Scientifically proven: muscles have memory! In the gym, muscle memory is one of the main factors in recovery after a long break. They often say “muscles remember”, and it’s not easy.
If you read this article, then find out for yourself why this ability is precious to everyone.
How it works
Imagine a professional bodybuilder with 120 kg of lean muscle mass. Let’s say he was injured in a car accident and couldn’t train for two years. During this period, he lost 40 kg (shrunk to 80 kg). And regardless of the fact that two years have passed, his body will always remember that it once had such muscles. This is because the muscularis (fascia) has been stretched for this size.
This bodybuilder had a twin brother with the same genetics, but always weighed 80 kg and never went in for iron sports. They both started training on the same training program. A twin who was 120 kg will gain weight much faster than his brother. His muscles will grow much faster, as he has already stretched them (like rubber), and they remain more elastic even if you haven’t exercised for a long time.
Muscles have both a memory of their size and strength. If you could bench press, for example, 100 kg in the bench, then after a long pause, you will quickly return to the same numbers. Also, muscles have fast memory, if you lift the same weight in several approaches, then, often, the third will be the lightest.
Another situation is when you are a beginner and have just come to the gym, then the weight of the bar can be raised a little, but already in the next workout, the weight lifted will be large due to the fact that the muscles remember movements. In the first workout, the muscles spend a lot of energy in order to balance the bar, hold it and raise it in a straight line. But after you get the first experience, the muscles will remember what movements you need to perform and the next time there will be more strength and energy to lift the weight.
Another reason for the sharp increase in strength after several weeks of training is that the nerves in the muscles remember the path to the brain and the next time they transmit information faster. Thus, when your muscles remember movements, the brain tells them: “you know what this exercise is and how to do it.”
Muscle volumes will decrease in a short period of time, much faster than you gained them, if you quit training. But muscle memory will be active for much longer than you might imagine. It can be compared to a bicycle, if you once learned to ride, you will never lose such skills.
How quickly to recover
It doesn’t matter if you’ve ever used doping or not, muscle memory will allow you to regain the mass that you had.
Muscle memory plays an important role in choosing a program for beginners. What program to take first after a break, for weight loss or for gaining muscle mass?
If your body fat percentage is no more than 25 percent, then the answer is simple, take the muscle building program right away. As you build muscle, you will lose body fat. Now, if you take a training program for weight loss, then the loss of a certain percentage of muscles will be inevitable.
If you have an excessive body fat content, more than 25%, or suffer from a loss of hormonal function, then this is a completely different story, first take a weight loss program. The loss of muscle mass will be balanced in the next phase of your workout. It is especially pleasant when at least some muscles are visible than when they are, but hidden under a layer of fat.
The phenomenon of muscle memory is a generous gift of nature, you can say this: “the muscles that you once built up will serve you all your life.” You can use this if you once were in good shape, but then, for some reason, quit training.