Everybody’s heard the story of the woman who lifted a car off her teenage son. They call it “hysterical strength”— that random super-power that appears in totally normal people who suddenly need to lift a car, tractor, or any other gigantic object (usually off of a loved one).

Conventional wisdom tells us that lifting weights is enough to make us bigger and stronger.

But it isn’t just about how much weight you lift.

Your muscles are made of long, fiber-like strands called fascicles. Those fascicles are made of strands of muscle fibers. Inside those muscle fibers are more more strands called myofibrils.

When you lift weights, the strain of it actually creates small tears in your myofibrils.

But not to worry. Your immune system is ready to heal the muscle by fusing new cells with your torn myofibrils. Over time, this creates muscles that are bigger (kind of like when you wrap masking tape around something broken) and stronger.

In the meantime, it’s important to get lots of protein and plenty of rest so your body can repair itself.

Sometimes, it feels like this can take forever.

But remember: when you build muscle, you’re doing just that—building. If you were building a house out of bricks and cement, you couldn’t do it all in one day. You’d let the layers of bricks and cement set up, then build on top of that.

Eventually, your body will adapt to lifting heavier loads AND you’ll look bigger and manlier in the process.

Citations

http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/arts/circus-arts/adrenaline-strength.htm

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/issa7.htm

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