Strength training actually changes your body. Weight training, especially when the weight is periodically increased, results in adaptations by the muscle, connective tissue and nervous systems.
Muscles become bigger; i.e. the amount of muscle fibers increases. His is called hypertrophy. The hormone testosterone lays a part in this so men hypertrophy easier and faster than women hypertrophy. A high-resistance, lower repetition weight-lifting program will result in hypertrophy, while a low-resistance, high-repetition program will lead to little hypertrophy. Hypertrophy increases the amount of protein in a muscle. This adds to muscle strength. Unused motor units are activated with strength training. The recruitment of these motor units is responsible for much initial increase in strength.
The connective tissue changes with training. These are the three types of connective tissue: cartilage, which serves as a padding between bones at a joint; ligaments, that connect bones to bones at a joint; and tendons, which connect skeletal muscles to the bones, transmitting the force of muscle contraction to the bones. Tendons are an extension of connective tissue that weaves a network of support around and between the muscle fibers of a muscle, giving strength and stability to the belly of the muscle by holding the fibers of the motor units together. With weight training, connective tissues become thicker and thus stronger. They withstand greater contraction forces.
The Golgi tendon organ is part of the nervous system in the tendon. If it senses that the tendon contracts too much, it causes the muscle to relax. Strength raises the threshold of force at which the Golgi tendon organ is stimulated, probably because the overload of training causes more connective tissue protein to be added of the tendon. The associated muscle can then generate greater contractive force before the tendon organ is stimulated.
Some information from this blog was obtained from Personal Trainer Manual: The Resource for Fitness Instructors, from the American Council on Exercise, 1991, pp. 24-26.
Disclaimer: None of the information in this blog is meant to take the place of medical advice. Talk to a physician before starting an exercise program or implementing anything in this blog.
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