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Started By Analyzer (CDA, id, U.S.A.)

Started on: 12/22/2004 1:49:43 PM, viewed 1852 times
Irrational Hypertrophy / Energetic theory of muscle growth

I′ve been reading the book Supertraining, and must say, so far this book is blowing away anything else I′ve read. It′s extremely technical but yet easily read and understood. I have run accross a few things that really stood out and thought I′d post two of them.

*Irrational Hypertrophy

I′ve read some internet articles on this but for some reason they didn′t do it justice. First, I must mention ′Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy′; we discussed this in another thread and I have found some new info. on it. First, most people think it′s a ′way to get huge′ without increasing the contractile apparatus. Yes and no… Yes, it does add to the size of a muscle fiber, but not a lot directly. Some but not as much as sarcomere hypetrophy does. Also, some studies that showed no sarcoplasmic hypertrophy I′m finding are due to the subjects, ie weightlifers. They do not train in a way that can increase this component. Sarcoplasm is the ′goo′ in the fiber. It′s full of lipids, glycogen and mitochondria. Exercise that demands prolonged energy does indeed cause increases in this component. It, in and of itself, will not increase the size of a fiber a lot, but it′s function will support growth.

The idea if one trains with very low volume ie HIT, HD and must extend recovery is indeed correct. But it does not have to be this way. What happens is, if we train HD or HIT, we cause increases in the myofibrils without increases in the sarcoplasm or capillaries. The energy in the sarcoplasm and fresh supply from the blood is where our recovery components ′come from′. By having more and more fibrils that need repair and proportionally less energy and blood, it takes longer and longer to recover.

Also, a false upper limit to size can be reached, eventually the fibers cannot support even the energy requirements for a workout with the proportionally lower quantity of sarcoplasm. Growth stops. All strength gains are purely neural.

It doesn′t have to be this way…

By training, at least for certain periods, in ways that increase capillaries and energy stores, recovery will be faster and more myofibrils can be supported. This is where the increases in sarcoplasm help us with size. We need to keep the ratio more optimal.

*Energetic Theory of Muscle Growth

I′ve seen this refered to but never explained before. So far, it is the most accepted reason for hypertrophy, and makes enough sense that it does seem to be correct.

Most adaptations in the body seem to come from ′overshoot′ ie something is depleted or damaged and the body tries to ′fix that while the damage or depletion is still occuring′ it turns up the ′juice′ so to speak, after the stimulator has stopped, things stay ′turned up′ for too long afterwards causing this overshoot.

Muscle fibers are constantly being broken down and rebuilt, whether we train or not. There is protein synthesis always going on. Protein synthesis requires ATP for energy to initiate this. Exercise also requires ATP. During exercise, ATP is being used for contraction, this stops protein synthesis due to the lack of available energy. (It does not, however, mean we deplete ATP that much, just that it′s use is directed elsewhere, namely for contraction instead of protein synthesis). During this time, genetic programming does ′know′ that protein synthesis should be going on, but since it cannot, it turns up the ′need′. Once exercise ceases, suddenly all that ATP is now available for protein synthesis, this plus the new setpoint that was established during exercise, equals higher synthesis and/or reduced break down. It takes a couple days for things to drop back down and equalize. During this time though, we get the benefit by growing. The body makes more myofibrils then are needed to replace the ones that are replaced during normal protein turnover cycles.

Hope you guys find that as fascinating as I did! It sure opens my eyes as to how things work, why we have sticking points, how we can manipulate our recovery, etc.

Az

This Topic has 27 Replies: Displaying out of 27 Replies:

dafortae (a, a, U.S.A.) on 12/22/2004 2:34:06 PM

Hey Az,

Thanks for the great information.

Those things are pretty much what I always thought all along, but it′s nice to have more "support" for them. I always thought our bodies went through a "muscle transformation" of converting the internal size from more mitochondria (volume training) to more myofibrils (high intensity). That′s why it looks like a lot of us "shrink" after not working out for a couple of weeks. I think that′s one way to tell what our muscles are comprised more of. If someone shrinks after doing HIT for a few weeks, or after a SHORT layoff, their muscles are probably more mitochondria. If one′s muscles STAYS the SAME after LONG layoffs, their muscles are probably more myofibrils. So, in the transition period of volume training to HIT, one may shrink while getting larger. Eventually though, the myofibril increases will bypass the INITIAL size from the more numerous/larger mitochondria, and KEEP bypassing until strength gains stop.

I could see how not having enough energy components may limit growth, but I kind of doubt it. The reason is because we ALWAYS have enough energy to do our sets with low volume AND get stronger, so why would there not be enough energy for growth? I understand the theory, but I have my doubts about it.

Also, you know me about ATP energy loss causing growth. I′ve always thought this. I didn′t know the technical internals of HOW this happened, but I always felt it was the case. It′s a RELATIVE energy loss too, based on the current muscle size and activity.

Very cool information. So did they give any kind of recommendations on how to promote mitochondria growth WITHOUT doing high volume? Can higher reps accomplish this?

Darrell

Analyzer (CDA, id, U.S.A.) on 12/22/2004 5:07:58 PM

"I could see how not having enough energy components may limit growth, but I kind of doubt it. The reason is because we ALWAYS have enough energy to do our sets with low volume AND get stronger, so why would there not be enough energy for growth? I understand the theory, but I have my doubts about it."

What happens is you actually don′t have enough to train hard enough to stimulate growth. Your failure point would keep lowering. Imagine, you have the same amount of energy to supply double the muscle size, you′d run out of energy a lot sooner….

"Also, you know me about ATP energy loss causing growth. I′ve always thought this. I didn′t know the technical internals of HOW this happened, but I always felt it was the case. It′s a RELATIVE energy loss too, based on the current muscle size and activity."

He actually discusses the "ATP deficit theory", this is simular but a bit different. Rather than running low and that causing the growth, it′s that ATP is re-directed to contraction and this leaves the protein synthesis machine without energy while the contractions are going on. This also means it′s not how deep we deplete, but how long were depleted. This matches more with your idea of we can′t turn the machine on harder, just turn it on and leave it on longer. 🙂

"Very cool information. So did they give any kind of recommendations on how to promote mitochondria growth WITHOUT doing high volume? Can higher reps accomplish this?"

So far I haven′t gotten to any recommendations yet, he refered to higher volumes. I am thinking the way it′s going so far (will keep reading and updating) that periods of strength/endurance could stave off the problem of irrational hypertrophy. He also is making the distinction between just mitochondria growth and "sarcoplasmic hypertrophy" almost like mitochondria are just a peice of it. Ie you can increase the mitochondria without increasing the sarcoplasmic contents.

I′ll see if I can find a decent online article about irrational hypertrophy.

Thanks for the great comments!

Az

Analyzer (CDA, id, U.S.A.) on 12/22/2004 5:19:33 PM

Darrell-

Read this article, it explains it really well! 🙂

http://www.engr.mun.ca/~butt/training/growth2.html

dafortae (a, a, U.S.A.) on 12/22/2004 9:02:34 PM

Hey Az,

"What happens is you actually donŒt have enough to train hard enough to stimulate growth. Your failure point would keep lowering. Imagine, you have the same amount of energy to supply double the muscle size, youŒd run out of energy a lot sooner…."

Wouldn′t this be ideal? This would mean you could do less reps and less work and grow quicker with less damage.

"He actually discusses the "ATP deficit theory", this is simular but a bit different. Rather than running low and that causing the growth, itŒs that ATP is re-directed to contraction and this leaves the protein synthesis machine without energy while the contractions are going on. This also means itŒs not how deep we deplete, but how long were depleted. This matches more with your idea of we canŒt turn the machine on harder, just turn it on and leave it on longer. :-)"

I see what you′re saying. There is a threshold for "stimulation" like Mike says about turning the switch on and leaving it on. Yeah, like you said, I′ve thought in those ways too and that makes sense to me. The thing about that is the only way we can ACCURATELY measure we′re still "in the zone" for stimulation is to CONTINUE to resist as long as possible on the positive, static, and until the negative completes. If we do drop sets, this may put us out of the "zone" of stimulation for a while UNTIL we once again pass into the "zone". This again would explain why Mike always said drop sets suck. Rest pause would be better because you would cut out the time required to get back into the zone, thus they would work a lot better.

"He also is making the distinction between just mitochondria growth and "sarcoplasmic hypertrophy" almost like mitochondria are just a peice of it. Ie you can increase the mitochondria without increasing the sarcoplasmic contents. "

Yeah, that′s what I should have been talking about. I always talk mitochondria when referring to the energy components even though sarcoplasmic components contribute to the size.

Very cool stuff. Keep me up to date!

Darrell

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