Now that I’ve explained the three necessary factors to cause the correct message to be sent in order for new muscle tissue to be built, I’ll now explain how they all work together. The three factors I speak of are of course muscular tension, metabolic stress and muscular damage. If growing your muscles is your plan, and I’m pretty sure that’s everyone reading this, then you need all three of those categories to have check marks next to them each and every time you leave the gym, because only then will you have done all that you need to in order to signal multiple hypertrophic responses that will begin the rebuilding and new muscle-building phases.
The way that these three necessary steps are related is a bit confusing. For instance, a high degree of active muscular tension (if you are unclear as to what that is, you need to read more of the earlier parts of this series) at greater muscle lengths will create the greatest amount of muscle damage. Meaning that the more stress you put the muscle under while the muscle is stretched and it is also activated is what will cause the most tearing of the muscle fibers, and this is exactly what you want to have happen. A high degree of tension through a full range of motion is what will cause the most metabolic stress due to the prolonged occlusion of veins from the contractions. This means that prolonged time under tension combined with constant tension training is the best recipe for metabolic stress (currently my favorite training method and producing unreasonably good results I might add).
Furthermore, the pump caused from the contractions and occlusion will result in placing the myocytes under tension due to the swelling exerted on the muscle cell membranes. This means that the metabolic stress is what is responsible for creating muscular tension from the inside the muscle cell. Did you catch that? Inducing metabolic stress induces muscular tension (maybe it’s just me but that’s a eureka moment). Taking this a step further the muscle fiber damage on its own can create muscle cell swelling (muscle cell tension) that can last several days. Meaning that both metabolic stress and muscular damage create muscular tension – that lasts for days (another eureka moment). All three components individually or combined serve to increase muscle stem cell activation as well as activation of the all important mTOR pathway, which is responsible for signaling protein synthesis amongst other things.
As you can see, muscular tension, created through various means, metabolic stress and muscular damage are interrelated a number of different ways. What’s exciting to me as I continue to learn more about the ways and means of muscle growth is that there seems to be a formula that if followed, will guarantee new tissue growth, regardless of the stage of muscle-building that you are at. The question then becomes are you willing to do what is necessary to meet the above mentioned criteria? It seems to me that anything short of that is nothing but a waste of time.
When we next get together I intend to look at how you can apply what we’ve learned so far to get yourself growing at as fast a rate as is possible and at some point soon I’ll attempt to summarize all that we’ve learned into the be all and end all formula that will guarantee you bigger and stronger muscles. Until then my friends,
This article was researched and written by Matt Taylor
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