Is "Muscle Memory" a fact or a myth?

  • rnch

    Posts: 11524

    Oct 02, 2015 3:46 PM GMT
    I was hitting the gym on a regular basis for a couple of years, seeing good results, receiving compliments on my all-too-slowly (in my opinion) emerging bis, pecs, glutes and traps.

    Then Hurricane Katrina visited New Orleans, my beloved city and normal life got ALL foiked up. I bought a now awesome old house in one of the Historic Home districts (pics on my profile page), spent the last 10 years working overtime to pay for the total remodeling of my Bywater Money Pit.

    Working out became a low priority.

    Ok, 10 years and a couple of knee surgeries later, the house is about done, I am seeing a guy who is Pleasingly Pumped up (what he sees in me is a mystery to me!), admiring his physique, thinking it's time to haul my procrastinating azz back to the gym.

    After a 10 year layoff, will I be starting ALL over again?

    Or will what I used to have return quicker than the time it took to get it?


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  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 02, 2015 6:05 PM GMT
    Yes and no.

    It will be easier because you DO have muscle memory and progress will be even faster than easy beginner gains.

    But it will be harder because you're older.

    Been there, done that (astounding fellow gym members) - twice.
  • rnch

    Posts: 11524

    Oct 02, 2015 10:19 PM GMT
    If I flex hard I can still feel some bis & tris and make my Pecs Pop...so something is still there.

    Not what USED to be apparent, of course.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 02, 2015 10:25 PM GMT
    Did a hell of a lot of walking in my teens and running in my twenties and thirties. After a layoff, my thighs and calves are always the first to come back.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 02, 2015 10:34 PM GMT
    Size and strength tend to return quicker than endurance and speed.
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Oct 02, 2015 11:03 PM GMT
    After only a 2 year workout, followed by a 10 year break, I would definitely say that you would be starting all over, except for what you learned (I hope) about how to work out. But, don't despair. If you want it badly enough, you can do it. Start with very low weights so that you can safely determine what you're capable of doing. Then, go from there.
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    Oct 03, 2015 12:15 AM GMT
    I'm familiar with "muscle memory" from another direction: Dance, or, more specifically, Ballet. However much time passes, the dancer's muscles "remember" the music and the choreography comes back as if the last performance were yesterday. If the show has been choreographed differently for the new production, you've got to make sure your muscles remember the new steps and don't go with the old steps! So apply this to gym work in whatever proportion fits . . .
  • bro4bro

    Posts: 1034

    Oct 03, 2015 1:08 AM GMT
    Muscle memory is a fact.

    Six years ago I herniated a lumbar disk, badly. For ten days, until I had my first cortisone injection, I couldn't stand up straight, lie down flat, or walk. My muscles atrophied frighteningly quickly - by the time I was able to get back into the gym, about a month later, I'd lost 13 pounds of muscle mass. On my frame that's just about all of it. The quads suffered the most since they just weren't getting any signals from my pinched-off nerve.

    It was a while before I could work out hard again but thankfully my muscle mass came back - not as quickly as it left, but much more quickly than when I was first bulking up in my early 20s. I still don't think I quite have my old physique back - age plays a role too - but most people can't see the difference even when I show them old pics. And, while I'll never run as fast as I used to, I'm back to competing in track again, and taking an age group medal in nearly every race I run.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 03, 2015 7:07 AM GMT
    Depends on how long you worked out before taking a break. Also, the length of the break matters too. I think it was on Bodybuilding.com where they had some pyramid structure which described how difficult or easy it could be for you to gain back your previous strength and muscle, based on the two factors I mentioned earlier.
    I would say you will have to start almost from zero.
  • rnch

    Posts: 11524

    Oct 03, 2015 5:26 PM GMT
    Of course I don't expect to pump up to my former size in just a few sessions; that only happens on late night/early morning "infomercials".




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  • Dazza73

    Posts: 23

    Oct 03, 2015 6:20 PM GMT
    Brother get back on that bicycle , I can't tell or give advice , that's what I do , and life gives challengers, build a bridge and get over it ! That's not advice that's a give me ( suck it up move on you can do it , the words I can't should not be in the English dictunarry
  • Dazza73

    Posts: 23

    Oct 03, 2015 6:31 PM GMT
    Brother get back on that bicycle , I can't tell or give advice , that's what I do , and life gives challengers, build a bridge and get over it ! That's not advice that's a give me ( suck it up move on you can do it , the words I can't should not be in the English dictunarry