Muscle Growth

On to muscle growth. First of all, it's important to note that muscles don't only grow because of direct stimulation. Healthy living habits such as sleeping a lot and eating foods rich in healthy fats (which raise testosterone levels) all help to promote muscle growth. This section will examine the biology behind how muscles grow in an attempt to clarify what is happening while you sleep after going to the gym. The scientific name for muscle growth is hypertrophy. There are two types of hypertrophy:

myofibrillar hypertrophy and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. Myofibrillar hypertrophy is an increase in
the cross-section of the myofibrils of muscle cells. Basically, the actual contractile elements of the muscle are growing. This type of muscle growth increases the strength and density of a muscle, and it is targeted with heavyweights at low repetitions (6-10). However, this growth does not increase muscle size that much. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is an increase in the non-contractile elements of a muscle fiber, which basically means increasing the total volume of the cytoplasm and all of its components in the cells. It's targeted by exercises with higher rep ranges (10-15.) While not necessarily making the muscle stronger, it does increase size and endurance. If you have too much of this type of growth in respect to myofibrillar hypertrophy, your muscles will appear to be puffed up bloated.
It's important to note that it's not possible to isolate one type of muscle growth. In all exercises, elements of both types of growth occur. However, it's possible to skew the spectrum and focus more on one type of growth by changing the parameters of how you exercise. This spectrum is one of the major factors that are manipulated in different workout plans. For example, a powerlifter will lower the total volume of his workouts and increase rest time between sets to maximize myofibrillar hypertrophy. In contrast, a bodybuilder will maintain a high volume, high rep scheme in his workouts while keeping rest to a minimum. A bodybuilder will also employ techniques like drop sets and supersets to further the sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.

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