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I read a couple of interesting studies about muscle this week and both could have a positive effect on you.
The first one was on muscle as a therapeutic treatment option. It seems that muscle repairs itself faster with exercise. Even older muscle. Now going to the gym means that you can build more muscle and that you will heal faster. Researcher compared muscle tissue after 8 weeks of training, the older, trained muscle cells repaired themselves and regained strength faster than the muscle cells that did not do any strength training. They repaired themselves like a young muscle cell.
Researcher Gianni Parise, Ph.D., and Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University states,
That means that regular strength training exercises will improve muscle cell growth and repair even as we age.
The second study I read about strength training shows how building muscle is not that complicated. It is another study from McMaster University published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. This study by Stuart Phillips concludes that the key to success in strength training comes down to one thing – make it hard
The researchers compared the effect of lifting a light weight a lot of times and a heavy weight a few times. The results showed that as long as the weight lifted was done to failure (can’t lift anymore) the results were the same.
In this study 49 volunteers with a minimum of 2 years of weight lifting 3 times per week were asked to perform a 12 week resistance training program. The exercise routine included 3 sets of 5 exercises done four times a week. One group of subjects lifted a heavy load, 75-90% of 1 rep max for 8-12 reps per set. The other group lifted a light load, 30-50% 1 rep max for 20-25 repetitions per set. The results for almost all measures were identical.
The conclusion, if you lift to failure, you just can’t do another rep, you will recruit all the motor units in that muscle and recruitment is what counts. It will happen faster with a heavier load, but the results will be the same. If you do it consistently you can delay muscle aging and improve muscle repair. So what are you waiting for? Get to the gym.
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