How Muscle Growth Works

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How Muscle Growth Works

Explaining Micro Tears in Muscles: How Muscle Growth Works

Anyone who has ever put in the effort to build even a small amount of muscular mass will tell you that muscles don't just grow on their own.

Of course, a large part of the effort is ensuring that you consume a well-balanced diet that meets all of your macronutrient and calorie requirements. Your diet, on the other hand, will be useless if you never get to the gym and put in the necessary time.

Muscle growth can only be achieved through exercise, but how does muscle grow? What's the deal with the mechanics? We'll talk about micro tears in this conversation — what they are, how they happen, and why they're important.


Fibers of Muscle

Muscles are made up of a number of fibers braided together to form a working machine, not just iron, blood, and sweat. They are made up of three different types of fiber rather than just one.

Human muscles are made up of fiber types I, IIA, and IIB, or slow-twitch, fast-twitch, and very fast-twitch, respectively. Type IIB has a "high threshold," which means it is only recruited for the most intense workouts, such as high-rep, explosive exercises like those seen in most hypertrophy workout plans.

To learn what kind of equipment you'll need for these routines, check out our home gym guide.

The contraction speed or time to peak power of the fiber is referred to as "twitch." Slow-twitch fibers contract more slowly than fast-twitch fibers, as you might expect. Isn't it simple?

Your slow-twitch muscles will be recruited more during endurance activities, steady-state cardio, or static holds, whereas your fast-twitch muscles will be recruited when performing bench press, squats, jumping, sprinting, or a variety of Olympic lifts such as snatches or cleans, which require quick, sudden movements.

Your muscles aren't going to expand just by being recruited, or even by lactic acid buildup, which causes your muscles to burn as you pump out higher rep sets. The causation and repair of micro tears will cause your muscles to grow.


Tears in Microns

What happens if you rub your hands with an abrasive material every day? In the abrasion areas, you get calluses. This is the body's response to injury: it becomes tougher in the areas that have been damaged, and your muscles are no exception.

When you exercise, you put a lot of strain on your muscles, causing them to rip into tiny, microscopic tears. This is not the same as a torn pec, hamstring, ACL, or bicep tear, which you may have experienced or know someone who has.

Major muscle injuries can have a variety of consequences, ranging from spoiling your workout to demanding surgery. These micro rips are required for your muscles to grow because without damage (a stimulus), the body will not respond.

The pain you feel the next day (or three days if it was leg day) following your workouts is due to all of the micro tears in your muscles, and it serves as a reminder that you worked hard. Every fiber of the muscle engaged during the workout experiences tiny rips. As a result, in a typical workout, you'd recruit all three, resulting in micro rips in all three types of fibers.

Because fast-twitch muscle fibers (type II) grow the fastest, bodybuilding and hypertrophy programs tend to focus on recruiting them. Because Type I fibers have a limited cross-sectional area and account for a small percentage of your muscle's total volume, they are unlikely to expand considerably.


How Does Muscle Growth Happen?

Thus, what have we got so far? The various fibers that comprise up your muscle, as well as the little tears that occur as a result of activity. So, what's next? Do we have ripped muscles for the rest of our lives?

The act of inducing these micro tears in the muscle serves as a signal to the body to come and pay attention to these muscles, which I define as nutrition.

When your muscles are damaged, your body will send amino acids (protein building blocks) to help you heal them. However, just as a coastal city may construct a more powerful dam in the aftermath of a flood, the body detects that this muscle will be damaged and rebuilds it bigger and stronger to adapt to the new stimuli.

This is why, when trying to gain muscle, it's critical to include enough protein in your diet. It will take a lot longer to heal those micro tears and rebuild your muscles if you are breaking up your muscles and don't have enough amino acids in your body to reconstruct them.

Again, type II muscle fibers are more concerned with hypertrophy. This is why most bodybuilding routines consist of high-rep, explosive movements such as bench press, squats, deadlifts, overheaded presses, and other explosive movements.

This is also why "explode up" is a typical lifting signal. Moving the weight as quickly as possible while contracting the muscle will engage fast-twitch muscle fibers, generate micro tears, and bring in amino acids to rebuild.

If you use too light of a weight, the muscle will not respond; on the other hand, if you use a heavy weight and do low reps (1-5), your body won't have enough time to recruit the IIB muscle fibers and will instead recruit the I and IIA, which means you'll miss out on the muscle fiber with the highest cross-section and won't see as much growth.

Low reps mean less time under tension, resulting in fewer micro rips to mend.

How Muscle Growth Works


When it comes to muscle growth, how long does it take?

It depends on how much expansion you anticipate. Even with continuous workouts, you won't notice a change in your muscle mass for at least a few weeks. It's also crucial to understand that the quantity of fat on top of the muscle will make it take longer for you to see visible improvements.

Athletes' great physique only appear that way because they have no fat to hide their muscles. It's equally as important to lose fat as it is to gain muscle mass to have good-looking muscles.


Do you rip your muscles to strengthen them?

In certain ways, yes. Micro-tears in your muscle fibers are created when you build muscles. Micro tears are distinct from major tears in that major tears represent a serious damage, whereas micro tears are a natural mechanism for the body to create muscles.

When you exercise, you tear little gaps between muscle fibers, and when you rest, the nutrients from your diet fill in those micro gaps with more muscle. Please be patient as this is a lengthy procedure.


What causes muscle soreness after a workout?

The ache you're experiencing is due to the microscopic tears you just produced in your muscle fibers. When you relax, your body aggressively repairs small micro-tears in your muscle fiber. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS, is the name for this occurrence.

This does not have anything to do with lactic acid, contrary to popular perception.


Last Word

It's critical to understand how and why your muscles develop. When it comes to bodybuilding, having a mind-muscle link is extremely undervalued.

There is nothing that can stop you from reaching your fitness objectives if you understand how all of your muscles work, what they require, and how they grow. So, think about which muscle fibers you want to activate, create an activity plan, and get under the bar!

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