How to Grow Muscles and Improve Your Strength
Whether you’re a professional athlete or just want to build more lean muscle, it’s important to understand how your body responds to exercise and diet. Then, you can tailor your approach to achieve optimum results.
Using weights to grow muscles
When you lift weights, your muscles undergo trauma, which causes them to increase in size. This process is called hypertrophy and helps to build strength. The increased size of the muscles is due to three main mechanisms: satellite cells on the outside of the muscle fibers get activated, joint cells join together to repair damage and hormones are released.
Growth hormones are secreted when you exercise and trigger your metabolism, which turns amino acids into protein to help your muscles grow. The more intense the workout is, the higher levels of these hormones will be.
This stimulates cellular regeneration, which leads to the production of more muscle cells. It also creates new blood capillaries, which increase your supply of nutrients and oxygen to your muscles.
The muscle-building process, called hypertrophy, is a long and complex one. It requires time, dedication and a smart exercise routine.
It’s normal for a person to hit plateaus as they train, especially in the beginning stages of building muscle. This is a natural part of the process that can be frustrating, but it’s important to stay motivated and keep pushing through your fitness routine to make progress.
Maintaining high-protein meals is essential to boosting muscle gains. You should consume about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, which is the maximum amount of protein your body can use in a day.
To ensure that you’re getting enough calories, Wilson recommends eating 5 to 10 percent more than your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) — the number of calories needed to maintain your current weight and keep you healthy and active.
This will provide you with enough fuel to train hard and give your muscles time to recover between workouts.
Keeping your body hydrated is also vital to promoting muscle growth, as water helps your muscles to grow and develop faster. Drinking at least two liters of water a day will help your muscles stay hydrated and improve their ability to grow.
Focusing on the right exercises for your goals
To maximize muscle growth, target a specific muscle group and add multi-joint exercises to your regimen, suggests Sekely. This will allow you to lift heavier weights and continue to train the same movement pattern over time.
Choose a weight or resistance level heavy enough to fatigue your muscles at about 12 to 15 repetitions, she says. This is a good range to work with because it allows you to gradually increase the load without stressing your body too much, she adds.
You should rest one full day between each muscle group for recovery and to prevent injury, she advises. Be sure to warm up properly before each workout, and don’t overexert yourself.
Adding a bit of fat to your food is also beneficial for the growth and maintenance of muscles, according to Davis. Avocados, for example, are high in fat and also contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. They’re also low in cholesterol, making them a great option for people who have concerns about heart health.
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