How Women Can Build Muscle: Muscle Adaptation Explained
I am all about empowering women to get in the gym, lift heavy, and grow muscles like a badass. To grow bigger muscles, perform better, feel stronger, and live an overall healthier life, it requires focus and making fitness a priority. But even more than determination alone, creating an amazing physique requires training our bodies with the right stimulus.
Having each workout be stronger than the last begins with a concept called muscle adaptation. Muscle adaptation is the process in which your muscles adapt to the stimulus you place on them. Without working around and with muscle adaptation, you would never be able to lift more weight than you were able to do when you first started.
Each training session over the course of time should be created in a way that will continuously place enough stress on the body to encourage adaptation to be continuous.
What is muscle adaptation?
As you workout and progressively add weights with each workout, your muscles work to adapt to that stress load. Perhaps you start off with 10 lb bicep curls, and as your muscles work under that new stress load, they begin to adapt to that weight. That’s when you reach for more weight – in a very strategic and systematized overall plan.
After you complete your workout in the gym your body begins its process of repairing and recovering itself. It is through rest that the growth and change process truly happens. When your muscles are stressed, your body seeks to repair those muscles at rest- so don’t skimp on sleep!! As you continue to strategically progress in your training, your muscles grow in size and strength – progressing slowly and safely. Keep in mind that as our muscles adapt to the stimulus that you place on them, they will eventually reach a point of adaptation, aka, a lifting plateau.
This is why the strategic plan of progression is so important – you don’t want to progress too quickly and burn out or cause injuries. Nor do you want to progress too slowly causing you to hit plateaus due to adaptation. The time that it takes for your muscles to adapt to the load is varied, all based on how program your training. This is why I have programmed my Jessie’s Girls Training Programs with very specific progression phases, sets and reps into each 12 weeks. training.
Hitting training plateaus causes your progress to stall just like a car that has run out of gas.It’s an easy place to get stuck in and grow frustrated to the point of wanting to quit because you’re no longer making progress.
However, adaptation doesn’t have to become a plateau. Especially if you follow one of my Jessie’s Girls Training Programs!
Preventing Plateaus & Making Gains
How do you prevent fitness plateaus? The answer can come from several places. You need to take a step back and analyze your training. What have you been doing, how have you been eating, and how have you been resting?
From there, you’re going to need to make adjustments. And no, the solution isn’t just to add more weight and more reps. That’s not going to put the challenge on those muscles that you need to break through the plateau.
Tip 1: Change the way you exercise. Change HOW you’re working those muscles. If you’ve been hiding out in the Smith Machine doing all your squats, or using only machines for all of your exercises – get out of your comfort zone and hit the squat rack and free weights! They all provide ways to work muscles in isolation or through compound movements, but the stress they put on the body is different.
Tip 2: Is your weekly split not working for you anymore? Change the days of the week you’re hitting certain body parts.
Tip 3: Vary the types of exercise you’re getting in. Don’t be afraid to do yoga session, change out the treadmill for lap swimming on cardio day, etc!
Training out of plateaus can be hard. Sometimes it takes some time to analyze what is going wrong and how to fix the issue. Despite how frustrating plateaus can be, it’s best not to get stuck in one in the first place. Each one of my Jessie’s Girls Training Programs is specifically designed so that you are always adapting and progressing. From rep ranges to exercise variability, I walk you through everything you need to build a killer physique. For more information on my Jessie’s Girls Training Programs, click on the button below!