When a muscle grows, a group of smaller fibers collectively increase size. These fibers exist in our bodies in three states: Type I, Type IIA, Type IIX. Going deeper into the muscles, active components called myosin and actin filaments work like hands pulling a rope, to decrease the length of the muscle with force, pulling on the tendon and bone. When a muscle grows in size, the sacomere (a unit of myosin and actin) increases in size and number within a single muscle fiber.
Not all muscle fibers grow in the same way. Fast twitch, Type II fibers respond to faster or more forceful contractions. Slow twitch fibers respond to prolonged, repeated contractions. Both types of muscle fiber experience hypertrophy when stimulated respectively.
Muscle growth occurs when the rate of protein synthesis is greater than degradation. Both protein synthesis and degradation are occurring simultaneously in your body all the time. The magnitudes of synthesis and degradation are affected by the training, nutrition, lifestyle, stress, and hormone balance. Any of these factors can alter the net change of protein synthesis and degradation either positively or negatively.
The type of training and selection dictates the utilization and development of specific muscle fibers. Training for power and speed changes the composition and characteristics of Type II fibers while endurance training will affect the Type I fibers.
How a muscle builds is largely based upon the the training type, the lifestyle surrounding it, and the volume and intensity of the training program. In this Hypertrophy series, I will be discussing science- and evidence-based approaches to target the development you want, so you can build the strength, size, and speed you need!
Coach Morgan Flaharty is a certified personal trainer based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. As a trainer and as an athlete, Morgan knows fitness: he is a certified strength & conditioning specialist and a U.S. Olympic wrestling hopeful. Contact MOGO Training Services today, and Morgan will give you the tools you need to change your life.
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