I’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!
P.S. I always get this question, so my recommended creatine is any Creapure Micronized Creatine Monohydrate.
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I really like what you’re doing with this site and the way you come across. Not like some of the other [insert polite word] in the world of bodybuilding. Thanks for all you do. And yes, I look forward to the future articles.
What was the average Peak Overcompensation Point for your clients in the “A Month of Mass” training program? I have been on a rigid training program over the last 6 months, and I do feel that I have not been giving my muscles enough rest.
I too have wondered about getting enough rest. I train each muscle group once but intensely each week, and usually they are sore for 3 – 5 days. So how do you know when a muscle has recovered? Is it when the soreness has gone?
thanks mark i always enjoy reading what you have to say it gives me more knowledge and therfore makes me further understand what makes a body grow you are the man for putting this much time and effort into your research
Love the depth of research and inquisition man! Keep it up!!
..cool. its working for me.. i am looking forward for the POP & ebook.
good stuff mark pls get the e-book out soon. i’ve been on the total six pack abs and finally got my 6 pack and bodyfat down to 9.8%. i’m starting a mass phase now so looking forward to your stuff in this area. cheers
Great stuff Mark! Thanks for having the ability to explain in a way that’s easy to understand! Looking forward to the P.O.P. ebook!
Take care bro
Outstanding information and easily understood. I am 48 years old and your method has been extremely valuable to me. I have experienced gains much faster. Your E Books should be read by anyone who is serious about there health and achieving strength and size. Keep it up.
Hey MaRK. Another gtreat article! If you don’t mind, I have a request for you buddy…
I’ve been following all of your programs / articles religiously for a while now in the hope that, with consistancy & dedication, I’ll 1 day have a body similar to yours. As an additional motivator for myself (& all Musclehaskers) it would be great to see some of your “before” shots.
Mark, l am 37 years old & recently l have got back into training after 17 year absence & would like to know how affective HGH supplements & testostorone tablets are , l training 6 days a week for 2 hours . My diet is low carbs high protien and my trainer cant believe how quickly l have changed in six weeks & how commited l am ,but l want more need your advice badly as l am againt steriod use will post my before and after photos ………..Cheers Mate Joe
I received an email from Amazon claiming that Ultimate Nutrition has discontinued the Creapure Creatine Monohydrate you recommend. Any other brands you recommend?
@Nick. I’ll try and get that. It’ll require a visit to my mum’s house, a search, then a scanning of the pics.
@Joe. Don’t bother, they don’t work.
@Craig. As long as it’s Creapure and it’s micronized, I recommend it.
Love the info Mark. I have been getting your emails and the info has been a huge help in my routine. Thanks Heaps.
your descrption is far more helpful than any gym trainer….keep up the good work…i thnk i will be a regular here now…i had a question though…i have been gymming regularly for the last two months and six months on and off in history… i am using nitrotech as my supplement since a month with an intake of one 25gm scoop thrice a day….once in the morning…once b4 workout and once after….the results are not at all good enough…it would be really helpful if you can advice m a good supplement…