So you may be thinking “What is ‘uniform muscle growth?” – and to answer your question I would say – Uniform muscle growth is the EXACT opposite of the type of muscle growth you normally see in someone who is weight training.
Contraction dependent muscle growth (also called work induced muscle growth) is “Non-Uniform Muscle growth”. Using new measurement techniques we are finding regional differences in muscle activation along a muscle during exercise – and where this activation occurs seems to be dependent on the exercise of choice.
Meaning weight training can affect different parts of the same muscle in different ways – as an example if you do bicep curls you don’t stimulate growth equally along your entire bicep..some parts get ‘hit’ more than others.
From what I have found the difference seems to be along the ‘length’ of the muscle – so sometimes the effect is more ‘proximal’ and sometimes it’s more in the middle.
As an example – if you were to train Biceps 3 times a week, for 12 weeks and I were to graph the Cross Sectional Area of you Biceps before and after those 12 weeks, the graph would look like this –
The largest changes happen in the middle of the muscle. As a more illustrated example we can use the picture below – most of the growth would occur at “B”
This regional difference seems to be dependent on the muscle and the exercise – sometimes the majority of the growth is right in the middle, sometimes it’s closer to the shoulder.
So what does this all have to do with steroids?
Well, we now have some pretty concrete evidence that contraction induced muscle growth causes non-uniform muscle growth – parts of the muscle (typically the middle) grow MORE than others when stimulated by contractions (Weight training).
So here’s my theory – With steroid use, especially at high doses, you are essentially BATHING the muscle in anabolic signals for days and weeks and months.
The WHOLE muscle gets the anabolic signal.
Thus, you may get a different muscle growth pattern when using steroids.
Back to our bicep example – a steroid user may see a more uniform growth in his Bicep. So not only would the middle of the muscle increase in size (B), so would that parts closer to the shoulder AND the parts closer to the elbow (A & C).
My bet is that steroid use creates a different ‘look’ than people who are just weight training. It may also explain why steroid users can simply get ‘bigger’ than the non-users – it could just be that they are getting more growth in areas of the muscle that simply will not grow much without steroid use – while this doesn’t sound like much if you are only thinking ‘biceps’ but consider the same scenario using every muscle in the body..that’s some serious untapped growth potential.
This is all hypothetical of course, and it’s confounded by the fact that the vast majority of steroid users also weight train (so they still get the growth at ‘B’) … But the fact remains that steroid use seems to create a ‘fuller’ looking muscle and now we may know why.