Using this TRIGGER is how you CONVINCE your body to build MORE muscle mass oh geez CAPS LOCK sure is FUN and EXCITING

If you want to build muscle, you need to convince your body that it needs muscle.

You don't realize it, but you've already done this. You do have muscle. Maybe not as much as you'd like to have. But you have some.

Look at you. You don't even know how to get more of something you already have. So helpless. Don't worry. I'm here to light the way. On fire. So we all die. Sounds fun. I'm in. Let's go.

If you want to convince your body to build more muscle, it helps to know what purpose muscle mass serves. Why you have it. How you convinced your body to build it.

I like approaching this puzzle from the upside down.

Meaning, right now, you're focused on building more muscle. Everything is in relation to more morE moRE mORE MORE MOAR. But a lot of things fall into place when you focus on losing muscle.

Like I said: the upside down.

This is Part 2 of an ongoing series. Click here to go to the introduction and table of contents. If you don't want to miss any updates to this series, signup for my weekly email column here.

How to lose a muscle in ten days 

Set aside your desire to build muscle, and look first at what it takes to lose muscle.

Gertrude in hospice care is whiz cheese. An astronaut living in space melts like fondue. You break your wrist, get put in a cast, and your forearm turns into a toothpick.

Hmm…

There's a common theme: moving your body parts through Earth's gravity.

  • It's not just gravity.
  • It's not just moving your parts.

It's both.

There's a good chance, at this point, everything you need to know tetrised together inside of your brain. Muscle makes sense now. You don't have to read anymore. Good luck. See ya later. Glad to be of service.

But I'm a nerd. I over intellectualize. Care to join me? You're invited. As long as you don't complain about how weird we get.

Sexually provocative women being mean to you

Gravity is important, but its easy to ignore. It's an afterthought, like water to a fish. I wouldn't know for sure though, my meeting with Princess Ruto inside of Jabu-Jabu’s belly was cancelled.

jabu jabu meeting

To avoid the gravitational ignorance, let's give gravity a face. A mean one. An Andross one. I hope it doesn't spit three dimensional floor tiles at us.

If you go in a zero gravity chamber, you float. Right? Not rocket science. Just kidding. Zero gravity chambers are all sorts of rocket science.

But now, imagine, as you're floating in the zero gravity chamber, a bunch of women wearing white lab coats enter the zero gravity chamber.

They're wearing special gravity suits, so they don't float. They use special gravity ropes to lasso you out of the air. The situation intrigues you for a moment, from a sexual standpoint. But that intrigue sprinkles into sadness when they start drilling holes into every single one of your bones.

They loop special gravitational ropes through the holes. They connect the special gravitational ropes to the special gravitational floor.

gravity ropes build muscle

Once the ropes are connected to the floor, they're given a certain amount of downward pull — the degree of which depends on the mass of the bone attached to the rope.

Your hand is a dumbbell, dawg

The downward pull of the ropes is a product of gravity and mass. Combined, this gives birth to the much more familiar concept of “weight.”

Now, it's important to remember that “weight” is a function of Earth's gravity. If you went to Jupiter, where gravity over double Earth's, you'd weigh more. This is important. I'll come back to this in a little bit.

For now, we have to go micro. Forget about total body weight and look more at body part weight.

It's strange to think of of your body parts as “weight,” but they are. Let's pretend your hand (by itself) weighs five pounds. Or something. I don't know how much a hand weighs.

If you chop off your hand at the wrist, when it falls to the ground, it's nothing but a five pound dumbbell. Now take that same hand (the one disconnected from your body) and chop off a finger. It'll weigh less because the finger, too, has weight. And now it's gone. Like my sanity.

You move yer parts

You're this slimy moist machine thingy that's been endowed with voluntary movement. My coffee mug hasn't gone anywhere since I started typing this.

The gravitational ropes staple the coffe mug to the table. If you weren't able to move, the same thing would happen to you. You'd be a lifeless pancake on the floor.

But you can move. And, in order for you to move, the body parts powering your movements must be able to lift and control the weight of your (other) parts.

Here's an example using your formerly severed hand, which is now soldered back onto your wrist. In order for you to wiggle and move your hand, your forearm has to be strong enough to able to “lift” the weight of your hand.

Imagine if your hand (just your hand) weighed ninety pounds more than it does right now. Would you be able to move it? Probably not. Because your forearm isn't strong enough to move that amount of weight. The downward force of gravity is too much for you to overcome. You are a lifeless pancake.

You're lifting weights EVERY DAY BRO

You're always lifting “weights” because your body parts are weights. You take this reality for granted because you tend to be strong enough to move the weight of your body parts.

So in order to appreciate this, it helps to decode the “weight” responsibility for any given movement. It's an easy thing to do if you know a thing or two about anatomy. (Joints and bones are the breadcrumbs leading you to answers.)

Open kinetic chain movement

During an open kinetic chain movement, your moving parts are free to wiggle through space. Think of side kicking a little person, or punching someone in the tooth.

Open kinetic chain movements tend to flow from the center to the extremities.

If you bend at the elbow and do a biceps curl, the structures enabling the movement have to be strong enough to lift everything down the chain: the weight of the forearm, the weight of the hand, and the weight of the fingers.

If you lift your knee in the air, the structures enabling the movement have to be strong enough to lift the weight of the thigh, the weight of the lower leg, the weight of the foot, and the weight of the toes.

Closed kinetic chain movement

During a closed kinetic chain movement, your moving parts are anchored. Think of doing a bodyweight squat to poop in a hole, or during a push-up (sans awful context).

Closed kinetic chain movements tend to flow from extremities to the center.

If you do a bodyweight squat, your legs have to be strong enough to lift the weight of your torso, the weight of your arms, and the weight of your head.

If you do a handstand push-up, your arms have to be strong enough to lift the weight of your torso, the weight of your head, and the weight of your lower body.

open kinetic chain closed kinetic chain

Introducing: load (terrible word)

I've been using the word “weight,” but “weight” is confusing. The word is used too frequently in other contexts. It's easier to think in terms of “load.” (I'm sure I could have dug up a word less porn than “load,” but there's no turning back now.)

“Load” is the weight of your body parts in addition to the weight of external objects.

LOAD
=
(WEIGHT OF BODY PARTS)
+
(WEIGHT OF EXTERNAL OBJECTS)

Right now, we're focusing on the weight of your body parts and neglecting external object half. But establishing the concept of “load” is important no matter the context.

The importance of load 

It's easy to lump all “bodyweight” movements into one category. But this isn't fair, from a load standpoint.

Look at the side kick load: your leg from the hip down. Now look at the bodyweight squat load: your entire upper body. The squat load is much bigger. And not because you have a giant head (even though you might).

Likewise, look at the punch load: your arm from the shoulder down. Compare to the handstand push-up load: your head, torso, and your lower body. The handstand push-up load is much bigger. And not because you have a giant penis or huge boobs (even though you might).

Even though these are all “bodyweight” movements, the load varies considerably. This also connects to weighted exercises.

Think of, say, a dumbbell curl. You're doing curls with five pounds in each hand. You're lifting five pounds. Now imagine doing chin-ups with a five pound dumbbell attached to your waist. You're once again lifting five pounds.

Its easy to get confused and say you're lifting the same amount of weight during both exercises, but this isn't true because you're neglecting the other half of “load.”

The chin-up exposes your body to a much higher load than the curl does, even though the same amount of external weight is present.

The muscle trigger

Load is muy importante for reasons that'll come into focus a little later. For now, I'm going to ignore as if I never went on the diatribe. I implore you to do the same.

You're lifting and controlling the weight of your parts all day long. Or, otherwise said, you're constantly yanking on the gravity ropes that are trying to stapling you to the ground.

This is why you have muscle mass.

This is the <NEED> “trigger.” Muscle mass helps your body move and overcome the downward pull of gravity's ropes. By regularly moving and overcome said pull, you tell your body: “Psssst. Hey. You know these muscle things? They're kind of important. I need them.”

It's like this…

Why is money so important? Because you use it. All the time. Using money tells your dumb brain, “This is important. I need it.”

Likewise, if you no longer move and overcome gravity's ropes, you aren't pulling the <NEED> trigger. So your body gets rid of muscle mass.

Makes sense. As mentioned, in Part 1, your body has a gollumness towards energy. If muscle helps you move and overcome gravity and you aren't moving and overcoming gravity, then spending precious energy to keep it around is a waste. And you know how your body feels about waste.

Why don't you look like Hulk?

Overcoming gravity is the trigger. To which you might now be wondering: Why do I only have the muscle that I have? I move. I “overcome.” Why don't I keep growing muscle? Why don't I look like the Hulk?

anthony mychal hulk

Because there are bottlenecks in both directions. First, gravity never changes. It's always nine point something or other squared dragging you down. Second, the mass of your body parts don't really change, either. Your hand is always five pounds.

So your body builds enough muscle to enable you to move and overcome this load. Building more than what's necessary isn't energy efficient.

So how do you build more muscle?

PUZZLE TIME!

  • No gravity = fondue
  • Gravity = meh muscle
  • ______ = MOAR muscle

Fill in teh blankz112!!12121121 PUZLES! I WIKE PUZZLEWJEBWedfhj. farts.

How to create your own hyperbolic time chamber using toilet paper rolls

hyperbolic time chamber muscle mass

Unfortunately, there's no hyperbolic time chamber. And you can't fly to Jupiter. You can't enter a supergravity world. You have to increase the effect of Earth's gravity by adding mass to your body parts. Or, using lingo you're now privy to: you need to make your body move more load than its used to moving.

There are three ways to do this.

First, do something with more of your bodyweight involved that you're not used to doing. An example: doing chin-ups for the first time.

Second, do something with one limb that you normally do with two limbs. An example: doing one-arm chin-ups for the first time.

Third, add an external weight to a part (or parts) of your body during a movement you've already mastered with your bodyweight. An example: doing weighted chin-ups for the first time.

A first note to preserve my sanity JUST KIDDING ITS GONE LOlloloLloL

There are a bunch of different ways to add weight to your body. When you hold a soup can, you're adding weight to your body. When you lift a couch while helping your friend move, you're adding weight to your body.

Just about any form of resistance training adds “weight” even if its not actually “weight” (like resistance bands). I'm going to remain agnostic about how weight is added for now.

But, later, I won't.

Because I'm just that kind of guy.

A second note to preserve my sanity JUST KIDDING ITS GONE LOlloloLloL

Sit down. This is going to get confusing. The above sounds swell. It's nice and clean. Like my hair. I just shampooed. I don't normally wash my hair. But things get a little messy below the dermis.

In the end, creating a supergravity environment forces our body to produce more tension. Tension is the name of the game. Our body's ability to produce tension is what allows us to overcome load.

Now, if you've been around the block (you're such a whore), you might have heard this: your body only knows tension. In other words, your body doesn't care whether you're lifting a ten pound dumbbell or the world's biggest soup can. It only knows the tension its asked to produce.

This enables the following idea.

What's the difference between (a) creating tension as a byproduct of lifting a ten pound soup can — <VERSUS> — (b) creating tension by voluntarily contracting your muscles as if you were lifting a ten pound soup can.

A lot of people would say that, if you were able to create the same amount of tension sans external weight, then there'd be no difference between (a) and (b) .

I disagree. Why? For now, I need you to take leap of faith. I'll tell you why, eventually. I mentioned this now just to let you know I'm aware of the matter. I'm ignoring it for a reason. Set your stun guns to supergravity and play dumb with me.

How much weight?

Things are coming together. Gravity staples things with mass to the floor. Humans are gross moist things equipped with voluntary movement, which allows them to give gravity the middle finger.

Giving gravity the middle finger requires muscle, yet, at the same time, it is the trigger for building muscle. There's something about this that doesn't make sense, but I'm already drowning in cesspool of cognition.

If you want to build more muscle, you have to throw yourself into a supergravity world. The question is: how “supergravity” do you have to go? Like, if I, like, duct tape a five pound dumbbell to my hand, like, will I, like, get jacked?

→ Click here to read Part 3: How much WEIGHT do you have to LIFT in order to BUILD muscle?


P.S.

When looking at situations that cause muscle loss, I could have mentioned prisoners of war. Starving isn't good for muscle. But, as mentioned in Part 1, I'm not focusing on <FEED> in this guide.

Trying to lose fat, build muscle, and build a body you’re proud of?

Maybe you’re a little lost right now.

Maybe you don’t have much motivation.

Maybe you don’t what program or diet to use.

I don’t know…

But what I do know is this:

Everything you need is inside of you.

You’re capable of more than know.

You just have to open your eyes.

My weekly column can help.

Just a small little honest note from me sent every Sunday.

Unless I’m hungover.

And then it comes Monday.

What I’m trying to say is that it’ll come Monday.

(These weekly columns don’t get posted to the site.)

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