Revolutionary muscle discovery

Revolutionary muscle discovery

muscle mesh not fiber

This is HUGE news for bodybuilders and strength trainers if it is true. It appears that the model of the muscle we have been using for over 50 years is probably wrong.  Our understanding of how muscles generate power has been transformed by the July 10 in the Royal Society journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The Royal Society is the U.K.’s national academy of sciences.  They used x-ray diffraction and 3D computer modeling on moths in their research.  Myosin pulling on actin still shorten, or contract, the muscle — but the power doesn’t just come from pulling on the endpoints of the “rubber band” as previously thought.  If this research turns out to be correct, muscle is more like a mesh than a bundle of fibers and can pull side to side as well as axially.  This new research helps explain the discrepancy of why muscles can produce more force than the simple axial model suggests. So basically they are proposing replacing the old rubber band muscle model with the muscle-blob muscle model where the muscle blob can pull side to side on its neighbors as well as linearly between the endpoints.

What this means to bodybuilders

First it means that I would need to eat humble pie and admit I am wrong.  For years I have said there there is no way to shape muscles like biceps and that it was simple genetics and locations of insertions that determined shapes. I have also said that there is no way to focus on the inner pec or the outer pec.  If this research is correct, it means that you CAN shape muscles.  Why?  If the muscle is a simple rubber band like the current model suggests, then you can only make the fiber bigger.  I make a big deal of this in my discussion of inner and outer pecs.  If the muscles are not an independent bunch of rubber bands bound together in a sheath, then everything is changed and shaping would be possible.

The outcome of this research could also have great implications for helping us learn how to optimally build strength and muscle mass.  It could shed light on optimal range of motion.  The old  “length-tension curve” model from the 50’s will certainly be refined by this research.


Thanks to member Autodafe on the AskScooby forum for finding this important research

38 thoughts on “Revolutionary muscle discovery”

  1. But what can we do that we haven’t already been doing? When we work a muscle, it contracts in one axis. If you were to use these new finding, then surely you would have to contract it in a different axis?

    Also…it’s a moth. We are not moths. This is also the reason why studies on rabbits which say that sat fats, meats, eggs or what have you are bad for us. Different wild diet and anatomy = Different results

  2. Ah, Scooby… don’t beat yourself up… I read the article just now, and I seriously doubt it will change much of what you’ve written so far. Actually, perhaps I am wrong, but I do have a hard time to see how that generation of force in a “sideways” fashion like described in the article would help much with efforts of trying to actually shape the muscle. Still… even if that would be possible, the most important things you always insist on will still be true. I mean, most of the people out there shouldn’t ever worry about shaping muscle but forget about biceps curls and bench presses for a while and focus much more on correct form and a sensible balance in their workouts. All these points you make are still very true and sure 100 times more important than possible implications on shaping muscle ;-)
    But leaving that aside, a little hint on how shaping muscle could be practical based on that research I’d find interesting. Also it would be cool if these new insights would shed some light into the whole “you gotta mix it up” thing, and allow for a little more systematics there.

  3. Now that’s character, Scooby. And that’s exactly why I keep coming back here!
    You show a pretty good understanding of the anatomy and physiology of muscles…for an engineer :-)

    Thanks for the news and keep on pushing!

  4. About shaping: in my twenties I used to work inner pecs a lot and, even though I was a skinny 60kgs bloke, was able to stuck a pen between my pecs.
    I am now 35 and have been following a proper method for years, with no direct emphasis on inner pecs (dips, push ups and inclined wide push ups only).
    I’m happy with the results and reached 78 kgs last year. But I never manage to stuck this pen again.
    Bottom line: this seems to indicate to me that shaping, to some extend, might be possible.
    Rgds, Phil

  5. Scooby , first of all hi i am a 16 year old fan of you , but i think it is really possible to shape muscle loook at any biceps of a swimmer who doesnot do gym you will see longer biceps i have seen this by myself with all my freinds who swim and me and my freinds who go to gym , all of the ones who swim got longer biceps than any of us , also maybe same thing with basketball players their calves seems alit bit longer and not shaped like a small baseball like the people who go to the gym . anyway you you have inspired me alot and it is nice to know you can admit you wrong , ( i was 98 kg when 15 now 16 and 78 with way better muscle mass and).Thanks for you time and sorry for me english

  6. Sounds interesting. I think Arnold must have known this research back in the 1970’s as he was able to improve on each weak part of his chosen muscle group.

  7. Hi, I know this isn’t related to the blurb, but here it goes. I pulled my achillies tendon and my hamstring (same leg). I don’t want to use that as an excuce for not doing cardio. It’s a mild injury, and doctors have told me I can do mild exercise. I can also walk around with little pain. I would greatly appreciated it if scooby or anybody could give me some cardio ideas thanks! :)

  8. I hope the humble pie you’re going to eat has less than 10% of calories from fat, full of complex carbs and not simple ones, and has a nice serving of protein too!

  9. But if it’s true you can shape your muscle, wouldn’t every bodybuilder just shape it for symmetry and succeed? Why would anyone have an “off” looking physique?

    1. bodybuilding and strength training as they exist today are more of an art than a science as much as we would like to think otherwise. If YOU knew this already, why didnt you publish this paper? :)

    2. Science doesn’t deal with “wrongness” or “rightness.” Science progresses, discarding old theories when better ones come along. Scooby subscribed to the best theory of muscle development that we had- until a better one came along. That he is able to say outright what such findings mean for our view of muscle shaping, as well to easily admit that he might have been wrong without preamble, shows a great willingness to keep our understanding of the world up to date, without worrying about silly things like “I was right” or “I was wrong.” You apparently haven’t moved past this distinction.

  10. Honestly, just from personal experience lifting I think it’s pretty easy to notice if you’re consistent that you can blast certain parts of your muscles and get them to shape whichever way you want. Whether it holds for everyone or not, dunno, but it seems like common sense to me.

  11. From my own experience, doing different exercises does shape the muscle differently. My biceps grew in a totally different manner when I started doing wide grip pullups compared to simple bicep curls, but there’s no way I could discount the fact that I was just training to get stronger, or that I’d reached some threshold, or that I was growing the brachialis instead which “shaped” the biceps as an underlying muscle.

    Technically, shouldn’t you be able to prove this by the following study?

    Say a person can lift x sets of y reps at z weight. You then train the same muscle with a different exercise to a calculated equivalent weight for an extended period of time. If the lifter can still only do x sets of y reps at z weight on the original exercise, but the cross section dimensions of the muscle changes, then they are shaping.

    Considering that you’d have to discount body fat or water balance changes, it seems difficult to do. If everything was simply determined by insertion points though I’d expect we’d see a lot more homogenous looking people, but I’ve seen tons of different levels of Quad development, for example.

        1. no, just that the old broscience of doing certain excercises in a CERTAIN way, could develope th emuscle in a desired way; like Vincegironda used to preach.

      1. Next admission should be “Spot fat Removal”
        Because it is totally possible. but Just small amount. I have seen lots of people who have very very ripped arm and forearms and very fat at the same time. Also how have strong and rips legs but normal fat percentage body.

      2. Next admission should be “Spot fat Removal”
        Because it is totally
        possible. but Just small amount. I have seen lots of people who have
        very very ripped arm and forearms and very fat at the same time. Also some have strong and rips legs but normal fat percentage body.

  12. Nice discovery! I am looking forward for development in this area.
    If you can shape your muscles besides overall size, how to?

    Thanks in advance.

    P.S – Maybe you should update your opinion in the “inner and outer pecs” link?
    P.S.2 – Thank you for changing my life. It’s been 2 years now and I lost 20 Kg of fat and gained 6 Kg of Muscle. BF: 5.8%. You are my inspiration.

  13. Haha Scooby, I love that you admit being wrong in big old bold text. Keep up the amazing work! You do success stories every year right? I’m planning to enter the next one. -Mike

  14. i give you loads of props scooby, it takes a real man to admit he might be wrong, and it just shows how credible you are as a source of information because you are willing to look at and test your ideas. thanks alot man for helping me with fitness and nutrition for about 4 years now.

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