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What Is Muscle Atrophy and How Can You Prevent It?


Strength training isn't a sometimes type of thing; rather, it's an integrated part of life. Failing to lift on a consistent basis can lead to muscle deterioration, which is also referred to as "atrophy." Nobody wants to lose the rock hard muscle mass they've worked so hard to build, but the body naturally uses muscle as stored energy when muscles are not exercised. While rest is a crucial aspect of an effective weightlifting regimen, muscle atrophy slowly occurs over time. Too much rest can ultimately result in atrophy, which essentially negates the hard work you've committed to building bigger muscles.

The Best Exercise to Avoid Atrophy

One of the best exercises to avoid muscle atrophy is the bench press. The pectoralis major, the most prominent muscle in the chest, is a catalyst for strength development in other upper-body muscle groups, such as the shoulders and arms. Active participation in chest-building exercises, like the bench press, will help you avoid the dreaded occurrence of muscle deterioration. Although muscle atrophy doesn't occur overnight, it's important to make sure that you frequent the gym on a regular basis in order to avoid losing muscle mass.

Multi-Joint Exercises

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, most people experience muscle gains from strength training activity two to three times per week. Your muscular strength will increase during rest time, but you cannot take prolonged periods of time away from the weight room and expect to build muscle. You can maximize your strength building routine by incorporating multi-joint exercises into your workout regimen. A multi-joint exercise is an activity that utilizes multiple joints in the body, such as deadlifts or squats. These exercises have been proven to enhance muscle gain while also counteracting the effect of atrophy.

How Often Do You Need to Exercise Your Muscles?

Strength gains can dissolve over the course of 12 weeks of minimal exercise activity, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. You can maintain muscle mass by executing at least one-third of your weightlifting regimen on a weekly basis. However, an extended period or rest will result in muscle deterioration. If you're planning on taking a prolonged absence from the gym, it's important to use alternative exercises to ensure that you don't lose muscle mass.

Taking Time Off

Resistance exercises are the best types of activity for maintaining muscle gains when taking time off from the weight room. The most proficient body-weight exercises include pushups and pull-ups. These exercises don't require any at-the-gym equipment and can be performed practically anywhere. Pushups exercise the pectoralis major in the chest and also pump muscles in the shoulders and arms. In addition, pushups also help flatten the stomach by strengthening the core. You can supplement a gym-deprived lifestyle simply by making a commitment to a daily pushup regimen.

Maintaining strength gains isn't rocket science. In fact, it's a simple feat to accomplish. Some people endure the challenge of overwhelming work conditions which prohibit their ability to get into the gym on a regular basis. Others experience personal challenges that disable their desire to crank out a weightlifting session. Whatever the reason, being out of the gym shouldn't result in muscle atrophy. Invest a small amount of money in an at-home pull-up bar and make a commitment to performing at least 100 pushups per day. These simple multi-joint exercises will not only help you avoid muscle atrophy, but also promote muscle toning and ultimately help you stay in shape.


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John Shea is a team sports fanatic and fitness aficionado. His work has been published across a wide platform of online audiences in the realm of health and fitness. His passion for fitness is exemplified in his writing, as he aims to help readers improve their overall well-being.

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