> When a movement is repeated over time, a long-term muscle memory is created for that task, eventually allowing it to be performed without conscious effort.
But this article is about enhanced muscle recovery and volume, not about motor learning. I wonder if that's an abuse of the term "muscle memory" or just a different sense. I'm not finding that sense used in a quick search. But the term is also used in the review paper that this article is about, so apparently it has a specialized sense in that discipline.
According to Wikipedia muscle memory as retained skills isn't about muscle fibers, but neurons.
When it comes down to building muscle mass and 'dexterity', the physiology is fairly well understood. For most athletes today the major issues are in repair/strain and consistency. AKA: Sleep well, eat well, train well, in that order. It is theorized that a lot of the recent gains in MLB pitching are due to improved tendon repair chemical therapies and traditional steroids that focus on bulk (no data here, I think I read it on 538 a few years back)
As you train (that is, try really hard to lift something heavy), you teach your brain that you're going to be lifting heavy things a lot going forward, which makes your brain recruit more muscle fibers when you actually go ahead and lift the thing.
So you're right in one sense, and incomplete in another.
Also why wouldn't evolution just make us all strong all the time if it only requires neurological changes?
For very costly things like strength and brainpower, evolution is ensuring that we have as much as we require, and not a single bit more; and has all kinds of processes for actively reducing strength that you had unless you have both extra calories and the demonstrated need to use that strength; because it saves calories.
It's one of the theories of why homo sapiens out competed neanderthal basically everywhere, we can survive the lean times better.
Iirc they required about twice the average intake of an anatomically modern homo sapiens.
This is probably also why my chest is overdeveloped compared to my back, because I was doing hundreds of pushups back then while neglected any sense of balance sadly.
Except heavy weight bodybuilding of course where it is too obvious.
The vast majority of people could get away with real food and regular training to reach their actual fitness goals; not many people want to be as big as Ronnie Coleman. But if you do want to be a competitive bodybuilder in America, you're going to need more than supplements.
The fitness industry also did a great job of convincing people that supplements are the cause of, not an aid, to muscle growth. I was in the ER once for a broken finger, and the poor kid next to me had been to the ER twice that month for stomach pains, and it turned out he had been sitting at his computer slamming down 10 protein shakes a day and doing nothing else. Just one of many similar anecdotes from when I worked in the industry.
Has anyone done a longitudinal study in this area?
Do we know if devices like Emsculpt work to improve bone density? I don't know how the cell-signalling cascade works for putting more calcium-mineral matrix in bones so maybe muscle contraction repetition initiates the cascade, or maybe it's insufficient by itself?
Full range of movement training also works to shift lymph back toward the left subclavian vein where it joins venous circulation.
The lymphatic system is the primary cellular waste product transport system, and an immune organ in it's own right.
From what I read about the place this is a significantly understated feature of exercise and plays a key role in the idea that bed rest is massively counter productive in convalescences and post surgery recovery / outcomes.
The size of the squat rack is another issue however.
Or this might all just be bro-science, you never know ...
Autophagy might also recycle empty fat cells.
Edit: I understand the reasoning behind why testing is done. I just question if it is really led by safety concerns, fairness and science or just our default knee-jerk "drugs are bad" culture. There are plenty of other safety concerns in sport that are ignored.
That may be part of the answer, but it feels incomplete. Elite training itself is often unhealthy. And doping techniques vary wildly. There are risks to HGH, EPO, anabolic steroids, and blood doping, but they have radically different risk profiles.
I think it's more that people have an idealized notion of athletes accomplishing something through sheer force of will. So... a scientifically designed training regimen seems fine, chemical alterations to your blood chemistry do not. Training at high altitudes is fine, replacing your blood with blood from when you were at high altitudes is not. Overtraining, eating disorders, destroyed tendons, encephalopathy -- none are ideal, but we seem to tolerate them.
Questions about what to tolerate are fuzzy and pervasive. Testosterone levels are monitored in women's competitions and someone has to decide the cutoff. Progressively sleeker swimsuits were fine, until they weren't. Equipment manufacturers generally advertise increased performance, but if they deliver too much too soon, they get banned.
These are all versions of the question, "What is this sport?" It's deceptive. Seems simple, but after examining all the edge cases, it becomes impossible to deduce from pure reason. Ruling bodies just pile on conventions.
A Supreme Court dissent once argued:
"[S]ince it is the very nature of a game to have no object except amusement (that is what distinguishes games from productive activity), it is quite impossible to say that any of a game’s arbitrary rules is ‘essential.’ Eighteen-hole golf courses, 10-foot-high basketball hoops, 90-foot baselines, 100-yard football fields – all are arbitrary and none is essential. The only support for any of them is tradition and (in more modern times) insistence by what has come to be regarded as the ruling body of the sport[.]"
Banning some supplements but not others is perfectly reasonable, but the fine lines are going to be somewhat arbitrary.
There's a relevant SNL sketch:
People are not especially against the science but drugs. Because drugs being drugs come all also with side effects.
When athletes taking the drugs win then it forces other non taking athletes to take the drugs too making them involuntarily put their health into risk.
That is not fair. That is the best reasonable explanation I have been able to come up with.
This would be argument against allowing drugs.
But this I think is not what the most people are against of. The current situation is that the drugs are not allowed. People who still take them gain an unfair advantage. Well, that is not fair.
Take epo for instance. What makes epo risky is not epo, but the increase in red blood cells. Now other things that increase red blood cells like intense training at high altitudes have the same risk. But we always draw the line with drugs.
It's definitely cultural. Imagine a ruling body finds out about a performance enhancing drug and a performance enhancing technique. They have the same risks. Which gets banned?
I'd struggle to believe that a person could succeed in, say, an Olympic athletics event without a top-quality nutritionist and team of trainers, probably including in-depth analysis of their biomechanical patterns and minute adjustments they need to make. Even with famous stories like Usain Bolt's McDonald's habits, he's probably had a nutritionist evaluate and design a custom diet based around his liking of McNuggets.
In some very real sense, the poor kid who doesn't have access to this team will never be able to compete, regardless of his 'natural' talent. The same is probably true across a large, large proportion of elite sports.
Now, obviously, we have a system where if you demonstrate enough talent you ideally get pulled into academies or teams or structures where you do start to get access to these teams and facilities - but then if that's the case, how does it matter if the teams are providing non-drug-enhanced meals designed for peak performance or drugged-enhanced meals designed for peak performance?
1) He was gifted at jumping, but got exceptionally unlucky with timing in that his natural abilities were at their peak when he first tried jumping and basically declined constantly thereafter.
2) High-jump training is far from optimized (at least for all athletes), and potentially has a lot to gain from adopting basketball training techniques, since clearly those worked better for Thomas.
In either case, I'm not sold that this story is representative of a general trend whereby the science of the world can only take you so far - simply because those with incredible natural talent, more often than not, also have incredible science already backing them these days. At the elite levels, my strong belief is that it takes both.
If we wanted competitive sports to be equal and fair, we'd raise all the athletes from childhood in the same environment with the same training/coaches.
Barring that, it's not fair at all.
Ref: Jamaican Bobsleigh team: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamaica_national_bobsleigh_tea...
(note: I'm obviously not advocating for leveling the playing field by raising athletes from childhood in some dystopian nightmare scenario)
It's a race to the bottom kind of situation. There are plenty of substances that have been shown to not have any side effects but act as performance boosters( creatinine comes in mind) that are perfectly legal and every athlete uses. So I think steroid bans are meant to protect athletes.
Because the only point of sports is human performance. If we wanted to use science, we'd use machines instead.
Even just weightlifting on a professional level seems to harm a person's body, but it's only visible once they become older. You can't easily claim that "we ban drugs from sports because it damages people's health" when the sport itself also damages people's health.
Or maybe their trainers were giving it to them in the offseason and they didn't quite get rid of it all before season's end.
I think it would be more surprising if this kind of thing didn't happen.
But, in the medical sense, there are a number of layers that restrict access to substances, even over the counter drugs are subject to regulation and laws, as well as prescription drugs, research chemicals, known toxins, and hazardous chemicals. All for many different reasons.
The class of anabolic steroids that body builders and weight lifters use are definitely going to land you in jail if you have them or provide them to a peer.
It doesn’t mean they are completely unavailable, but really, they are almost entirely outlawed to the same degree as crack, meth and so many other drugs around the world. Often veterinarians are the black or grey market source.
They cause harm, to the point of leaving behind a wake of debilitating destruction among the lives of users, causing awful damage that emerges later, in ruinously subtle ways, or suddenly killing without warning, by way of cardiac problems or strokes.
People use them, the results can be frightening and permanent, and a few years later, deadly.
> People use them, the results can be frightening and permanent, and a few years later, deadly.
This is exaggerated. There is an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and maybe irritability at high doses. Closer to the risks of taking a medication than a street drug.
Which street drugs? The comparison reminds of making the distinction between "natural" and "chemical" drugs. Sounds nice if you want to convey an image but not a sensible generalization. You will find quite a lot of street drugs that are less dangerous then some types of medication and vice versa.
All of those are quite a bit more dangerous than the average medicine you get prescribed by our doctor just because of addiction potential and inconsistent quality of the end product.
Unless you are talking about the purity of the product, i dont see a sensible case for the comparison of street drugs with pharmaceuticals.
But nothing prevents people from using them, same with other drugs like cocaine and heroine.
Furthermore, for other drugs like cocaine and heroine, in many countries not only distribution is banned, but also possession and use itself.
Now interesting question is: if someone wants to have big muscles - is it serious disease? In some sense it's similar to silicon breast implants - in both cases it's mental 'disease'/disfunction/discomfort - so some doctor's help is needed. Or surgery due to bad looking nose eg.
Anabolic steroids are a Class C drug in the UK so in general are illegal to possess and distribute unless prescribed.
Steroids are not legal lol
They are legal medicine
Anabolic steroids are illegal in the US and UK (unless otherwise prescribed) whilst
most of the other classes in the UK at least are not illegal to possess or even distribute
So they are legal - only access is controlled (prescription from doctor).
Alcohol and cigarettes are legal - only access is controlled (age).
Violence is legal - only access is controlled (police).
Tortures are not legal - no one has access to do that.
Capital punishment is not legal (in some countries) - no one has access to do that.
But let's assume it was, I don't think ethics ever came into question when making substances illegal.
What I was turning up didn't seem particularly new, but the consensus seemed to be you could expect return to previous performance levels(in strength anyway) in about 12 weeks or so of proper training and diet.. Almost regardless of how long you have been off. Obviously there are exceptions and extremes that probably don't play out that way, but this has also been about my experience of on-and-off again body building and strength training for the past 15 years.
Often the nervous system recovers too fast in my experience. One can ramp up work effort way faster than the muscles and tendons are prepared for, particularly stabilizing components, resulting in strains and pains. Sticking to a ramp up plan is, IMHO, almost as hard as quitting smoking but crucial.