The most effective type of the workout to stimulate muscle protein synthesis (MPS) is resistance training as it makes muscles more sensitive to amino acids uptake and as mentioned earlier amino acids are the build blocks of you muscles. Work out routine also plays quite important role in MPS.
- Number of sets – multiple sets are better than single set when we want to improve MPS. There is some scientific evidence that 10 sets a week are superior for muscle growth. It can be spread across the week, i.e 5 sets twice a week for particular muscle group.
- Training status – the more trained you are the MPS response become shorter, which means to sustain that state you need to increase either frequency or volume/intensity of trainings.
- Weight – any amount of weight as long as you train till muscular fatigue, you build your strength/stamina on the last reps when you think you can’t push more – no pain no gain:) Train hard but avoid extreme overtraining – in other word know your limits.
- Reps per set – on average 6-12 reps are recommended for optimal muscle growth.
- Rest between sets – increased rests between sets increases larger post work out MPS compared to short rest period. At least 2 min rests is generally recommended.
- Training frequency – training each muscle group at least twice a week is common practice for optimal muscle growth
If your goal is not only to repair and strengthen muscles but also muscle mass gains, resistance training in combination with appropriate protein, micronutrients and daily calorie intake are crucial.
For those who train on regular basis, the right diet and providing appropriate amounts of the protein and other nutrients is the key. From nutritional point of view magnesium and nitrate rich food are my favourite.
- Magnesium. Your muscles have limited quantity of ATP (energy carrying molecules) that need to be replenished during activity.Magnesium helps to recycle that ATP and also help with energy production in general. More energy = more reps. Important thing to keep in mind is that physical activity increases your daily magnesium requirement, to mantain optimal performance you may even go up to as high as 600mg of magnesium per day
- Nitric oxide (NO). It increases blood flow and helps to improve endurance. Increased oxygen transportation = better blood flow to the working muscles and more energy meaning more reps. Nitrate rich foods include: beetroots and beetroot juice (my favourite), rocket, spinach, radish, Chinese cabbage and lettuce. I would avoid nitrates from processed meats or meats where nitrates are added as a preservative as they are carcinogenic.