Do you know what Hulk and Captain America have in common? Their ability to gain muscle quickly. What did I say ? They are able to inflate INSTANTLY!
So, for Bruce Banner, aka Hulk, it's because of exposure to gamma rays during a bomb explosion. And it's when he's pissed off that his body transforms with the muscle mass you know him to have. It is also more and more voluminous in the latest films.
On the side of Steve Rogers, or Captain America, it is the scientific project of Professor Abraham Erskine, intended to transform American soldiers, which has completely modified his body. But that's in comics or Marvel movies. In your real life, gain muscle is a much slower process.
Very slow. Horribly slow...
So much so that you often wonder if you are really progressing. Not true ? Anyway, to want to look like the Hulk, you have to love green a lot…
So, questions: Can you speed up your muscle mass gain?
Oh, not like Hulk or Captain America. But there are things within your reach and rules you absolutely need to know. I will give you the 3 rules to gain muscle as quickly as possible in a few minutes. But there are things you need to know first.
Let's talk a bit technical first...
Table of Contents
- How do muscles get bigger?
- All articles on muscle volume gain
- Understand how muscles work first
- The physiology of muscle growth
- The 3 mechanisms that make muscles grow
- How hormones promote mass gain
- Rest and meals to gain muscle
- Why we don't gain volume quickly
- Gain Muscle Fast – Conclusion
How do muscles get bigger?
Like anyone into bodybuilding or fitness, you're probably trying to lose fat, but also to gain muscle. And that's quite normal.
You even remembered this formula that everyone repeats like a mantra: “No pain, no gain”. In other words, no pain, no progress. However, you may be giving your all during your sessions without having the expected progress.
Why so much hate?
All articles on muscle volume gain
Before going any further in your reading, here is the list of all the blog articles to help you gain muscle quickly:
Understand how muscles work first
There are different types of muscles in your body, including cardiac muscle, smooth muscle (like the stomach), and skeletal muscle. But what interests you today are skeletal muscles.
What's this ?
The skeletal muscles are the muscles under voluntary control of the central nervous system. Those over which you have control. Well, most of the time anyway (maybe not on holiday nights 😀 ). They generally unite bones together and therefore allow motor skills.
These 650 muscles are made up of myofibrils, a linear string composed of sarcomeres (nothing to do with the mother of little Nicolas 😉 ). They are the basic units of muscle contraction. Those are the motor neurons, at the exit of central nervous system, which tell your muscles to contract.
Do not confuse strength with muscle gain
The more you are able to mobilize motor neurons (no, not gray cells on 2 wheels 😆 ) to tell the muscles to contract, the stronger you become. This allows you to understand why people like the power lifters (athletic strength) are able to lift heavier loads than significantly bulkier bodybuilders.
This ability to mobilize force also helps explain why, with practice, certain movements become easier to perform. Moreover, the gain in strength due to this phenomenon occurs mainly when you start training.
It is only after this period of strength gain that the muscles begin to grow. Indeed, you then become more capable of using your muscles, and therefore pushing them hard. This ability will cause the weight gain.
Find out how:
The physiology of muscle growth
That's it, your session is over! You gave it your all and did what it took to make your muscles spit out the max. Great ! Labor can begin.
How does it “can begin”?
You may think I'm delusional. Since your session is over, why say that labor can begin? No, I'm not yoyotte yet (it will come soon enough). Don't worry, the rest of the article will enlighten you (if not, you have to write to me).
Why muscles grow after sports
Note : this part is a little technical, but it seems important to me to understand. If you don't like the technique, go straight to the next subtitle. But you will be less cultured tonight 😉
Only after your workout does your body repair or replace damaged muscle fibers. He hires a cellular process during which it fuses muscle fibers to form new strands of muscle protein or myofibrils.
These repaired myofibrils increase in thickness and number. It's called themuscle hypertrophy. This is exactly what you should aim to produce with your training!
How does the process of muscle hypertrophy occur?
Muscle growth occurs whenever the rate of muscle protein synthesis is greater than its breakdown rate. This adaptation, however, does not occur during exercise. No, it occurs while you are resting.
A few hours after a muscle injury, the neutrophils and the macrophages, the white blood cells essential for reducing inflammation, seep into your tired muscles. The small cell signaling proteins called cytokines are then released, attracting more white blood cells with satellite cells.
This is where muscle satellite cells come in and act as stem cells for your muscles. They contribute directly to the growth of myofibrils (muscle cells). And precisely, the activation of these satellite cells causes the development of muscle volume.
Remember the essentials to gain muscle quickly
The more you can activate these satellite cells, the faster you will be able to build muscle. Which naturally brings you to the next question: How can you activate these satellite cells to increase your muscle growth?
Discover now the 3 ways to grow your muscles:
The 3 mechanisms that make muscles grow
Your muscle growth depends primarily on your ability to continually put more stress on your muscles. This stress disrupts the homeostasis (or stability) of your body.
It is at the origin of the 3 main mechanisms that stimulate your muscle growth:
1. Muscle tension
In order to produce muscle growth, you must apply a greater stress load than your muscles had previously adapted to.
How to get there ?
The primary way is to lift progressively heavier weights or use stronger resistance bands. This extra tension on the muscles helps to bring about the molecular changes I discussed earlier.
After your sessions, while you are resting. Congratulations, you got it right!
2. Muscle damage
If you've ever felt soreness after a weight training session, you've felt the muscle damage caused by working out. This local muscle damage causes the release of inflammatory molecules and immune system cells that activate satellite cells.
This does not mean that you must have pain for this phenomenon to occur. But the training must cause damage in your muscle cells. In fact, post-workout soreness is lessened over time. Fortunately, by the way…
You probably remember painfully one of your first intense sessions. You were almost unable to move your muscles so badly they hurt. Especially 48 hours later! THE DEATH.
When you are used to intense training, this problem disappears. You will feel pain only when you try a new exercise that works a muscle that is less usually used.
3. Metabolic stress or the “pump” effect
If you've ever experienced the exercise burn or “pump” effect that bodybuilders talk about, then you've experienced the effects of metabolic stress. It's a short-term sensation you get during your session when your muscles fill up with more blood than they can pump out.
As a result, the muscles appear more voluminous and compressed. Besides, you would probably like to keep them like that all the time, so much you have the impression of being more muscular. This phenomenon is usually the result of medium (8 to 12) or long (13 to 20) repetitions or supersets with very short rest times. This is for example the case during HIIT Tabata (high intensity) sessions.
Is the “pump” effect really necessary to gain muscle quickly?
Many surveys of bodybuilders reveal the considerable importance of this phenomenon on muscle gain, even if we do not fully understand the mechanism. This type of growth is known as sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. Which has nothing to do with the plasma TV of a certain Nicolas 😀
It therefore allows you to have larger muscles without necessarily having more strength. This is why there is a difference between the physique of bodybuilders and power lifters.
Is it clear to you? OKAY.
On the other hand, if your objective is only to gain strength, you do not have to seek this feeling during your sessions.
Now you know the 3 main mechanisms of muscle growth. However, you should be aware of other important factors. Otherwise, you could ruin your efforts.
What is it about ?
Let's start with the importance of hormones.
How hormones promote mass gain
Don't worry, I'm not going to dwell on this subject, especially since you will find other complete articles on the subject (see below). Just know that hormones are largely responsible for muscle growth and repair.
Because they play a crucial role in regulating the activity of satellite cells. The 2 main hormones for your muscle volume are:
- L'IFG-1 from the English insulin-like growth factor-1 (literally: growth factor 1 resembling insulin), also called somatomedin C. This hormone is mainly secreted by the liver, thanks to the stimulation of the latter by thegrowth hormone. It regulates muscle mass by improving protein synthesis, facilitating glucose absorption, regulating the absorption of amino acids (the building blocks of protein) and activating satellite cells (see above).
- Testosterone. But here, I think it's obvious to everyone. Just remember that women also produce it for their muscles, even their rate corresponds to about 15% of that of men.
Rest and meals to gain muscle
If you're not providing your body with enough rest or food, you might as well not train.
You know why ?
Because you will reverse the anabolic process and put your body into a catabolic or destructive state. To increase testosterone production naturally, you need to get enough sleep. You will find out more by reading the articles on the subject in the section Sports Nutrition.
Furthermore, the protein metabolism in response to a strength training session lasting 24 to 48 hours. Which means that what you eat during this time frame is of considerable importance on muscle hypertrophy.
Of course keep in mind that there are gender, age and genetic limitations. For example, men have more testosterone than women, which allows them to gain more muscle volume.
Why we don't gain volume quickly
Don't throw stones at me. You wouldn't have started reading this article if I had called it “How to Build Muscle Slowly”.
That's not true, maybe?
Listen and remember this:
The process of muscle hypertrophy takes time and is relatively slow for most people. Many of you will take weeks or months to really see the difference.
Because most of the initial changes are related to your nervous system's ability to activate your muscles. You read it from the beginning of this article. You must take this first step before gaining muscle volume. This is why it is so difficult to stay motivated in the first weeks of training. But don't be discouraged.
In addition to that, different people have different genetics. Your hormone production, the type and quantity of your muscle fibers, the ease of activation of your satellite cells, everything is different.
You should also consume enough protein (especially the essential amino acids) and complex carbohydrates to help the process of rebuilding damaged muscle tissue.
You can turn to complements in whey protein or vegetable (see the links above) to have a sufficient intake without complicating your life.
Gain Muscle Fast – Conclusion
I hope I haven't bored you too much with all the technical aspects. But you have to go through it to know what to do to get the results you want.
Remember these few basic points:
If you want to grow your muscles, you have to force them to adapt by creating greater stress than previous workouts.
You will get there by lifting progressively heavier loads or by using stronger resistance bands. You will also need to change exercises from time to time in order to damage more muscle fibers. You will push your muscles to fatigue while obtaining a “pump” effect.
When your session is over, take enough rest. And give your muscles the right fuel to regenerate and grow.
By the way, say thank you to the Hulk and Captain America when you see them for contributing to this fabulous article…
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Last updated on 2022-03-03 / Affiliate links / Some images are sourced from the Amazon Product Advertising API