The tone and shape of muscles forms an important part of self-image in society. Large amounts of time and money are invested into gym memberships and home workout machinery in an effort to grow and tone muscles in the body. Muscles enable us to move our bodies, stand upright, talk, walk and even laugh. Without muscles our bodies would have no way to control our movement. So how do muscles grow from small usable muscles to large bulging biceps and triceps? Read this article to find out.
How do Muscles grow?
Muscles grow in two different ways, in strength and in size. Muscles can grow in strength without gaining size. This is called sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. The volume of fluid in the muscle cells increases making them stronger, but there is not a corresponding growth in the size of the muscle. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is achieved through everyday activities such as lifting a baby or carrying heavy boxes. These activities do not cause damaging stress to the muscles so your body only works to slowly increase the strength needed to complete the job.
To grow muscles in size you actually need to push your muscles to failing point. This type of muscle growth is called hyperplasia. hyperplasia is the splitting of muscle cells and the creation of new muscle cells to support the old ones. Your body is designed to react to the external stimuli it receives. If a muscle or group of muscles is continually stressed then the body will work to increase the muscle strength, tone and size in that area. To build muscle size a person must complete repetitive, resistance training. This places the muscles under strain and causes micro-tears to develop. Heavy resistance training damages the muscle fibers. The body reacts to the damage by repairing the muscle cells and growing more muscle cells to cope with the extra stress placed on the muscles. This is why a weight, that may have been hard to lift initially, becomes easier to lift over a period of time. With repeated training, the muscles fibers grow thicker and more numerous. The tendons and ligaments surrounding the muscles will also grow in size and thickness to support the new muscles range of movement and strength.