How Muscles Grow

Man Standing Dumbells

If you’ve ever wondered how muscles grow, this article is for you. A lot of bodybuilders and weightlifters are excessively concerned about what they eat. They’re also concerned about what food supplements they take. You should focus on lifting weights if you want to grow bigger and stronger muscles. Still, you can help muscles grow. You can do this by understanding how what you eat affects how you recover. Just exercising alone will not make you strong or help you grow large muscles.

Understanding how muscles grow begins with understanding what they do. Muscles are one of those things that nearly every one of us takes completely for granted. Yet they are very important for two key reasons.

  • Muscles are the “engine” that your body uses to propel itself.
  • It would be impossible for you to do anything without your muscles.

Muscles are very complicated because they are vital to any creature.

How Muscles Grow – Training

Weight training is a form of exercise for developing the strength and size of skeletal muscles. In one common training routine, the technique involves lifting increasingly heavy amounts of weight. This routine uses an assortment of exercises and types of equipment to target specific muscle groups. Weight training differs from bodybuilding, weightlifting, or powerlifting. These are sports rather than forms of exercise.

How muscles grow begins with recovering after the heavy stress that you put on them in the gym. If you want your muscles to grow, you should give them as much stress as possible in the gym. Then you should provide them with everything they need to recover and grow. This primarily includes nutrition and time. One important point for new lifters – do not train the same muscle every day. It will not have enough time to recover and grow.

How Muscles Grow – Recovery

The only time your muscles grow is when you’re out of the gym. So how can you optimize recovery? Mainly through sleep and good nutrition. Supplementation is also very important. So, for your muscles to grow they must be broken down. This means stimulated by some type of overload. Then they must be given plenty of time, rest, and raw ingredients. This is how they repair and rebuild before the next workout.

Hypertrophy & Hyperplasia

Muscle growth comes about because of hypertrophy or hyperplasia. Hypertrophy is an increase in the size of the muscle due to an increase in the size of the muscle fibers. Hyperplasia is an increase in the number of muscle fibers. Most theories of muscle growth are based on the idea that lifting breaks down the muscle. Growth results from over-compensating to protect the body from future stress.

Muscle fiber hypertrophy can take two main forms. First, hypertrophy can be accomplished by increasing cell volume. Next, it can be increased by the amount of muscle contractile protein making up muscle cells. The muscle cell can be compared to a water-filled balloon. To make the balloon bigger (hypertrophy), you can either add more water to the balloon. This stretches it to its maximum capacity (increase cell volume). Or you could theoretically add more rubber to make the overall size of the balloon larger (increase in contractile protein).

Using this information, how can we guarantee ample cell volume and even tip the scales in our favor? Drink 50-70 oz of water daily for practical purposes. Maintain a sodium intake of 2000-3000mg/day. Eat enough carbs, especially during intense training, to prevent your muscles from being glycogen depleted. How do you ensure high muscle and liver glycogen stores? Be sure to consume a high carbohydrate and high protein meal immediately after exercise. Do so again about two hours later.

Intensity & Volume

Many bodybuilders and weight trainers work a muscle group once every five to seven days. They use high intensity and high volume. How do you force muscle growth in weaker areas? You must design a temporary exercise plan that places greater emphasis on the weaker area. You should put less emphasis on other areas. A short-term specialization of 8-12 weeks is your answer.

Compare the chiseled form of a successful bodybuilder with the emaciated frame of an elite marathoner. Both can achieve stunning results by virtue of their muscles. A remarkable characteristic of your muscles is how much you can transform them by training. Your muscles require enzymes to tell the powerhouses in their cells how to perform the biochemical effects that turn carbohydrates and fat into energy.


Super-sets are moving from one exercise to another with as little rest as possible. Are they all they’re cut up to be? How helpful is the practice? Muscles develop in response to load. The greater the load, the greater the muscle growth. Super-sets “burn” a muscle. The burn often short-circuits maximal muscle contraction and force production. In other words, the burn inhibits your muscles from contracting as hard or as forcefully as possible. Lastly, super-sets always downgrade your load selection.

How Muscles Grow – When Will I See The Gains?

There is no set number of workouts needed before you actually start seeing your gains. It depends on your intensity, the exercises chosen, etc. You probably won’t even notice if you’re getting bigger. It’s a gradual process. It might take more than four weeks to make your chest grow at least an inch. Other people who don’t see you very often will notice, though.

Most machines don’t improve with use. The human body is different. The more people use their muscles, the stronger they become. Any weightlifter can tell you that. And unused muscles do not remain preserved. Neglect causes them to waste away, or atrophy. It’s a remarkable response. It’s one that scientists don’t fully understand. Somehow, muscle cells sense how they’re being used. They will remodel themselves to better fit the task.


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