The three pillars of bodybuilding: training, nutrition, and recovery are meant for one ultimate goal only – muscle growth. The scientific word for it is ‘hypertrophy’. If you want to trigger the process of hypertrophy in our muscle tissue, we need to incorporate mechanical stress to those muscles, i.e. training. If training is a must, that leaves us with an important question. And that question is how often do we need to train each muscle group? If we are to give an exact answer to this question, we need to delve into the mechanism behind muscle growth.
The basics of muscle hypertrophy
Myofibrillar hypertrophy is the process of enlargement of the size/volume/protein content of the muscle tissue, also known as ‘real’ growth. The way to induce hypertrophy is by stimulating the muscle with high tension by using relatively heavy loads like we do when we train in the gym. Training activates a special kind of cells in the muscles called “satellite cells” which tell the cell’s nucleus to release mRNA (messenger RNA), which serves as the blueprint/contains the code for creating proteins. The mRNA is released from the nucleus and then enters another cellular body known as a ribosome.
Having the mRNA as a blueprint, the ribosome begins to take the amino acids within the intracellular pool and start connecting them together with peptide bonds to form new contractile proteins. Those proteins will then be incorporated into the existing cells and micro-damaged muscle fibers. This process actually recuperates them and makes them bigger. This whole process is also known as ‘muscle protein synthesis’.
The duration of hypertrophy
Protein synthesis is limited in time as any bodily process. It’s been measured actually. Its increase is practically eliminated in a 36-hour time windows. Those using steroids have an enhanced synthesis mechanism which makes them grow huge in a short amount of time. That’s why for natural trainees, training every muscle group within 48 hours is not just beneficial, it is also crucial. To make sure that you exercise each muscle group two times a week, we suggest you try these three training splits:
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You will eventually need to figure out what program works best for your body and you can only do that trying out different things.