The major reason for muscle atrophy is a lack of physical activity. To put it simply, it occurs when muscles waste away, and can happen when an injury or disease makes it impossible or difficult to move a leg or an arm.
One of the symptoms of muscle atrophy is when a limb appears smaller than the other one.
Symptoms and Causes
A person may be suffering from muscle atrophy if they are experiencing weakness in one limb, they have been physically inactive for a long time, and if one of the limbs is noticeably smaller than the other. If you can’t move normally or believe you may have muscle atrophy, talk to your doctor and schedule a complete medical examination. You may be suffering from a condition that’s still undiagnosed and requires urgent treatment.
Muscle atrophy is the result of physical inactivity. Unused muscles can waste away, but it can be reversed with improved nutrition and exercise. It can also happen if you are unable to move certain body parts or are bedridden due to a particular medical condition. For example, astronauts can experience muscle atrophy after a few days spent in weightlessness. Muscle atrophy can also occur due to aging, burns, malnutrition, myopathy (alcohol-associated), stroke, long-term corticosteroid therapy, and peripheral nerve or spinal cord injuries.
The condition can be diagnosed through muscle or nerve biopsy, blood tests, MRI, CT scan, X-rays, and electromyography.
Eating right is important for overcoming muscle atrophy. In the period immediately following a workout, it is critical to consume healthy foods. Whether or not consuming more protein can aid to muscle loss prevention or not is still under debate, and you don’t need to be focusing on protein-based meals alone. With a balanced diet, you will ensure that your muscles get the minerals, vitamins, and amino acids they need to grow and stay strong. Some people even turn to supplementation, like steroids, even though they don’t need to, thus jeopardizing their health in the long run.
Training Approaches for Promoting Hypertrophy
Supersets. Also known as ‘paired sets’, they consist of any two training sets performed in sequence. This technique produces hypertrophic gains because of the metabolic stress it induces. Advisable superset strategies include opposite actions (e.g. a seated row and chest flye), agonist/antagonist (e.g. tricep extensions and bicep curls), upper body only (e.g. a chest press and flye), and lower body only (e.g. a heel raise and lunge), or upper body/lower body (e.g. a leg press and chest press).
Eccentric Training. Eccentric training leads to greater muscle gains. A particular eccentric training technique, the “supramaximal technique”, is great for eccentric contractions. It includes lifting a weight that is 105-125% of the trainee’s maximum load, lowering the weight eccentrically in 3-5 seconds. This exercise is performed with the help of a personal trainer.
Descending-weight and drop sets. When it comes to these sets, countless variations are possible. For example, you can perform 8 reps of a dumbbell lateral raise with 35lbs to failure, then leave the dumbbells and do 8 reps with 25lbs to failure, and then drop to 8 reps with 15lbs to failure. A sequential drop of 10%-30% is the most appropriate for this technique, depending on the trainee.
Alternating rest periods between multiple sets. Three types of rest periods are typically used in strength exercises: short (no more than 30 seconds), moderate (60-90 seconds), and long (3 minutes or more). A significant amount of metabolic stress (which is a potent hypertrophy stimulator) can be caused by short rest periods. However, higher workloads are needed for achieving a proper muscle overload, and it’s harder to obtain them with shorter rest periods between multiple sets. Thus, rest periods should be alternated, which allows the trainee to create more mechanical tension in some sets and more metabolic stress in others. Both stresses promote muscle hypertrophy.
The physiological benefits and responses to exercising vary according to a person’s age, gender, mechanical overload tolerance, hormonal levels, and fitness level. In order to know what training strategies to use, as well as how much training you need to overcome muscle atrophy, consult your doctor or personal trainer.