Part two in the recovery series focuses on how the body recovers via acute muscular recovery. Say what now? Continue on…
In order for your body to have a chance for recovery, you need to know that DAMAGE has occurred. This takes place so that REPAIR can happen, and then the REMODELING process can begin.
DAMAGE –> REPAIR –> REMODELING –> DAMAGE –> REPAIR –> REMODELING, ETC.
WHAT DO I MEAN BY DAMAGE?First let me discuss what I mean by DAMAGE. Damage occurs during exercise when micro tears happen within your muscular system. During this process, you may also witness vascularity: this is when your veins pop out during said exercise.
This process ushers in “new” blood which localizes arteries with inflammatory cells. The “old” blood in vascularity leaves, taking its debris (damage) with it via your veins and the lymphatic system.
WHAT DO I MEAN BY REPAIR?Next in line is the REPAIR process. Your body will automatically begin to repair the damage that occurs. Your white blood cells (macrophages) are always and readily available to collect the damaged/dead tissue and debris. Think of it like a garbage disposal, it collects and breaks down debris so it can be flushed much easier.
You also have satellite cells (AKA muscle stem cells) that are in a ready state (idle) in the muscle fiber that undergoes cellular division. These muscle stem cells differentiate into the fiber type that was damaged and where they’re needed, so they can fuse with the damaged muscle fiber cells. The parent satellite/muscle stem cells then recycle back to their ready state to repeat the process following further damage.
WHAT IS REMODELING?After our body works on repairing the damage we caused, a major component occurs that can reduce damage and further your progress: REMODELING. This is where good programming comes into play.
The energy system used, rep range, and fashion that the muscle fiber was torn in, will impact the adaptive repair process. When muscle fiber repairs, it wants to come back less likely to be damaged by the same thing again (motion/movement/exercise). It may do this by repairing with increased tensile strength, increased access to blood flow, increased fiber diameter, increased metabolic efficiency, etc.
For example, tearing muscle fiber with a 3-rep max versus a 12-rep max, 30-second intervals versus 3-minute intervals, fast burst contractions versus slow and controlled; these can all be ways to influence remodeling.
ULTIMATELY…Know that after adapting and repairing muscle fibers from damage, the repaired fiber is less likely to be damaged by the same stress. If this area happens to become damaged repeatedly, it means you were too aggressively training, or not allowing for sufficient recovery time or possible the kind/type of repair.
The body will recognize the more aggressive styles and can form scar tissue. When this occurs your muscle fiber has far less elasticity and vascularity; therefore, it will hinder muscular function, development, and most importantly: improvement.
OTHER ARTICLES IN THE SERIES:RECOVERY SERIES PART 1: MAKE YOUR RECOVERY DAY WORK FOR YOU
About the Author:Palmer Shape holds a B.S. in Physiology and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist designation (CSCS). He’s equipped with over a decade of competition experience, having coached and trained hundreds of high school, college, and professional athletes, including obstacle course racers. A hurdler by nature, he is no stranger to overcoming obstacles quickly and efficiently. His passion, combined with scientific knowledge and data, have helped hundreds of athletes take their training to the next level, often reaching podium spots or winning coveted titles.
Follow him on Instagram at @Palmer_Shape