How Does Muscle Memory Work?

By:Ava Loftus

What Is Muscle Memory?

Muscle memory are memories stored in your brain of frequently enacted (acted out) tasks of your muscles.
Muscle Memory Example

Shooting Freethrows

How It Works

Muscle Memory first starts with your muscle cells.
They are quite large and one of the few multi nuclear(have more than one nucleus per cell) cells in our bodies.

When you load your muscles with training, new nuclei are added to the muscle cells, which allows they them to grow larger in size. When nuclei are added they make the muscles larger and muscle fibers also begin to grow in size.

Upon detraining(not training) those muscle fibers are resistant (with stand) to atrophy (disuse) thanks to the increased amount of nuclei.

Some time later when training is resumed, the muscles rapidly grow in size because the step of adding nuclei is "skipped." Because they are already there, ready to combine muscle proteins again, rapidly increasing muscle size.

This is why retraining is easier than the first training you performed by those with no previous training history.

Easier Explanation

Here is a little easier way of explaining it .When you teach your body how to do something physical, it creates a "blueprint". Even if you take some time off, you'll get back to where you were faster than it took you to learn the exercise in the first place. This process comes from your body's learning not just how to perform a task, but also how to break down muscle tissue and then repair and rebuild it.

This process starts in the brain, When you move, you activate proprioceptors (sensors) in your muscles, tendons, and joints that constantly give feedback to your central nervous system about where your body is in space, so it knows what muscles to fire next, it's a continuous feedback loop from your brain to your muscles and back. Your brain creates pathways through your central nervous system, and movements become automatic. Those well-worn pathways essentially become your muscle memory. The more you do this certain activity, the more your brain remembers!

Muscle Memory Conclusion

Muscle memory occurs basically every where you go and any where you are. Muscle memory could be anything from how you hold your pencil to how you kick a soccer ball or how you shoot a hockey puck. Without muscle memory you wouldn't be able to remember a lot of the motions you do and it would be harder for you to progress and get better at those movements. Basically without muscle memory it would be like not being able to remember any gestures or movements or anything that really involves your muscle. This is how muscle memory works and why it is so important in our everyday lives.