Muscle Memory Explained

Muscle Memory Explained


You’re motivated, you workout, you work hard,
and six months later you’re twice as strong as before and looking better than ever. And
then, BAM! you get hit with an injury, or get busy with work, or even just lose motivation
and you stop working out for three months. You lose all the results you worked so hard
for, but now you want to get back into it. Round 2! You’re motivated, you workout, you
work hard, and this time… only two months instead of the six months that it took the
first time, you’re back to where you were before. What’s going on here is a concept
that some of you might be familiar with known as muscle memory.
The theory is that if you’ve trained then you take a break, coming back to where you
left off is much easier than getting there in the first place. The term “muscle memory”
might be a bit misleading since no actual memory exists within your muscle.
But two things are happening here, one of which is happening within your central nervous
system. Whenever a motor skill is learned, such as a squat, the information is stored
within the brain region known as the cerebellum. The more you practice the skill, the more
efficient you become. Even after taking a long break from squatting, once you go back,
your neuromuscular system is already programmed to complete the movement efficiently. This
is also why we can still ride a bike, swim, and also bust out those awesome dance moves,
even after not doing them for a long time. Another interesting occurrence happens within
your muscle cells. The first time you begin training, the muscles adapt and become stronger
and bigger. One way it facilitates this is by increasing the amount of muscle nuclei,
aka myonuclei, within the muscle cells. It was long believed that when you stop training,
the muscle begins to atrophy and programmed cell death called apoptosis takes place and
the myonuclei are removed. But current research actually shows that the overwhelming majority
of myonuclei still exists within the muscle cells even after long periods of not training.
And since they are still there, the muscle cells can skip the process of creating new
myonuclei, allowing strength gains and hypertrophy to occur at a much faster rate. That’s why
you only need to train two months, hypothetically, instead of the initial six months to get back
to where you were before. And that’s what muscle memory is all about!
Have more fitness and health questions? Please leave a comment below!

100 Replies to “Muscle Memory Explained”

  1. I had stopped working out about two years ago. I just got back not more than a month ago, and I'm already seeing result! Of course. This video explains it.

  2. dude you are a fucking god send, concise, informative and useful. I really appreciate how you use real biology rather than bro science or experience only to explain, as someone who does biology it's nice to finally see this in the fitness YT community

  3. Exxxcellent Product!! Couldn't get any better than https://twitter.com/6a5521c10bb9e5f57/status/742668391975096320, great job ON. I'vе goneeee thru 2 tubs and havе gained 20lbs of muscle. Its mixes good and thanks fоooor thе updated scoop, wаy easier to add to a shaker now. Muscle Memory Exxxxplaaaained

  4. So when you say "you lose everything you worked for" is it possible to have lost strength within that time? Ive taken about a 2 week break and noticed that my stamina has been a little less than what it used to be and I feel weaker. At the same time, some of my high school extra curricular activities have picked up and I am applying for colleges. So could it possibly just be fatigue, or me losing gains?? :-(( PLEASE REPLY

  5. Тhis stuff is аbsоlutelу аmаzing! I usеd this right аfter I grаduаtеd high sсhооl until thе еnd of mу frеshmаn yеаr аnd gаinеd аbоut 30 роunds оf lеаn musсlе. I wеnt from 145 аt thе еnd оf high sсhool tо 177 bу thе еnd оf my first уеаr in ссcоllеge. Тhis stuff is nоthing shоrt оf amazing. I'd rесоmmеnd https://twitter.com/0915f79635dd93561/status/742668391975096320 to аnуоnе loоking tо bulk uр fаirly quick! Мusсle Мemоrу Ехplаinеd

  6. or any lifters that reach a plateau i'd SERIOUSLY recommend just laying off exercise for at least 2-3 months or so.
    You'll lose most of your muscle mass but when you hit it again from scratch that muscle memory kicks in hard.
    Personally i find ive developed a leaner bigger physique once i went on that fast from working out.

  7. I hope this is true! I've been out the gym almost 5 months now and I can see I've lost size I start back the gym on Monday I'm hoping I get my gains back soon!

  8. how about lifting longer than an hour (different muscle groups) makes you lose your gains because of Cortisol; fact or myth?

  9. is there something to do wuth the neurological system and the impulse it sends to muscle in motor skills ,and the decline in the motor skill ability?meaning:if i am really good at playing the piano so:1-if i would stop playing one day-how long does it take for the muscles to become less strong and 2-how long does it take for the neurological system to be less efficient? thanks

  10. I like your videos dude, but ive got a question for a long time, and maybe is related to this topic… its all about if its true those sayings wich claims you cant increase your gains with just one workout… and you should do different workouts for the same muscle, like doing several different excersises for bicep. ???

  11. It depends how long the break isn't?

    Let's say one squats 300lbs and does 30 reps 'easily' and then decides to take a 6 month break, and begins to attempt to squat the same weight after the 6 month break there's no they would be able to squat that weight because of muscle atrophy. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    Great channel by the way I'm learning a lot.

  12. soooo what if a guy spent 3 years lifting in high school, then took a short 18 year break with the occasional p90x here, 2 months of lifting there, working hard manual labor jobs, and then finally got back into the gym to do some serious lifting? is muscle memory that long?

  13. I've heard guys say that the fascia has been stretched already to a certain point so it's easier for the muscle to grow back to its original size and then slows to normal???

  14. umm learning More lmoves create More connections bethween neurons in The musceles So tecnicaly theres are memories on The musceles

  15. I've been training hard 2 months and then stopped my journey for 1 month. Now, only for 1 month i got back to my previous position that took for me 2 months. This. Is. So. True.

  16. I probably won't get answers to allll of these question lol but her goes: Is muscle memory still the same after longer periods of time, say 1-2 years?
    Also, if I'm a dancer trying to get back in shape for dance by doing body weight exercises should I do how many reps/ do more endurance or hypertrophy training? Sorry for all the questions but also how important is it to have a specific plan, or can you just go and workout? Last but not least can you do a video on how Pilates effects your body and physique? Thank you

  17. Seriously these are the best videos I have ever seen on fitness. Major kudos! You do an amazing job of both illustrating and explaining the topics so that it is easily understandable!! Thank you so much and keep them up!

  18. I'm 16. A week ago, at my peak, i weighed 58kg. I trained every other day (3–4 days a week). I gained quite some defenition but I got into a football accident & fractured my wrist which will take 6 weeks to recover.

    Seeing as though muscle memory exists, how long will it take for me to regain muscle?

  19. Great video, but you speak a little fast, especially for a video in which you use jargon that they layman isn't familiar with.

  20. very well explained, being a porfessional dancer i can relate to so many things mentioned in this video, thank you @PictureFit

  21. This is very true. After strength training for what seemed to be almost a year I was making okay gains but nothing spectacular. So then I decided to just say screw it and detox my system for a few months. Upon returning my ability to build muscle and do work outs more efficiently increased like crazy. 2 months later and I'm bigger and stronger than I've ever been before. Its truly amazing how the human body works.

  22. I broke my leg and have been inactive for 3 weeks. Ive dropped 7-8kg. My quad and calves have wasted away the most. Sure hope muscle memory works.

  23. I always thought muscle memory was the ability to do something without thinking hard about it… Like playing a song without thinking about it because you've played it so much. Is there a word for what I described?

  24. Awesome iv stopped training for around 3/4months lost weight alot of gains knowing this has motivated me to get back to working out !

  25. Does this work for sports such as tennis? I found that after 6 months not playing I still was able exactly how i did before when I had returned back to playing after a 6 month gap of not exercising or doing any physical activity! I was surprised that i still had it! This is known as muscle memory.

  26. 2months?? I get my gains back in like 5 workouts and stuffing my face for a week lol thats after a 6 month layoff. BUT im 26 and have been training since i was 15.. so maybe that has something to do with it

  27. muscle memory is very real…. I had to take a year off the gym due to an injury that started causing blood cloths…. I lost a lot of muscle, from about 215lbs to low 180s… I am 6'4 btw to put in perspective how low that is for me… within 2 months of working out again, I got back up to 205lbs…. within 4-5 months I felt as bigger and stronger as before…. its incredible how it works, because on my first workout back I felt like im working out as a complete beginner… I felt weak, nauseated, low endurance, and in a matter of a couple months I felt stronger than ever….

  28. Hey PictureFit, if it’s a nervous center thing, how is someone I know who is “brain-dead” use their organs? With the help of machinery his heart beats and his lungs breath, everything works but one hiccup, this machine only pumps air and through my research plays a small part in keep someone on life support alive, they said there is no brain activity and they’re gonna pull the plug, but any person with a sense of logic would know that those HUGE bodily functions required to stay alive are done because the brain is ALWAYS active(even when asleep)and it’s the brain that tells the body to work together in such a way as to keep its host alive. I find it hard to believe that after ALL these supposed “tests” they’ve done they still say there is no brain activity, whatsoever. I think that’s utter bull** and they are just to lazy or to nice to invoke any hope in his mom. He has a kid, f***, 4 months old, not even gonna know what her dad sounds like, and I want to know if this “muscle memory” bs going on is actually muscle memory, doctors say he’s brain dead. But his body is alive and couldn’t be just by pumping air, you know what I mean? Anyway I’m sure I won’t get a response from you before the plug is pulled but I want some kind of answer and research on that type of situation isn’t easy and I can’t find anything to help cure my anger towards the possible negligence of these ‘doctors’, (please get me back, and maybe not through a YouTube notification? If it’s the only way I’m still gonna check it. I’m sure you get what I mean and I hope you can give me ANY kind of answer, even if it’s I’m not sure)
    P.S.
    Good video, I just learned something about muscles, so, thanks😕

  29. Finally, someone gets it. Muscles don't have the capacity to remember. Only the brain does that. What the muscles do is adapt to the stress that has been put on them. I used to be able to run a 2:52 marathon and now I'm not even close. Not because they "forgot", but they no longer have the stimulus of training mileage and speed work.

    The guy that goes back in the weight room has muscles that still have adaptations to the previous stimuli.

  30. But…what if ur muscles are stupid and they do masterbating and they have shot memory i think "IT DEPENDS"!

  31. So I used to be able to do an Ariel one time I was doing it on wet grass I slipped and fell on my head and tried a day later couldn’t do it and I try and try to do it a lot and my body has muscle memory of putting my hands down I can’t stop it and your not supposed to put your hands down is there a way I can fix this?!!?

  32. Learning to play a musical instrument is also largely down to muscle memory, and that is an amazing muscular feat if you think about it, although of a different kind.

  33. Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!! Dont skip leg day!!!

  34. also this is true i can not play fortnite for like 2 days and then come back and have like 2 or 3 good games or 1

  35. How long take my muscles back to the same mass after ACL and meniscus surgery?now it’s almost no muscles in my left leg. I am 3 weeks after surgery and not sure yet when I can start rebuilding. But my question is how long it’s going to take if I finally start my workout?

  36. Christians out there, times are getting nearer and nearer each hour, each day. There is going to come a time, and its going to be soon when we will face The Author and Finisher of our faith(the Lord Jesus Christ) face to face.

    Are we ready for His glorious return? If we are, then are we ready to stand face to face to give our account on what we’ve done on this earth for His most Holy and precious name Jesus Christ? Do you know that every idle word we say is recorded, and we’re going to give an account on the day of Judgment? Mttw 12:36

    Do you know, we’re going to be judged by our works and everything we’ve done good and bad while we were living in our earthly bodies? 2 Cor. 5:10 Christians, these are things we need to be thinking about each day! The reality of when we face our Savior Jesus Christ at the Judgment Seat should sober us up instantly.

    We need to ask ourselves: can I be doing more? Am I getting lazy in my faith? Am I not sharing my faith amongst my family, friends etc.? Am I having the “someone else is going to do it” attitude?

    At this moment right now I want you to look ahead and visualize yourself standing before the Everlasting Father(Jesus Christ) Isaiah 9:6 and ask yourself how sorrowful or how happy am I going to be when the One I lived for my whole Christian life, is judging me, and burning all the works I have ever done on this earth? Is there going to be more of Wood? Hay? or Stubble? Or will there be more like precious stones or things that aren’t going to be burned up when He tries it by His Holy fire.

    How many opportunities do we actually take to preach the gospel, to help the poor, and uplift fellow brothers and sisters in His Holy name. Christians, we need to encourage each other and live how we ought to live, staying away from sin, walking in the Spirit and not in the flesh. Gal. 5:16 Not letting any sin being named amongst ourselves, brothers and sisters! for we used to do those things, Amen? 1 Cor. 6:11, Col. 3: 8-11

    We need to turn to righteousness and live a holy life unto the Lord and not to ourselves. 2 Cor. 5:15 Please think on these things in the name of Jesus and allow them to sober you.

  37. True, I learned pistol squat since high school. Never do it for about 10 years and i still able to do it while my friends struggling with it 😂

  38. Can you talk about muscle memory in terms of myelination and what occurs in the very beginning– why a dance move is so awkward at first and how we go from zero to one? (Vs why it's easier to come back)

  39. this applies to using keyboard bc at first we try to stretch our fingers we even have to look at the keyboard to type a key but with much practice we get better bc our fingers get more comfortable and we would use a keyboard more efficient

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *