Muscle Memory And Its Importance In Bodybuilding


Muscle Memory And Its Importance In Bodybuilding

The Memory of the Muscles: the Body Remembers

It is scientifically proven: muscles have a memory! Muscle memory refers to the muscles ability to achieve a certain size again after previously being there. In the gym world, regaining muscle after taking time off from training is called “muscle memory.” Thank God for muscle memory! If you read this post you will figure it out why this amazing ability is precious for every human being.

Real-Life Example

Imagine a professional bodybuilder with 120kg of solid muscles. Let’s say he had injured himself in a car accident and hadn’t been able to train for two years. During this period of time he lost 40kg (shrunk to 80kg). Regardless, his body will always remember having these muscles. This is because the muscles casing (fascia) has been stretched to this size previously.

If this bodybuilder had an identical twin with the same genetics, who had never been over 80kg, and they both began working out together, the twin who had been 120kg would pack on the pounds much faster than his brother. His muscle would fill out the casing much easier as it had already been previously stretched, much like a rubber band stays partially stretched if you keep it stretched for a long period of time.

This ability of our muscles is based on internal structural changes of the developed musculature which are kept even when the muscles regress again. It’s easier to come back to a previous level of muscle mass development than if we had to reach such a level for the first time.

Understanding muscle memory

Muscle Memory and Weight Training Skills

You may be able to lift more weight after just one weight-lifting workout. This isn’t because you’ve built up more muscle. It’s mainly because your weight-training skills have improved. The first time you try the bench press, for example, you waste a lot of energy trying to balance the bar, keep it steady, and move it in a straight line. But after you get the hang of the process — typically after one weight-lifting session — you’re able to put all your energy into lifting the weight.

Another reason you develop strength after just a few weeks of working out is that, in a sense, your muscles have memory. Your nerves, the pathways that link your brain and muscles, learn how to carry information more quickly — much like the speed-dial feature on your telephone. So after learning an exercise, your brain tells your muscles, “You know what this is. Go for it.”

Infinite Memory – Muscles Will Never Forget

The gains of muscular exercise are lost through lack of activity about as fast as they were gained. On the other hand, muscle memory is active far be­yond the time when the activity was discontinued. This is very similarly as when you are able to ride a bicycle or type long after you have ceased your practice.

Important Applications of Muscle Memory

Whether doping or not, muscle memory plays an important role in the concept of the athletes workout. For example, those who want to improve their own definition through a programme for fat reduction, won’t have to worry particularly about the loss of musculature which is expected anyway. In fact, muscle memory allows to regain muscle mass, eventually lost, very quickly and even without the excessive risk of increasing fat that would result.

Muscle memory represents an important basis for decision regarding the most popular query among beginners, i.e. if it is necessary to first lose the mass of fat and then increase the muscle mass or vice versa.

In general, you should first build your muscles. This is especially true if you don’t have excessive body fat percentage. During the cutting phase you will lose body fat. Unfortunately, it is inevitable that while on cutting phase, you will lose some muscle mass to. Thanks to the muscle memory, any muscle lost during the cutting cycle will be much easier to gain the next time when you initiate new bulking cycle.

If you have excessive body fat percentage than this is totally different story. Due to the fact that the body, in case of a relatively high mass of fat of 25% for example, suffers from a loss of hormonal functions (for example with regards to insulin and testosterone) as well as from a worsening of physical appearance, the first thing to do should be to reduce body fat. The consequent loss of muscle mass can be slightly balanced at a further stage. Increasing the musculature is particularly pleasant when the muscles obtained through the workout are “visible” and not hidden under a layer of fat.


The phenomenon of muscle memory is a generous gift of nature, as it means: “the muscles you developed at least once will favour you all lifelong”. You can use this to your advantage when bulking and then cutting. Any muscle lost during the cutting cycle will be much easier to gain the next time around when you are bulking, and this very much plays into the idea of cycling your diet regimes.


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