Fast & Furious Protein Synthesis

Muscles respond to resistance training by increasing the rate of catabolic breakdown and the anabolic response known as protein synthesis. When synthesis exceeds breakdown, the result is muscle growth. Canadian scientists from McMaster University wanted to measure the rate of protein synthesis in trained versus untrained subjects, so they had 10 healthy young men participate in 8 weeks of intense knee extension training. They trained only one leg, using the non-exercised leg as their 'control' group.

After this 8-week conditioning period, the effects of a bout of exercise were measured on both legs using muscle biopsies and ingested amino acid markers. The rate of protein synthesis was 162% in the trained legs 4 hours following exercise and returned to normal after a period of 28 hours. The rate of protein synthesis in the untrained legs was 108% after 4 hours and stood at 70% after 28 hours.

The Bigger Picture: Remember when you first started pumping iron? That early progress was quite impressive. But then you hit a plateau and had to watch your diet more closely and mix up your workout routine. To keep protein synthesis primed for gains, experienced bodybuilders should continue a program of progressive resistance adding weight and reps as needed while giving each body part sufficient time (approximately 72 hours) to fully recover between sessions. Great suggestions for mixing up your workout can be found at Read the series of Breaking News posts on the Weider Training Principles.
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