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Muscle Growth Essay, Research Paper

Muscle Growth


With the introduction of such modern conveniences such as the automobile, remote

control, and even the electric toothbrush people are relying on technology to do

everything for them. With a generation growing up in todays society physical

tasks have almost become obsolete. Tasks such as even going shopping and going

out to visit a friend can be done from the comfort of your own computer. With

this sedentary lifestyle, muscular size will almost be unnecessary, except for

the athlete who wants to succeed in sports. To the non-athlete, there will be

no reason to leave the house because everything that you need will be at your

fingertips, you will not have to get up and do anything. Any type of exercise

is good for the body and muscles. Muscle growth is essential if you want to

look better, feel better, and perform everyday tasks such as walking to the car,

and getting out of bed easier. A person who is in shape will also sleep better

then an out of shape person, and feel more revitalized in the morning.

Muscles account for approximently 35% of the body weight in women, and about 45%

of the body weight in men. With over 600 muscles covering the human skeleton

muscles give the body bulk and form. Then human body contains millions of

muscle fibres whose coordinated contraction cause the whole muscle to contract.

Muscles are the foundation on which our bodies are built. Without muscles our

bodies could not perform the simplest tasks such as opening our eyes, talking,

breathing and even the pumping of our heart or the most difficult tasks, such as

running the hurdles in a track and field event.. Muscles are also important to

maintain balance and posture.

Description of Muscles

In the body there are several types of muscles that control different functions

in the body, one of these types being skeletal muscle. Skeletal muscle is the

most evident in the human body due to it having the most mass the other types of

muscles and that it lies directly under the skin attached to the skeleton by

tendons and ligaments.

Skeletal muscles are divided into three structural units, the entire muscle, the

muscle bundle, and the muscle fiber (cell). Each muscle fiber is divided into

two types of fiber structure, fusiform and pennate, with the pennate being

broken up into three basic structures. These structures being the unipennate,

bipennate, and multipennate.

Notice the longditudinal

grain of the

fusiform muscles (left)

compared the

pennate muscles. (below)

Striated muscle tissue (above) is associated with the muscles related to the

skeleton and movement. Striated muscle tissue is the muscle tissue located

directly under the skin and are the muscles that are the most visible.

There are two types muscles in skeletal muscles, these are fast twitch and slow

twitch muscles. Fast twitch muscles have a fast form of myosin ATP and are very

good of delivering calcium to the muscle cell. Slow twitch muscles have a slow

form of myosin ATP and are not very good at delivering calcium to the muscle

cell. Fast twitch muscle fibers reach peak tension more then twice as fast as

slow twitch muscles, making them more explosive muscles which would be more

desirable for athletes such as sprinters.

Notice the dark slow twitch

fibers and the light slow

twitch fibers magnified. The

fast twitch fibers tire

more easily then the lighter

slow twitch fibers.

Causes of Muscle Growth

Muscles growth (hypertrophy) takes place in the muscle fiber themselves. When a

muscle grows there is not a increase in the amount of muscle fibers, since this

is set at birth, but rather an increase in the size of those muscle fibers, and

an increase in the amount of connective tissue in the muscle. Muscle fibers are

enlarged through resistant training, or regular activity by stimulating the

amount of the contractile proteins, actin and myosin. What this does is make

more cross bridges available to do more work.

Muscle fibers with no apparent

resistant training

Muscle fibers with considerably

more resistant


The stimulus that tells the muscle to grow is a result of two things, the

shortening of the muscle against a resistance and the intensity of the

contraction. For growth process to start a point must be made in your workout

where the exercised muscle is working near maximal capacity against a resistance,

and the relative intensity of the exercise is very high. When performed just

right, a highly intense resistant exercise disrupts cell wall and cellular

microfilaments, which begins the growth process.

A: General Adaptation Syndrome (G.A.S)

The way our muscles respond to training is the same way that any other stimulus

response mechanism in our body responds to a stressor. This mechanism is called

the General Adaptation Syndrome.

If a muscle is given a stimulus (stressor) that it is not accustomed to it will

respond by going through three stages. The first of these stages is called the

alarm stage. The alarm stage occurs immediately after a very intense

stimulation, muscle cells are disrupted, and later on muscle soreness is felt.

This happens because the muscle that is being trained is not accustomed to this

stimulus and is slightly injured trying to respond to it.

The second stage is the resistant stage, this is where muscle hypertrophy takes

place. The muscle responds to the damage by rebuilding and restoring the muscle


In the third stage the muscle not only has repaired the damaged muscle, but will

now add new muscle proteins to avoid having the muscle slightly injured like it

was in the alarm stage. This addition of muscle proteins will cause the muscle

to become bigger and stronger in order to be able to properly handle that type

of stress again.

Another factor in muscle growth is genetics. Genetically, men have the

potential to have more muscle growth then women because of the higher

testosterone levels that they have. Another genetics factor in muscle growth is

what body type you have. An ecotmorph, will have a very high metabolic, and may

have a very hard time gaining weight, whether it be muscle or fat, and an

endomorph will not have as hard of a time gaining muscle mass, but must be very

careful because of a low metabolic rate, will also gain fat very easily. The ?

ideal? body type for muscle growth is the mesomorph body type. Mesomorphs are

generally athletically skilled, and there body type has a predominance of muscle,

bone and connective tissue.

“Artificial” Muscle Growth

One way which muscle growth is achieved more rapidly then just by resistant

training, is with the aid of artificial growth hormones, most notably, anabolic


Steroids are compounds that resemble the natural male hormone testosterone.

Testosterone has an anabolic effect in the body, and is produced naturally in

the body, but only a small portion of the testerone produced naturally are used

for the anabolic (muscle growth) effect, but rather for the androgenic (male

sexual characteristics) effect. Steroids are constructed synthetically to

maximize the anabolic effect, and to minimize the androgenic effect.

Steroids are taken mainly for the person who wants the quick results of muscle

growth, and to increase athletic performance. Steroids cause many negative side

effects in the body, which include: increased aggressiveness, increased acne,

development of facial in women, development of gynecomastia (breast like tissue)

in males, just to name a few. Steroids use is most prolific in sports such as

bodybuilding and professional football. Even though these sports have their own

testing programs very few athletes are ever caught using steroids, or other

growth hormones. It is estimated that approximently 90% of players in the NFL,

and approximently 99%-100% of professional body builders take anabolic steroids,

or some other type of anabolic hormone. These growth hormones are taken to gain

excess muscle size and strength in order to gain the competitive edge on their


An example of steroid us in a

female professional

builder, notice the bulking

muscles which cannot be

achieved naturally by females

due to a lack of

naturally occurring testosterone

in their bodies.

Effects of Aging on the Muscles

Though muscle atrophy (reduction) does take place due to a lack of exercise,

another factor that contributes to atrophy is the factor of age. Between the

ages of 24 to 80 males tend to lose 40% of their skeletal muscle mass. Although

some older males may continue to be physically active, the skeletal muscle

atrophy will not be as significant, but it will still take place.

Muscle strength can be relatively maintained up through 50 years of age. After

that time a 15% loss in strength per decade occurs between the ages of 50 and 70.

From the ages of 70 to 80 years of age, a 30% loss in strength occurs per

decade. Due to this muscle and strength loss there is a decreased ability to

partake in physical activity, and as a result, more atrophy takes place.

This type of muscle and strength can have negative effects on an individual

because a decline in strength in the lower part of the body may result in falls

and hip fractures. A decrease of muscular strength in the upper body increases

the risk in accidents in activities such as cooking, and cleaning, which require

pushing and pulling motions.

Resistance training can also help a great deal in the fight to stay young.

Older men show a greater strength and muscle increase after a resistant training

program then do that of younger males. Resistant training can also reverse the

effects of osteoporosis in older women, by building more muscle mass around the

bones, and making the bones stronger, and less susseptial to breakage.

Muscles and Self Esteem

Weight training and the desire of muscle growth is no longer set aside just for

the elite athletes. Weight training is being done by many people, from older

people trying to stay young, and for younger people for the sake of looking good.

Muscle growth is desirable because it gives people who have a pudgy look the

look of a more lean and athletic person, rather then the look of a couch potato.

Weight training will not only help someone to look better, but they will also

feel better, give them more energy, and allow them to eat more due to the

increased speed of their metabolism. With an increased metabolism they will

burn more fat while sedentary, then will a person with a slow metabolism. They

will also more likely be more attractive to the opposite sex, and will be more

confident with themselves.

Starting an Muscle Growth Program

After a muscle growth program your body will feel better, regardless if it your

first time in a muscle growth program or you have been training for a while.

Even though you may feel sore your first time training, or after a extended

break from training, you will probably find that this is a good sore in a way

that you know you are doing something good for your body.

Keeping Track of Progress

Keeping track of progress can be done in many different ways during weight

training, but is a good idea in order to see what type of muscle and strength

gains that are being made. Progress can be plotted by actually taking the

measurements of your muscles and recording the differences every week or every

couple of weeks. Another way that progress can be measured is by keeping some

sort of journal which has your workout in it, along with how much weight that

you are lifting for each exercise, this way you can monitor the strength gains

that you are having.

Avoiding the “Plateau” Effect

After weight training, the first few months you may notice a drastic increase in

your lifts, but after that you may start to ?plateau?. What happens when you

plateau is that the gains in strength that you have been achieving seem to level

off, and strength gains seem to stop. This can be a discouraging factor in many

young weight trainers and may lead them to give it up because they think that it

isn?t doing any good. If this happens don?t be alarmed, it is very common among

weight trainers. What is happening is your muscles are not getting the ?

alarming? effect that they received when you first started working out, your

muscles have adjusted to that routine and now have built almost a resistant

against. Many people feel that when this happens that more weight must be added

in order to achieve more strength gain, but this is not true. By altering your

workout your muscles will get ?confused? and the alarming effect will occur in

your muscles causing muscle and strength gains to occur once again..


When weight training, it is recommended that proper equipment be used before

starting a training program. Proper equipment would include proper shoes to

cushion the feet and prevent any foot soreness and to dampen the pressure put on

the arches of your feet by the increased weight placed on your body while

lifting the weights. Another piece of equipment recommended, but not essential

would be a pair of workout gloves. Workout gloves protect the hands when

gripping the weight and may prevent a callus buildup on the hands. One piece of

equipment that is strongly recommended would be the weight belt. The weight

belt is a thin leather belt which is very wide and is worn around the waist in

order to protect the lower back. Due to the strain that some weight training

exercises can put on the lower back the belt is highly recommended.

Cool Down

It is recommended to adequately cool down after a training program in order

prevent, or reduce muscle soreness. During a weight training program you should

properly stretch the muscles being worked in order to keep them loose.

Stretching should also be done directly after a workout because the muscles are

still warm and can be stretched more easily. This will also increase

flexibility which can be very advantageous in preventing injuries such as muscle

sprains and strains.

A Conclusion to Muscle Growth

A muscle growth program can be beneficial to everybody, from the young athlete

wanting to succeed in sports, to the older man trying to help stay and feel

young. The benefits of muscle growth are too high to be passed out by anybody

who has any sort of ambition of feeling better about themselves, looking better,

and having more energy for everyday tasks. You will find that once you start

weight training, and muscle and strength growths are noticed that it will almost

become addicting and the desire for bigger and better results will become

greater and greater. I would recommend muscle growth to anybody, and anyone who

disagrees should give it a try, just for a little while, and after the results

of improved strength and muscle size are noticed weight training will become a

part of their life.



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