More Muscle Growth and Music

 

Look Beyond the Confines of  Convention For More Muscle Growth.

When I ask you to think of your two or three favorite sports supplements, what comes to mind?
Creatine … beta alanine … protein powder, maybe?

When we think of a performance-boosting supplement, typically what comes to mind is something we ingest, like creatine. However, science has shown us that if we bother to look beyond the confines of convention, what we find is a whole other realm of “ergogenic aids,” which don’t come in powders or pills.  Among the most potent of these unconventional performance “supplements,” according to recent research, is music.


The fact that we’re influenced by music should come as no big shocker.



 Those who work out to techno or head-bangin’ rock ’n’ roll have long recognized the intoxicating power of an adrenaline spiking song. But recent studies show that music does more than just get us going or “pump us up.” It may actually alter the body’s physiology, or as Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Famer Carlos Santana puts it, “rearrange the molecular structure of the listener.”

The most recent of these studies investigating this peculiar phenomenon comes from the Department of Life Sciences at England’s Nottingham Trent University. In this study, published last year in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, Dr. Attila Szabo and colleagues set out to investigate whether musical tempo and its manipulation during exercise affect maximal workload (measured in watts) achieved during progressive cycling.


To test this, the researchers recruited 24 male and female college students and had them each cycle in five separate test sessions that included exercising to no music (control); slow music; fast music; slow-to-fast music and finally fast-to-slow music. In the last two conditions, musical tempo was changed when the participant’s heart rate reached 70 percent of maximum.
In all test sessions, the participants started to cycle at 50 watts and then the workload was increased in increments of 25 watts every minute until self-declared exhaustion. Maximal-effort cycling was defined as the workload at the last completed minute of exercise.


Dr. Szabo's Conclusion:

According to Dr. Szabo, results showed that a significantly higher workload was accomplished when the participants worked out to progressively “faster-paced” music. “The participants preferred the slow-to-fast music sessions more than the other sessions,” says Dr. Szabo. “Switching to slow-to-fast music during progressive exercise results in the accomplishment of more work without proportional changes in heart rate.”

Whether these effects are due to an actual “rearrangement of the molecular structure” of the exerciser or simply to distraction from fatigue isn’t clear. What is apparent, however, is the powerful effect progressively faster paced music can have on increasing exercise workload. And, when you think about it, that’s all most conventional sports supplements do. Remember, typical supplements like creatine, for instance, have little direct effect on muscle size and strength. Instead, the accrual of strength is a response related to a greater workload and intensity of training that can be achieved.

Of course, with creatine, or any other supplement for that matter, consistency is the key to achieving a desired result. So, it stands to reason, if done consistently over a period of months, listening to progressively faster-paced, uplifting music during your workouts could very well be associated with an enhanced accrual of not only cardiovascular conditioning (as shown in this study) but perhaps even muscle strength in intense weight-training programs

How Long Should I Rest Between Workouts?

Here's How Long You Should Rest Body Parts Between Workouts:


Rest is very important in any weight-training athlete’s program.

 As many of us have learned the hard way, lifting every day can lead to overtraining and even injury. But just how long should you let a muscle group recover before you train it again anyway?


That’s what Canadian researchers recently set out to discover. To do this, they looked at the rate of protein synthesis (muscle growth) after a heavy biceps weight-training session. By knowing how long muscle protein synthesis is elevated following a workout, we can figure out how long it takes for that muscle to recover.

In the study, muscle protein synthesis was measured after four sets of single arm biceps curls at 80 percent of the subjects’ one-rep max for a total of 12 sets. Each set was performed to failure, and a three- to four-minute rest period was allowed between sets.


The results of the study, which were published in the Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology, showed that four hours after exercise, the rate of muscle protein synthesis was 50 percent greater in the exercised arm compared to the nonexercised arm. Twenty-four hours after exercise, the rate of muscle protein synthesis was 110 percent in the exercised arm. By 36 hours after exercise, the rate of muscle protein synthesis was only 14 percent greater than the control group.


According to the researchers, the most effective training frequency would be such that the next training session for the same body part would not occur until the protein synthesis rate for that body part returned to its pre-training rate. For a small muscle group like the biceps, this looks to be no earlier than 36 hours. Larger muscle groups, such as the quadriceps, may take even longer to recover.

Bottom line: 

Training a body part before its synthesis rate returns to the pre-exercise rate may actually be detrimental to the muscle and lead to overtraining. If you want to grow, you need to take time to let your body recover.


Do You Want Bigger Biceps?

Do You Want Bigger Biceps? Load Up the Squat Bar. 

Here's Breaking Research You'll Want:

Monster Mix

European Journal of Applied Physiology:

A new study suggests that virtually every weight trainer who has consistently gone above and beyond “perceived” muscle failure has experienced the mysterious effect intense leg training can have on developing the muscles of the upper body.

Indeed, it’s a peculiar phenomenon where, seemingly, the more intensely a person trains his legs, the more muscle he’s able to pack onto his chest, back, bis, and tris.

For a long time, researchers didn’t know the exact physiological basis behind this phenomenon but postulated that it might stem from an effect whereby an intense workout “encourages” the body to release powerful anabolic hormones, which in turn improve whole-body protein metabolism (muscle growth).

In an effort to test this hypothesis, a team of exercise physiologists from the Norwegian University of Sport and Physical Education recently studied the hormonal responses of male weight trainers to high- and moderate-intensity leg workouts—with the results confirming the vital importance of training intensity for weight trainers wanting to maximize muscle growth.

In the study, which was published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, Dr. Truls Raastad and colleagues had nine male weight trainers perform one moderate and one high-intensity strength exercise workout.

In the high-intensity workout, the load was 100% of each subject’s three-repetition maximum for squats and front squats, and 100% of each subject’s six-repetition maximum for leg extensions.

In the moderate-intensity workout, the load was 70% of the high-intensity protocol. Rest periods between sets were four to six minutes for both workouts. Blood samples were taken before, 30 minutes into, and every 15 minutes for the first hour after exercise.

Results showed that the acute response of the body’s primary muscle-building hormone testosterone was significantly greater during the high-intensity protocol as compared to the moderate-intensity protocol.

In addition, high-intensity exercise also stimulated a substantial release of growth hormone, although the release of this anabolic hormone didn’t seem to be as directly related to exercise intensity as was testosterone.

Pretty cool, isn’t it?

Make no mistake, training legs with 100% intensity is not a lazy person’s game—it requires discipline, drive, and determination.

But the rewards, according to this research, are well worth it.

It seems not only will intense leg training help you build strong, muscular legs, it will also help stimulate anabolic hormones that will make your upper-body workouts even more effective.

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