Our body is an adaptive system, which over time can adapt to certain conditions – if the body is in them for a long time. First of all, it concerns physical exercises: exercises that cause pain and fatigue after training literally become familiar in a couple of weeks. This has a positive effect on the performance of the classes – after the muscles “get used” to doing a certain job – the process of their recovery will accelerate, and you will not have to feel discomfort after each workout. Muscular memory is the name of this phenomenon, and now we will examine in more detail what exactly it represents and what benefits it brings.
What is muscle memory?
To begin with, the definition:
Muscular memory is conventionally called the restructuring of cells (not only muscle, but also nerve). The reason for the beginning of perestroika is regular physical activity, and the goal is to adapt to them and accelerate recovery during rest.
Each person has repeatedly encountered this phenomenon (even if he is not involved in sports): any hard physical activity unusual for the body will cause him to “roll back” – muscle weakness (of the muscles that were involved). Recovery usually takes 1-3 days – if the next morning after exercise you will feel pain from each movement, then by the evening of the third day (approximately) this discomfort will practically disappear.
Well, we could encounter this both at school (during physical education lessons – when performing a new exercise, for example), and at the institute, and at work (if it is associated with physical labor), and in the gym. Any exercise that you have not previously performed (or performed, but in a different variation) will result in a similar “pullback”. Moreover, when the load is repeated, the recovery time will decrease, and over time it will begin to require a minimum of time.
That is why we experience muscle pain, passing a few weeks after the start of training. Relatively speaking, this is precisely what the human muscle memory is – your body is used to it, “remembered” the load, and adapted to it properly.
The essence of the adjustment process
Muscular memory is not something fundamentally new in sports medicine – its study began more than a dozen years ago. Experts explain it by the fact that motor neurons (large nerve cells responsible for supporting muscle tone) begin to work faster. In addition, new synapses arise (a place in which two neurons contact each other) – which accelerates the transmission of signals.
Changes occur in the brain as well – the motor cortex (the area of the brain responsible for regulating movement) is replenished with new vessels, which improves its functioning.
Well, of course – perestroika directly affects the muscle fibers themselves. Each fiber is composed of multinucleated cells. And with a regular load, the number of these nuclei begins to increase. As a result, this leads to an improvement and acceleration of the production of actin and myosin proteins (they are the basis of the contractile system of the muscles, and also participate in the breakdown of ATP).
Muscle memory and bodybuilding
If you have learned the above information, you probably could have independently understood how important and useful muscle memory is for athletes (and in particular bodybuilders). Just in case, we will try to further analyze the positive properties:
- Muscular memory allows us to reduce the amount of rest to the minimum possible.
- … allows us to build muscle faster and better.
- … allows us to work longer in training.
In addition, I would like to separately note another very important nuance: changes in the body last a fairly long time. According to research, even a three-month break in training did not lead to the disappearance of new nuclei formed in the muscles. Of course, this does not mean at all that when you come to the gym after three months of “rest”, you, as if nothing had happened, will be pulling the same weights and doing as much as before the break. However, the muscles adapt to the resumption of stress much faster. That is, a beginner, who first took up the bar, will get used to training for about a month, while this process will take you less time. Well, of course – that working weights will also grow an order of magnitude faster too.
Muscle memory and steroids
Taking anabolic steroids is an indispensable “diet” for every serious weightlifter. Without them, overcoming the natural “ceiling” is very, very difficult, and therefore, sooner or later, all athletes are faced with the need to use them.
Taking steroids acts in much the same way as intensified long workouts: it increases the number of nuclei in the cells of muscle fibers. That is, the positive effect of such drugs is not at all temporary (well, or at least not so short), as many argue, since the created nuclei do not disappear anywhere.