As a fact, resistance training or weight lifting is important if you want to increase muscle mass and get stronger!!!
When an individual starts working out with weights, the focus is not only on losing or burning fats but also increase muscle mass.
A human body consists of 650 skeletal muscles. The skeletal muscles are the muscles that are attached to the bones in the body. The Skeletal muscles and the bones are the basics of the human physiology. It helps the body to move, increase blood flow to organs, protect organs and also determine the strength of an individual.
As you work with weights, these skeletal muscles stimulate contraction i.e. eccentric and concentric contraction and this result in the production of new muscles. Hence, it helps you to increase your muscle mass.
Here is how the skeletal muscles function
The skeletal muscles are made up of thread like structure myofibrils and sarcomeres, which forms the muscle fibers. These are the basic unit of contraction. As you begin weight training or resistance training, the skeletal muscles receives signals from the motor neurons generated in the brain cells. This is further followed by muscle contraction.
As you get better at receiving those signals and stimulate muscle contraction, you tend to get stronger.
This is the reason why, it is found that even individuals that are comparatively leaner, are able to work with more weights. It’s because of their ability to activate more motor neurons and enhanced muscle contraction.
Once you are able to recruit motor units, it makes your movements smooth and increases your performance. As it helps you to gain strength, it shall further assist in increasing muscle growth as you will be able to activate more muscles.
What happens when you work out?
As you complete your workout, your body looks to repair and replace muscle fibers that were damaged in the process. This is a cellular process that helps the muscle fibers to fuse together and form new muscles.
The process increases the muscle count and thickness, which by definition creates muscle hypertrophy. Muscle growth in human body is caused when the process of muscle protein synthesis is higher compared to muscle protein breakdown.
You must remember that the muscle growth does not happen while working out but while you are resting.
How does muscle increase in your muscle cells?
Our body contains, satellite cells also referred to as precursor cells or unipotent cells. These cells basically perform the function of regeneration in the muscles. As the cells get activated, it adds more nucleuses to the muscle cells. This further contributes directly in the growth of muscle cells.
The satellite cells activation varies in different individuals, which is based on the genes. Thus, individuals that are best at stimulating muscle growth with exercises are found to have maximum satellite cells activation. Whereas, the individuals that did not responded to exercises with muscle growth were found to have no satellite cells activation.
4 Factors that stimulate muscle growth
The growth of muscles in the body is only possible when the muscles are put under stress. Stress not only plays a major factor in the growth of muscles but also activates various physiological processes in the body. Here is how it helps in muscle growth:
1. Muscle Tension
This is an essential factor of muscle growth. Gaining muscles with weight lifting simply means putting your muscles under the stress of picking up heavier loads than what the body is habitual to.
Increasing the weights progressively shall help you to increase muscle tension in your body.
According to a study, weight lifting increases muscle tension that stimulates several muscle growth factors. This includes mTOR activation and satellite cell activation as well.
Additionally, the positive effects of muscle tension can also be seen on motor units that connect with the muscle cells.
2. Muscle Damage
As you work out with heavy weights and feel the pain, you are very likely experiencing the damage caused due to it. Such exercise induced muscle damage, often release the cells of the immune system for repair. Thus, stimulates the satellite cells activation.
This does not mean that you have to feel the pain caused due to muscle damage every time. However, just make sure you feel the stretch in your muscle cells after working out. Also, if you are feeling the pain, it shall reduce with time as you continue to work out.
3. Metabolic Stress
Bodybuilders tend to grow bigger muscles just after a heavy workout session. It is referred to as feeling the “pump”, which is caused due to the increase blood flow in the muscles caused by metabolic stress.
Research shows that metabolic stress lead to muscle swelling. This results in muscle growth without increasing the number of muscle cells.
4. Hormonal Production
Heavy weight lifting is often associated with the production of the male androgenic hormone, Testosterone. It plays an important role in the process of muscle growth and repair, as it assists in the activation of satellite cells in the body.
Resistance training not only increases the production of testosterone in the body, but also increases the sensitivity of the androgen receptors (cells that testosterones bind with) in the muscle cells. Moreover, studies show that testosterone promotes protein synthesis, reduces protein breakdown, induces satellite cells activation and also helps in the production of other anabolic hormones.
The Process of Muscle Growth
The results from the heavy weight training are not going to be visible within days. It shall take at least 2-3 weeks to see visible results, depending on the training you do. The increase in muscle takes time because, the body takes time to adapt to new conditions and muscle tension.
Additionally, there are people that differ genetically, which affect the hormonal output, counts of muscle fiber, activation of satellite cells, etc. This further reduces muscle growth.
One can assure muscle growth by increasing the muscle protein synthesis and reducing the muscle protein breakdown. Therefore, make sure you consume enough proteins to help in the rebuilding process and take adequate carbs to provide the body with the needed energy.
Focus on resistance and heavy weight training
It is very important that you train progressively to maintain stable growth of muscles. For the damage, repair and growth of the muscles, it is important that you create conditions for your body to react accordingly.
Keep pushing yourself, to create the need in the body to build more muscles and get stronger. This can be done either by lifting heavy weights or increasing the number of reps in a progressive manner. When the demand is created, your body shall respond by gaining more muscles, building strength and getting stronger.
As you focus on exercises, it also becomes important to focus on diet and rest as well. When you complete your sessions, make sure you rest properly and eat good to supply the muscles with the essential energy to stimulate muscle repair and growth.