The Wonders of Muscle Memory

The Wonders of Muscle Memory

Had a break from training? You'll be amazed how quickly you can regain your strength. Delving into the molecular makeup of muscles, Swedish researchers have shown that even after a long break from exercise, muscles remember how to strengthen, and previously trained muscles can more speedily regain their power.

These findings come from a somewhat bizarre study involving young men and women who had never formally exercised. For 10 weeks they completed increasingly strenuous leg presses and leg extensions – on just one leg! After 10 weeks of single-legged training, scientists biopsied the muscles to assess strength gains and then they then stopped training altogether for 20 weeks. After their 20 week hiatus, they returned to the lab and completed just one strenuous leg workout, this time using both legs. Scientists biopsied the muscles again and found that the previously trained leg was stronger – having retained about 50 percent of its initial strength gains over the 20-week break.

The scientists concluded that trained muscle cells are metabolically more ready to strengthen and grow. Learn more about the science of muscle memory.

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