You’ve tried the most intense exercises, you’ve tried every healthy diet you could find online, and you have tried all the hyped supplements, but nothing seems to have helped increase the muscle performance. If that rings a bell, you might be ignoring one of these little-known roadblocks that hinder your progress. Before exploring the tips and tricks on boosting muscle strength and power, understanding what factors can impact your progress is vital.
Factors that Determine Muscle Performance
Some of these factors can be controlled and improved, while others can’t. Understanding them, however, will help you improve and track your own muscle performance more efficiently.
Age and gender
Length of muscles and limbs
Health of digestive enzymes
Morphological capabilities of your muscle
External factors including biomechanical, neurological, and biochemical
Respiratory, cardiovascular, and emotional function
Factors that Can Impair Your Muscle Performance
Certain factors can simply halt the growth and progress of your muscles, no matter how hard you work out and how healthy a diet you have. So, if you have any of these issues, they need to be treated first.
Injury – even a minor injury that might not be very painful can have a huge impact
Lesion affecting neuromuscular or musculoskeletal system
Inactivity or disuse
Drug or alcohol addiction
Vibration training is a relatively new way of expanding the capabilities of your muscles. These are not the normal, uncontrolled vibrations that you’ll get when handling a tool or driving a truck. It’s a discipline that involves frequencies or forces being transferred into different body parts using accurate joint angles for a given period (usually in 1-minute sets).
Vibration training can create an unusual muscle reaction in addition to enabling anaerobic activity – which is the opposite of cardio and burns energy without oxygen. Although vibration training is a matter of debate, several studies have shown encouraging results. For instance, a 24-week study done on 48 untrained females revealed that vibration training induced a gain in knee-extensor strength as well as helped get lean mass. The experts compared that the strength increased was very similar to that gained through regular resistance training and cardio.
Another study examined the effects of different barbell squat protocols on the subjects’ jumping ability. The subjects were divided into two groups, one used whole-body vibration training while the other didn’t. The results showed considerable improvement in the countermovement jump height in those who used vibration training as compared to the other group.
In case you have an injury or joint pain, be careful with vibration training and consult a professional beforehand. They might treat the condition before you start vibration training or recommend medicine/orthotics to help you with your training, refer to this site to learn more about the type of braces and motion assisting orthotic gear.
Long-term Creatine intake
Amino acids convert into Creatine, which plays the most important role in turning food into energy for your body. Creatine is naturally produced by human body and is also a part of the regular diet. It’s commonly is found in fish and meat. It’s also a very popular, yet controversial supplement used by a vast majority of athletes, gymnasts, bodybuilders, and other sportspersons.
While several studies have shown that long-term Creatine can significantly help improve muscle performance, the results can be different for different people. For instance, one study confirmed that long-term Creatine intake boosted muscle strength in sedentary females. Another study indicated that Creatine supplementation could be an effective aid for different exercises in athletes and sportsmen.
However, since its main purpose is to convert food into energy – those with better diet will see more benefits of Creatine. Also, it is not considered very effective in older people.
Coaches and professional sportsmen and athletes have sworn by massage therapy for a very long time. However, recent studies show that massage can have many benefits for anyone who exercises regularly. Massage can help reduce muscle tension, promote relaxation, increase the range of motion, reduce soreness after a workout, enhance performance and even prevent injuries.
However, these benefits are accumulative and only seen in those who get regular massage. One study published back in 2005 confirmed that massage could reduce the severity of muscle soreness but couldn’t confirm any other benefits. Another study published in 2008, however, shed light on the benefits of pre-event massage and its effects on muscle performance, recovery and rehabilitation. The timing of getting a massage is also important, and most experts recommend getting a massage at least three days before and three days after a competition.
Caffeine Enhances Muscle Performance
Caffeine is instantly absorbed into the bloodstream, and the levels reach the highest point in about 90 minutes. The blood levels stay high for up four hours before dropping back. What makes it effective is that fact that unlike other supplements, caffeine affects virtually every body cell including the brain and can give an instant boost. Regular coffee drinkers were found to be 4.2 seconds faster than those drinking decaf. While 4.2 seconds might not be a huge difference, in a race, it could mean the difference between victory or defeat.
Sports scientists at Coventry University conducted a study on mice and found that caffeine can enhance muscle performance in two ways. Firstly, it helped in breathing (improving stamina) and secondly, increasing the performance of Extensor Digitorus Longus – the leg muscle responsible for movement. The lead researcher Jason Tallis stated that while caffeine might not have the same effect in elders, it can significantly enhance performance.
A study published in 2013 examined the effects of caffeine and confirmed that caffeine consumed in coffee in the amount of 5 mg/kg one hour before a workout could significantly increase muscle performance.
Remember: Routine is the enemy.
Most experts agree that after two weeks, your body gets used to the workout routine, which can reduce its effectiveness. This is why switching exercises and doing new physical activities is useful in increasing muscle performance. For instance, if you’re an avid runner, try doing Muay Thai every once in awhile instead of going for a jog. If you’re a cyclist, try running stairs.
Likewise, you can skip a day at the gym and go swimming. Using muscles in ways that you don’t develop overuse not only boosts muscle performance but also keeps you motivated and makes the workout fun. Keep your mind and muscles guessing and see your muscle performance go through the roof.