easier to repeat for years, if not decades, in the future.


How Does Muscle Memory Work?

Muscle memory was first scientifically proven in the early 1990s. However, it wasn't until two groundbreaking studies at the University of Oslo in 2012 and 2013 that a firm theory of how muscle memory works was formed.

And this is how it works:

A nucleus is found in the majority of cells in the human body. Consider a cell's nucleus to be its brain—it controls and regulates the cell's activities.

However, this small brain can only handle so much information, and its limited computing capacity limits its ability to grow larger (and thus engage in more activities).

Muscle cells are unique in that they can contain multiple nuclei, known as myonuclei, which carry the DNA that directs the formation of new muscle cells.

Muscle cells are unique in that they can have multiple nuclei, known as myonuclei, that carry the DNA that directs the formation of new muscle proteins.

Muscle cells can grow significantly larger than most other cells in the body because they have multiple "brains.

However, each myonuclei can only manage a certain number of cells, which is referred to as its myonuclear domain. To continue growing, a muscle cell must add more myonuclei.

The catch is that muscle cells cannot produce myonuclei; instead, they must obtain them from another type of cell known as a stem cell. Stem cells are unique cells that can develop into a variety of different types of cells in the body.

There are many different types of stem cells in the body, but satellite cells are the ones that are most involved in muscle growth. These cells lie dormant near muscle cells and are activated as needed to aid in the healing and repair of damaged muscle fibers.

When activated, satellite cells attach to damaged muscle cells and donate their nuclei, assisting in repair and increasing the cells' potential for size and strength.

(When you lift weights, this is one of the processes that causes your muscles to grow bigger and stronger.)

According to the theory, once a satellite cell donates a nucleus to a muscle cell, the nucleus remains there indefinitely.

Because your muscle cells do not need to recruit new satellite cells to grow back to their former glory, you can regain muscle you've lost much faster than you can gain muscle you never had. Instead, they can simply activate the dormant muscle-building machinery.

This theory about the mechanics of muscle memory has been around for about a decade, but a recent review of the literature questions whether it's as solid as once thought.

Maastricht University researchers parsed the findings of 60 animal studies and 16 human studies for this study. They discovered that the studies were hit or miss: roughly as many studies discovered that myonuclei do remain in muscle cells after training stops as discovered that they do not.

However, if you dig a little deeper into the study details, you'll discover that the majority of the studies that failed to support the myonuclear domain theory were of lower quality than the ones that did. In other words, the more methodologically sound studies tended to show that myonuclei do remain in muscle cells after a person (or animal) has stopped exercising.

So, where does that leave us?

Our understanding of how muscle memory works will remain hazy until more high-quality research is conducted.

However, based on the current body of evidence, it's reasonable to assume that myonuclei play some role in muscle memory, even if we're not sure what it is.


Can Muscle Memory Help You Build New Muscle Faster?

Because their bodies are highly sensitive to muscle damage, people who are new to weightlifting build muscle quickly ("newbie gains").

Specifically, satellite cells are easily activated after workouts during the first 6-to-12 months of lifting, resulting in large infusions of myonuclei into muscle cells. However, the more muscle you gain and the closer you get to your genetic potential for muscle growth, the more difficult it is to continue adding new nuclei to muscle cells.

One of the primary causes of this unfortunate reality is the mechanism of satellite cell activation. As you gain muscle mass...

  • The total number of satellite cells available for recruitment is diminishing.
  • Workouts must become increasingly difficult in order to cause enough muscle damage to persuade satellite cells to donate their nuclei to muscle cells.
  • When muscle damage occurs, satellite cell activity decreases.

However, some people believe there is a way to "hack" this system. It takes about three to four weeks for a muscle to begin atrophying (wasting away), but the additional myonuclei gained through training are likely to last longer.

Furthermore, the larger and more trained your muscles are, the fewer satellite cells that are recruited in response to training and the less muscle you build over time.

So, the sixty-four thousand-dollar question is:

Could you build muscle more quickly if you included training breaks in your plan that were long enough to "resensitize" satellite cells to muscle damage but not so long that they caused muscle loss?

And the answer is... possibly.

While there hasn't been much research into how this strategy affects satellite cell activity in general, two studies conducted by scientists at The University of Tokyo show that people who take regular breaks from training (3-week breaks in these studies) gain the same amount of muscle and strength as people who train continuously for the same total length of time.

Regrettably, both of these studies...

Were done on beginners, so you'd expect them to gain muscle quickly and easily whether they took breaks or not. The same cannot be said for more advanced weightlifters.

They did not demonstrate that people who take breaks gain more muscle; rather, they demonstrated that it can be as effective as continuous training.

Were brief, so it's impossible to say if the same would hold true in the long run. Given that volume and intensity are the two most important training factors in muscle growth, it stands to reason that significantly reducing these (by taking several-week breaks every now and then) over longer periods of time would result in less muscle gain, not more.

These findings may have been reported only because the participants who took breaks were more rested and enthusiastic about their workouts than the groups who trained continuously. If that's the case, regular deloads can be used to achieve the same result.

This study's more plausible but still reassuring conclusion is that you can skip the gym for weeks at a time without fear of losing gains.

That means you can relax and enjoy your vacation guilt-free. Alternatively, you could recover from the injury gradually. Alternately, devote your energy to a sport for a period of time while putting weightlifting on the back burner. Don't be concerned. Your muscles will be primed for a triumphant return.

Is muscle memory true?

Yes, though we're still not sure what's going on inside your cells to cause it.


What exactly is the definition of muscle memory?

Muscle memory, in the context of exercise, refers to the phenomenon of muscle fibers regaining size and strength faster than they were gained in the first place. In other words, it refers to the fact that regaining lost muscle and strength is much easier than building muscle and strength from scratch.

For example, if you follow a good strength training program for a year and gain a significant amount of muscle, then take a break from weightlifting and lose some of your gains, it will take less time to regain the lost muscle when you resume training than it did to gain it initially.


Is there memory in muscle?

Muscles, strictly speaking, do not have the ability to acquire, store, and retrieve information in the same way that, say, your brain does. When people talk about "muscle memory," they usually mean one of two things:

The phenomenon of muscle fibers regaining size and strength more quickly than they were gained in the first place.

The type of procedural memory that makes relearning a physical task (like riding a bike) much easier than learning it the first time, even if you haven't done it in a long time.


How long is muscle memory effective?

It's unclear. However, recent human research indicates that muscle memory lasts for several years rather than decades, and it almost certainly does not last forever.


What is the best way to improve muscle memory?

Training consistently over a long period of time is the most effective way to improve muscle memory in bodybuilding. This, according to the myonuclei theory of muscle memory, changes the cellular structure of your muscles, making it easier to regain any muscle and strength lost during a period of detraining.


Do you have the ability to perform muscle memory exercises?

Because muscle memory can only be used after you've created muscle, the finest "muscle memory workouts" are ones that also help you build muscle.


Is it true that muscle memory lasts a lifetime?

Don't worry, your muscles will remember everything. According to new research, muscles retain a recollection of their previous strength level that can persist indefinitely. That means that if you've worked out before, regaining lost muscle mass may be easier in the future.


Do your muscles recall how powerful they once were?

Don't worry, your muscles will remember everything. According to new research, muscles retain a recollection of their previous strength level that can persist indefinitely. That means that if you've worked out before, regaining lost muscle mass may be easier in the future.


What is the source of muscle memory?

When you repeat an action over and over again, your brain develops long-term muscle memory for that task, allowing you to accomplish it with little to no conscious effort. The motor and memory systems become more efficient as a result of this process, which reduces the demand for attention.


Is it true that muscles have muscle memory?

However, a promising new study claims that our muscles remember. The study used mice, but it is based on previous research with people and weight training. Muscles formed an ubiquitous and long-lasting molecular "memory" of previous resistance training, which helped them bounce back rapidly after long layoffs, according to the study.


Is it true that muscle memory is stored in the brain?

The truth is that the brain, not the muscles, stores the information we remember about repeated activity. We establish a collection of memories about these repetitive actions in our thoughts whether we ride a bike, undertake sports drills, or practice our dancing steps.


What is the body's strongest muscle?

The masseter muscle is the strongest muscle in the human body if strength is defined as the ability to exert the most pressure. The masseter is most likely referred to as your jaw muscle. When you chew, this broad cheek muscle near the rear of your jaw expands and closes your mouth.


Are memories stored in muscles?

When you consider how intelligent our bodies are, it's no surprise that our muscles and fascia can store memories. For the body to release accumulated trauma, three components are required: 1. Inner resources to deal with the experience that were not present at the time the encounter occurred.


What causes a muscle to become more powerful?

The muscle can show greater strength because there are more potential power strokes associated with increased actin and myosin concentrations. Certain hormones facilitate hypertrophy, which also has a major hereditary component.


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