One last muscle building post for this week.
(Mostly because they typically happen as a result of an injury).
But here’s the truth about lay offs – They can actually help you build muscle.
Now, I know that mentally time off from training can be really, really tough, but physically they may hold a lot of benefit.
So here’s the basic premise…We don’t know exactly why, but after a two week period of being in a cast the cross sectional area of the muscles in your leg can decrease by around 10% (you lose muscle size).
After 10 weeks of rehab, the cross-sectional area can increase by around 15% (you gain muscle size)
Lose muscle now to build muscle later?
Again, I have no idea why this occurs..call it supercompensation or look to myogenic transcription factors like myogenin, MRF4, Myf5 and MyoD…whatever the case may be, time off could be an extremely useful tool for muscle growth purposes.
I talked this over with John Barban (JohnBarban.com) and Jay Ferruggia (jasonferruggia.com) and they agreed with the concept off off time and wave training (periods of high volume and high frequency followed by periods of lower volume and frequency, but still working hard in the gym).
JB said he’d rather people take two weeks off then take two weeks of just ‘going through the motions’ in the gym, since ‘going through the motions’ creates bad habits..you never want to get in the habit of ‘half-assing it’.
Jay had the following to say:
I fully agree with the wave theory. My football players have proven that to me every summer for the last 16 years… I always think if they trained like that for 12 months instead of 12 weeks the gains would be only slightly more impressive
(Granted Jay’s just being nice because I said his new Minimalist training program was really good)
Anyways, now I’m rambling so…long story short
Time off every once-in-a-while may mean more muscle growth later on.
PS- the increase in cross-sectional area was even greater when people took creatine during their rehab.