The gyms are opening: should we start from scratch or do muscles have memory? – Health info

The gyms will reopen on Wednesday 1 July after more than 15 weeks. Finally you can get back on the spinning bike, the strength equipment and the weights. But do you have to start all over again or are you in shape quickly because of the muscle memory?

If you have done a home workout once a week during the lockdown, your physical condition will have been maintained. At least if you have not replaced the strength training with a cardio training.

Sander Kers, strength training expert, says that when you do about one-ninth of your normal training volume, you keep most of your shape. But when you have mainly hung on the couch in the lockdown, you have lost a few hundred grams of muscle mass. Then, according to Sander, you should take into account that the build-up takes just as long as the time that you have been inactive.

What Is Muscle Memory?

Muscle memory is the term used for the phenomenon that experienced strength athletes build up muscle strength more quickly after a period of inactivity. Whether muscle memory really exists is not agreed upon by science.

But according to the strength training expert, there are indications that you will continue to benefit from a period of vigorous training for at least five to ten years. Even if you then sit still for a long time. This would be because the number of cell nuclei in the muscles increases through training. These cells don’t just disappear.

Muscle memory is a hot topic at the moment. Both with athletes and in science. The clues about muscle memory have been found in animals. It has not been proven in humans so far. But in practice we see it happen that people quickly regain their muscles. Many more factors play a role in this.

Luc van Loon, professor of physiology of exercise and nutrition at Maastricht University, states that there are clear indications that people who have exercised before are more likely to return to their old level later. According to Luc, this is due to it motor memory and to the genetics, or also your talent.

Muscles build strength first, then size

After a period of training, the strength of the muscle increases rapidly. Increasing the size of the muscles takes much longer. The muscles first work more efficiently, only then the body adapts. And the body only adapts if the training is consistently maintained. Often people have already lost their motivation.

As the construction goes, so does the demolition. During inactivity the muscle strength decreases first. Only then does the size of the muscles decrease. The body just doesn’t adapt that quickly. It first waits whether the period of training or inactivity lasts long enough. Adjustments to the body take a lot of energy. The body is as economical as possible with energy.

Start building slowly

Even though there are indications of the existence of muscle memory, build up the training again slowly. Don’t start training like crazy again. The fastest way to get back to the old level is to train in doses and consistently. If you pick up your old training routine too quickly, Cherry will cause serious muscle damage. This damage must first recover before the muscle can grow. This will only take longer.

Sander Kers advises to allow eight to twelve weeks for a good and gradual build-up. Adequate rest is important. A muscle only gets stronger during rest. By training you damage the muscle a little bit. In the rest period afterwards, the muscle is made stronger, so that the same training does not cause more damage in the future. So the muscle does not get stronger during training, but during rest time. In addition, nutrition is extremely important for a good build-up of muscle strength. Eat enough protein and avoid alcohol. Alcohol causes muscles to break down.