The science underlying the process of exercise is relatively complex, and there has been no better way to explain it than the science of muscle memory.
Explaining muscle memory at the scientific level may not be an effective way of communicating so, we will briefly describe this complex science in the most understandable way possible. Moreover, Einstein has advised us to make everything very simple.
There are times when we build muscles up to some size that looks attractive to us, and we tend to flaunt them proudly, but as life may have it, the unexpected happens, and we lose those muscles, and we back flat like a deflated balloon. After some time and we decide to get ourselves back into the gym, we have these muscles back to their previous sizes in no time. It may have taken us months to build them at first, but after we lose them and return to rebuild them, it takes few days or weeks to have them go back to precisely the same shape and size as they were. This shows us that these muscles have a way of remembering their previously attained size and positions. This is what muscle memory is all about; the ability for muscles to recall their previous sized and shapes and adopt those shapes and sizes as soon as they resume physical activities.
Building Muscle Memory:
It is a question of how these memories are built into the muscles. It is quite simple; just the same way your mind is trained to recognize the alphabets, our muscles are trained to identify different levels of stress, and they keep a cognitive record of these stress levels and adapt to the highest level of stress to which they most frequently exposed to. Just the same way you end up humming unconsciously to the songs you are constantly exposed to in your neighborhood whenever you hear it sound in public –most times it even sounds in our heads.
Types of Muscle Memory:
There are two types of muscle memories:
> The neural muscle memory that has to do with the memory of the neural muscles; it is trained by the repeated occurrence of events like taking a posture repeatedly and practicing a dance step regularly. This muscle memory is closely linked to the brain.
> Cellular Muscle Memory that has to do with peripheral muscles like the thigh, the biceps, and triceps to name a few. These muscles keep a memory of their previous sizes –thickness and length –so that whenever they tend to lose this size due to inactivity, they will reserve the ability to bounce back to when they resume activity at a rate that is faster than they lost their sizes.
Both memories together form a perfect connection between the mind and the body that I’d call “Psycho-somatic Relationship” coined from the words “Psycho” for the mind and “somatic” for the body cells as in the somatic cells.