Do you want to have complete freedom of movement? To be able to handle the constant stressors in your life and grow from them? Perhaps you're like me, and desire to live in the strongest, healthiest, most superhero like body you possibly can. Even if your goals are not that ambitious, we all know that humans were designed for constant movement. We did not evolve the largest glutes just to sit on them from 9-5 five days a week. Our asses are large because they allow us to stand upright without falling, and run incredibly long distances. With around 640 to 850 different muscles holding our skeletons together, there are numerous benefits to making them as strong as possible.
What are the numerous benefits? Psh. Well, having strong muscles makes every single task in your life easier. Climbing stairs, moving objects, having fantastic sex, defending yourself from assailants; You name it. Just the process of developing muscular mastery enhances our cardiac function/blood flow, strengthens our skeletal structure, levels up our immune systems, increases mental cognition, and bolsters our confidence to to induce positive change in the world. These benefits are due to direct changes in our DNA, and will thus be passed down to our children and grand children. Do you want to be an inspiration to everyone who encounters you? When people see us taking our life and body by the reins, they become motivated to do the same. These positive ripple effects lead to everyone maximizing their genetic potential and steer us in the brightest future of humanity and our planet.
How Do We Maximize These Benefits?
Woah woah. First, we have to explore how muscles function and what this means for us. Here, I will be focusing on skeletal muscle, since smooth muscle is a whole other beast and cardiac muscle works in tandem with skeletal muscle.
Our bodies become stronger due to two phenomena, neural adaptations and muscular growth. See, even when the average human feels like they are exerting themselves to exhaustion, they are only using about 1/3 of the available muscle fibers. Why do our bodies hold us back like this? For emergencies, of course. Our bodies evolved so that we don't exhaust all of our muscle- because if we did, then found ourselves in a life threatening situation, we would be too fatigued to save anyone's life. Furthermore, using all of our muscle fibers will tear our tendons and injure our bones, IF they aren't strong enough to handle that force. My strength building programs target the body's "emergency response" to increase our power and stability as a unit. Remember, "You are only as strong as your weakest link."
Before I touch on muscle growth, do remember this: A bigger muscle is not necessarily a stronger muscle. Factors like tendon strength (Incredibly important), neural connections, and mindset play a large role. That being said, a muscle will surely grow larger as it becomes stronger. This is due to hypertrophy, which is where the muscle grows in response to stress. To keep it basic, there are two types of hypertrophy-
Sarcoplasmic: The volume of fluid and glycogen storage in the muscle cell increases.
Myofibrillar: The actin and myosin contractile proteins increase as the muscle fibers become larger.
Bodybuilders are a prime example of predominantly sarcoplasmic-type training, focusing mainly on muscle size. Powerlifters on the other hand, train primarily for myrofibullar hypertrophy, resulting in incredibly strong muscles, bones, tendons, and neural adaptations. Both forms of hypertrophy will occur in the average exercise program to varying amounts, but clearly certain procedures emphasize different types of growth.
Let me pose a hypothetical for you real quick. Little Johnny decides to set up a rope pulley that can lift weights up to 112lbs, but his brother Davonte set up his own pulley system. Davonte's pulley system uses a metal chain instead of rope, and can lift up to 245lbs. Which one would you rather use to transport your goods? ... mhm... right. Yes, of course.
The stronger a muscle is, the easier it can handle any stress that is below that threshold. People make it a goal to bang out 100 pushups when they would experience way more benefit from working on chest pressing as much as they can. People do countless crunches thinking that will make those six pack abs pop when they should be doing strength training core work. People will hop on a treadmill and jog for hours when high intense bursts of cardio will have way more benefits for their cardiac and skeletal muscle.
That's not how we roll. Our goal is to become the strongest, healthiest, happiest humans we can be. If you want to get started on that path today, I've written out my five valuable activities to make this happen. Click down below to get some knowledge downloaded to your brain and reach your potential. Thank you for your time. :)
This casual dude is a great example of sarcoplasmic and myofibrillar hypertrophy occurring in tandem