Muscle building: Our muscles have a memory for successful training

Muscle building: Our muscles have a memory for successful training

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If muscles have been well trained, they will grow faster later

Muscles have a memory, researchers at Keele University in England found. In DNA attachments, the muscles store memories of earlier growth and benefit later when they are rebuilt. According to the scientists, they grow stronger and faster if they have been well trained before. The previous training had changed the gene activity in the muscle cells in such a way that the genes in the muscle "remember" an earlier growth, which helps them to get bigger in the further course of life.

Using the latest techniques, researchers from the Universities of Keele, Liverpool, John Moores, Northumbria and Manchester Metropolitan have examined over 850,000 sites in human DNA and discovered special chemical labels. The researchers were able to associate these markings with the fact that a muscle grows faster during training, if it has already been trained and has returned to a normal state. The research results were published in the scientific reports.

How do the muscles remember?

The "markers" or "tags" called epigenetic modifications, which the researchers discovered in the muscles, control the gene and determine whether it should be active or passive, like an on / off switch. The actual gene itself is not changed. Dr. Adam Sharples, the study's lead author, explains how the genes are unlabeled with the epigenetic information when they are trained. "It is important that these genes remain unmarked even if we lose muscle again," Sharples explains in a press release from Keele University about the study results. In later life, this condition was associated with muscles reacting to exercise with greater muscle growth.

Far-reaching consequences for athletes possible

These findings could have serious consequences for professional athletes, because the scientists found that the muscles also remember results that were achieved through performance-enhancing drugs or doping agents. This means that an athlete will benefit permanently from faster muscle building once he has achieved better training results with the help of a doping agent. Thus, short-term bans by doping sinners would not be appropriate, as they have caused long-term changes in DNA through doping.

Doping could have lifelong ramifications

"If a top athlete takes performance-enhancing medication to build muscle, his muscle can remember that previous muscle growth," said Robert A. Seaborne, who was also involved in the study. If the athlete gets caught and is banned, short bans may no longer be appropriate. They would still have an advantage over their competitors because they used doping drugs earlier, even if they are no longer taking doping drugs. In order to confirm this clearly, more research with drugs for muscle building is needed.

The influence of genes in sports injuries

The research results could also affect the way athletes train and recover from injuries. "If an athlete's muscle grows and then hurts and loses muscle, knowing the genes responsible for muscle memory can help people recover later," said Sharples. Further research is important to understand how different exercise programs can help activate these muscle storage genes.

Training for research purposes

In order to check the results of the study, the team around Sharples gave eight athletes intensive training for seven weeks. The participants were then allowed to take a break for seven weeks and then had to do sports for seven weeks. During this period, the athletes were monitored by the researchers and the muscle mass and strength of the men were measured at regular intervals. In addition, tissue samples were taken from the test subjects.

The training results confirm the research

In the first round, the athletes were able to gain over six percent more muscle mass and strength increased by more than nine percent. In the subsequent break, strength and mass decreased again, but remained at a higher level than before the first training session. In the second intensive training session, the athletes were able to build up twelve percent more muscle mass and the strength increased by 18 percent, twice as much as during the first run. (vb)

Author and source information

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