muscle growth

The science of muscle growth

To get any kind of muscle growth, you’re going to depend on three variables that relate to the way in which work the muscles and the way in which you train. For this article, we are going to rely on giving the keys that make of these three factors the primary responsible for the initiation of muscle growth as a response to exercise, or what is also known as hypertrophy. These are:

  1. Muscle tension.
  2. Breakage of muscle fiber.
  3. Metabolic stress.

muscle growth

Muscular tension:

The muscle strain also known as mechanical stress plays a fundamental role in muscle growth. This type of voltage can be classified into two types: passive voltage and active voltage.

A good example of passive tension is when the person is lying on his back and lifts his leg to stretch the hamstring, located at the back of the calf. As the person lifts his leg, there is tension because the muscle lengthens and reaches its end of range. This is the passive tension because it is being created by the elongation of the muscle and not by an active intervention of the same.

However, the active tension happens when a muscle contracts physically and direct intervention of the person. For example, when you flexing your biceps as hard as possible. This tension can be considered isometric because the muscle is not changing the length.

In order to increase muscle, the two types of tension must be combined at the same time, a concept known as dynamic tension. Dynamic voltage occurs when an active voltage is created while moving. For example, when you flex your biceps as hard as you can and then extend and flex your elbow as if you were doing a bicep curl. This is dynamic tension because the tension has been actively created and the muscle has been moved over a range of motion.


However, contracting the muscles through a wide range of movements is not enough, because the tension depends on the load so that more weight allows more tension. But in the same way, movement should not be forgotten as in isometric contractions, which, although useful for increasing muscle mass, do not outweigh the effectiveness and results of dynamic tension.

Breakage of the muscle fiber:

For a muscle to undergo hypertrophy must cause some type of “damage” or breakage in the muscle so that the body can rebuild it. There are two ways to accomplish this:

  • Do a new exercise or out of your routine that your body is not used to.
  • Do eccentric and small repetitions during contraction in an exercise. For example: while lowering the bar during bench press or squats; causing the muscle to stretch while it is activated.

In both cases, they will cause breakages of the muscle fiber that will ignite the process of reconversion. Do not go too far since too much damage can be harmful.

Metabolic stress

The metabolic stress is that feeling you burning after working a muscle very hard way. Metabolic stress is mainly caused by anaerobic glycolysis which is how the body converts glucose into metabolites like lactate. There are four factors that contribute to the appearance of metabolic stress:

  • Occlusion of the veins, which is when the blood stagnates and does not allow it to escape, such as when a muscle is contracted enough so that the veins are “Tweaked “.
  • From hypoxia, which is a lack of oxygen supply to working muscles due to lack of blood flow to the muscle worked.
  • By an accumulation of metabolites of the glycolytic anaerobic energy system and the hormonal response that is caused by it.
  • And because the cells swell to have so much blood, which gives that effect of the beat of the muscles.

Maximize all three factors

To maximize muscle growth through muscle tension, the breakdown of muscle fibers and metabolic stress there are some issues that you should keep in mind.

On the beginning of the range of repetitions, it is advisable to do from 6 to 12. With this, you will make sure that you are lifting something heavy enough to generate sufficient amounts of tension and with enough time to generate a little metabolic stress. Make several series and keep in mind the time your body spends in tension. Making a single series is not enough because the time under tension is not long enough. Doing several sets will help you maximize stress, damage, and metabolic stress.

The rest time between repetitions should be maintained for 60 or 90 seconds. This allows the muscles enough time to generate tension in the later series, but it does not give time to generate a recovery so that the metabolic stress still develops.

It is also important to vary the movements. Change the angles and planes of movement to work the different parts of each muscle. It is important to remember that the exercises should be performed in the full range of motion so that more muscles are activated and more tension, increased metabolic stress, and increased fiber breakage are believed. From time to time you can work up to muscle failure, but most of the time it is advisable to work hard but getting to the point where you could continue doing a couple more repetitions. For example, in a set of 10, you should choose a weight in which you would reach the muscle failure in 12 repetitions. This will ensure that you are using a sufficiently high load.

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As for the contraction time of the muscle, when the weight is lifted, it should be performed quickly, for about 1 to 3 seconds, while the eccentric movement back to the initial position should be performed at a slow or moderate rate of About 2 to 4 seconds. It is important to remember that lifting something heavy by performing 1 to 5 repetitions, at least once a week, will help maximize the release of hormones such as testosterone, growth hormone, and growth factor-like growth hormone Insulin.

As a final recommendation, it is important to keep in mind that although everything is done well in the gym, muscle growth will not work if you do not carry out a diet that corresponds to the goals of each one and synchronizes with the training.