Your Muscles Do Remember… But Not The Way You Think

Your Muscles Do Remember… But Not The Way You Think


[♪ INTRO] There’s a good chance you’re familiar
with something called motor learning — a.k.a. “motor memory” or, more commonly “muscle
memory.” This is the thing that allows someone to ride
a bike after many years away from the pedals, or tie their shoes after wearing sandals all
summer. But while it’s super cool and convenient
and good, the names for this phenomenon can also be a little misleading. Because like, let’s be real: Muscles don’t
store memories. They’re muscles, not brains. Except… here’s the weird part: Muscles
can remember some things! Just not in the way you’d think. This phenomenon has to do with muscle strength. Basically, if you work out, your muscles will
kind of “remember” what it’s like to be strong. So even if you take some time off from the
gym, you’ll be able to bulk up faster when you return than if you had never started exercising. It sounds like it should be a fake life hack,
but it’s legit! And it happens because of how muscles grow. Whenever you increase the demand on your muscles
— like by weight lifting, jogging, or or suddenly having to carry a 2 year old around
all the time — you cause small tears in the tissue. These microtraumas release molecules that
signal nearby satellite cells to swoop in and repair the damage. And during the repair, your muscle cells get
thicker and stronger as new muscle fibers grow. To help with all of this, some of the satellite
cells even donate their nuclei to your muscle tissue. And that is a big deal. Nuclei in muscle cells are called myonuclei,
and they’re responsible for telling your cells to make proteins. So the more myonuclei you have, the faster
you can create the protein you need to get stronger. This is awesome when you’re training, but
here’s the best part: These nuclei stick around in your cells even when you lose muscle
mass. So even if you take a break from exercising
for a while, you’ll be able to recover more easily when you get back. You’ll get stronger faster than the newbie
over on the next treadmill. It’s possible that these benefits last for
a long time, too. Studies in rats and insects have shown that,
once muscle cells acquire myonuclei, they persist even after significant amounts of
muscle atrophy. So if this is also true in humans, it could
mean that being fit earlier in life would carry over into old age. It would be easier for you to get stronger
even during a time where muscle atrophy is common. And since muscle strength impacts things like
bone health, that could have a huge impact on your quality of life. So knowing this, I expect to see, out by the
river in Missoula, Montana, just lots of SciShow employees and SciShow audience just lifting
rocks, and puttin em down and lifting em again. It’s time! For us to be Rock Lifters! Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow! If you want to learn more about how motor
memory works, and why riding a bike is just like… well, riding a bike… you can check
out our episode over on SciShow Psych. Did you know we have a psychology channel? Go subscribe to that! [♪ OUTRO]

100 Replies to “Your Muscles Do Remember… But Not The Way You Think”

  1. Can we appreciate Christian Bale bulking up for Batman (~90kg), then playing a role of a junkie weighting 45kg, then Batman again returning to 90+ kg soon after?

  2. So you explain how muscles work to couch potatoes? Because I'm pretty sure anyone who ever built up muscle mass knows this from experience

  3. No lie. I was just daydreaming the other day about having a giant boulder in my backyard. For no particular reason, or purpose. Now. It has purpose.

  4. It would explain why I've been able to go months or even as long as a decade, and still get back in good shape and lose 100lbs of fat in just a couple months, where that would take most people a year or more.

  5. Well, similar principle with mechanical components burn/break in. The more you use them in specific way, the better they perform on that specific and similar task.

  6. I was once really muscular but I haven’t been able to walk properly lately. My shoulders don’t hang right anymore, but as soon as I do weights I suddenly look like the hulk

  7. Meh. Bulking up muscles is just something guys do to get attention from girls. The modern world doesn't require them at all with the exception of a select few jobs. The amount of effort and hundreds of dollars on food every month just to get/sustain them is crazy.

  8. But it doesn't explain memory for smaller things like tying tie,knots,shoes etc.
    I mean these activities don't lead to micro-tearing of cells.
    Also….
    Is one myonuclei for each memory or only one for all (which seems wiered).

  9. They should make a video with hank and muscle hank.
    Idc if its a cheesey fabric bulk suit with like 2 or 3 shades of colors on the skin part of the fabric…it should be done.

  10. What if you had as Teenager Testosterone and Steroids from Doctor for a big fracture? Is it possible your Muscles remember that? Because i train since i was 16 after 70% of my Hand was completely crushed. My muscles are grew faster since the injection. Im bigger and stronger than 80% of the everyday gym user.

  11. I can prove this works. I'm a martial arts teacher. I've had kids leave and return many many many many years later as adults and they don't remember anything of the complex movements of forms from when they learned the dance like steps as kids but…. Once they get with a partner, the movements of the forms come out naturally as if the student never left. No, this don't brain memory. The intrequit combo of hands and feet that make up a kata cannot be remembered in such details if not practiced for so many years…. But their bodies clearly do remember.

  12. So is it to late to start working out at middle age?
    Or should I just give up?

    Please upvote if you want me to just give up 😀

  13. New muscle fibers do NOT grow. We have all our muscle fibers well before we're 30. Rather, it's the filaments that make up myofibrils that increase in number. Small difference, but still relevant. Myofibrils make up single muscle fibers. The number of muscle fibers stays the same though.

  14. Cool video, I took a break after 3 years of gym, lost a lot of gains but I’m a month in and have made massive progress. I had no idea why..

  15. Now a fun fact. A beginner can get most of the muscle growth from 1:st weekly hour of weightlifting. Most people sharing advice have already gained those and want to grow from healthy musculature to bodybuilder level, and that is more demanding task than the lets just get healthy. Secondly growing muscle takes time. Thirdly you can loose fat and gain muscle in same week so that your weight doesn't change, but your waistline gets smaller and muscles slightly bigger.

  16. When I was 5-6 I literally forgot how to ride a bike. Took me longer to learn the second time than it did the first time too.

  17. My own experience: I used to workout intensively for 3 years, then in an accident in had a brain surgery and I rested for 3 months, my muscle completely lost, then after restarting working out from recovery, I gained my muscle back almost within only half year, which used to take me 3 years to achieve. But for sure, I had way much better nutrition during the recovery time. But still I was quite impressed by the speed of muscle autorecovery

  18. So that explains why in 9th grade I went to the gym got a little buff and quit for vacations, then came back and I got a stronger quicker than the previous year, I had always thought it was because I knew the techniques

  19. @1:20 you say new muscle fibres grow, but they don‘t. You can almost never create new muslce fibres, only make them thicker.
    A bodybuilder still has the same number of muscle fibres as a person that never lifted in his life.

  20. At a certain point, I could only 'remember' my online banking account number on a full-sized keyboard number pad. Present me with a compact laptop keyboard, and I would struggle to remember the number as easily as if I could touch type it otherwise

  21. Hmm. Every athlete, amateur or professional knows that its easier to get back old fitness. Now we understand the physiological basis of that to some extent.

  22. We expect electronics to not waste energy….but why not human? I particularly don't understand why people increase their muscle mass for the sake of showing off…

  23. Very interesting. I've been an active most of my life and this phenomenon is commonly talked about it in the gym. It's cool to see that it's not just anecdotal though.

  24. I dig the rock lifting idea, (one of) the strongest man in recorded history lifted a natural rock that weighed like 520lbs in the 1800s. That record wasn't tied until line 2010 by Derek Poundstone

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  26. Thank you for this! I've tried to explain to people so many times that "muscle memory" is actually when your body regains muscle faster because of previous training. People argue with me about this all the time. Why would repeating certain movements like riding a bike even be called muscle memory? It doesn't make sense to me.

  27. After going for education in Neuroscience and being in Tang Soo Do training for years…I had significant life events happen. In poverty, can't train anymore, nothing really lifts me up. Seeing this video gave me hope. Thanks.

  28. I know it from experience. When I was a university student I used to hit the gym hard like everyday and I was quite muscular back then. After an 8 year hiatus, I started working out again and just in 3 or 4 months I gained it all. It surprised everyone including myself.

  29. As soon as I can afford a bit of extra food, I'm going right back to they gym, wow that looks alot sadder written down…..

  30. This is why I think if you're busted doing PED's and it's proven it wasn't a tainted supplment, you should be banned for life.

  31. So what’s the phenomenon called? It’s not muscle memory since it’s related to things like riding a bicycle or tying the shoelaces.

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