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An update on muscle damage as one of the three factors of muscle growth!
1. Mechanical Tension
Heavier weights create more tension in your muscles when you lift because your muscles need to generate more force. It is believed that tension signals various muscle cells to grow. Eccentric contractions boost this tension. Passive tension even produces growth in fast-twitch but not slow-twitch muscle fibers. Tension is unlikely to be solely responsible for gains though, as some programs with focus on tension produce more neurological adaptations than muscle growth.
2. Muscle damage
Weight training creates tiny tears in your muscles which the body repairs with inflammation. In this repair process, signals are sent to rebuild your muscles so that they can handle the same challenge better next time. New cells (satellite cells) are also thought to be activated by this process. Remember though, more damage doesn’t necessarily mean more gains. You need to find your sweet spot. The number of sets you do and how close you go to failure influence the muscle damage of your workout. The LATEST research questions whether damage matters AT All. Many cases have been seen where damage is high, but gains still low. Hence we don’t reccomend using muscle damage as a factor in making workout choices.
3. Metabolic Stress
When your muscles start running out of oxygen to fuel their work, a bunch of “junk” chemicals are piled up. These “junk” chemicals are known as metabolites and are thought to drive muscle growth by “metabolic stress”. This is why, for instance, occlusion training can build muscle, despite using low weights (low tension). In your workout, you can increase metabolic stress by going closer to failure with moderate to light weights.
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