The muscle memory effect helps after longer breaks in training

The muscle memory effect helps after longer breaks in training

Muscle Memory Effect

Phenomena are known worldwide. However, these are rarely found in weight training. However, there is only one phenomenon here - and that describes the muscle memory effect. Whether it was due to professional involvement, illness or simply out of a lack of motivation - a long break from training can significantly reduce training successes achieved up to now.

What is the muscle memory effect?

This effect is a type of memory function that causes muscles that have been lost for various reasons, e.g. can be built up again quickly after a long break from training. The body remembers its former training status, so to speak, and this makes it easier to regain the muscle status it has already achieved.

For many athletes, interruptions in training are inevitable

Many athletes come into the situation at some point in their sporting life - often involuntarily - that they have to interrupt their training. The reasons for the training interruption are very diverse and very different for the athletes. There are many reasons that make regular training suddenly collapse, from illness to intense work-related tension to a simple loss of motivation. Injuries from weight training can also lead to an involuntary break. Even sporting events such as soccer world championships ensure relatively empty fitness centers for weeks and thus training breaks for the strength athletes, who simply attach higher priority to the current and rare event. Especially when a lack of motivation is the reason for the break in training, athletes who have stopped training for weeks or months know how difficult it is to leave the low again.

Restoring the old shape - there is nothing to worry about here

Many strength athletes panic at some point whether they will ever find their way back to their old form. Here one can say: Don't panic, because muscles that have been trained with great effort do not completely lose themselves within a training break. For the athlete this means that he can breathe deeply because, due to the muscle memory effect, he does not have to start from scratch when restarting in sport!

This thought is just as comforting as the muscle memory effect can also be explained. It takes a long time before the body starts to break down defined muscles again. The rule of thumb here is that this breakdown process takes about as long as the time required to build muscle.

If there is a calorie deficit, the muscles that were trained at the time are reduced considerably faster. With a good diet and the intake of suitable supplements, such as high quality proteins for muscle maintenance, the muscle loss can therefore be sensibly reduced even in inactive times. One thing is certain, however: Whenever an athlete goes into sporting inactivity, muscle loss also takes place - sometimes faster, sometimes slower.

Why does the body reduce untrained muscles so quickly?

The explanation is quite simple, because for the human body a defined musculature does not mean a characteristic necessary for survival. Instead, the well-developed muscles should be viewed as a luxury item for the body. However, this so-called luxury good of the body has a relatively high consumption of calories and so the defined muscles are viewed by the body as a pointless furnace of energy. When exercising on the treadmill, rowing machine, elliptical machine or fitness equipment in general, a lot of calories are burned by the body. Unused muscles also mean that the body burns more calories, even when it is at rest. The body therefore endeavors to switch to a reduction mode and to reduce unnecessary energy consumption. In simple terms, this means that the body thinks: This is where there are unused muscles that burn a lot of calories - quickly put them away so that vital functions can always be maintained with enough energy.

For the athlete himself, however, this process means frustration and the desire to start new training is reduced. Despair is not necessary, however, because through the aforementioned muscle memory effect, trained athletes can quickly find their way back to strong muscles even after relatively long training breaks benefit from their benefits - significantly faster than untrained people build their muscles.

How does the muscle memory effect work?

Within the musculature there is a kind of reminder function of old training states, which in turn occurs when entering the new one Strength training for rapid muscle growth to care. With good supplementation and efficient training, a longer break in training can be quickly made up for and overcome.

Scientists have been analyzing this phenomenon for some time, but have not yet reached a conclusion. The research results achieved so far are based on the fact that the body can remember a muscle expression within a certain level of individual nerve pathways. The force values ​​are stored in these nerve tracts and are called up individually when you start training.

The reason for the muscle memory effect

It may seem confusing that the muscle volume decreases significantly during a training break, but the number of trained cell nuclei is largely retained. The training environment has a decisive influence on the muscle memory effect when it comes to building muscle again.

The targeted muscle building is defined by a sensible diet, a quality supplement like protein and continue to have sufficient recovery periods for the muscles. If you take these three factors into account, you can rely on rapid and targeted renewed muscle building even after long breaks.


If you really cannot perceive the training as regularly - even over a longer period of time - as it would make sense, you should not panic immediately against the background of the muscle memory effect. Because of this memory effect, a trained body will find a high-quality diet with the integration of a varied diet Supplementation for building muscle as well as targeted training, you can quickly return to your old form.

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