Cell Volume Strategy for Maximum Gains

Increase your cell volume for more muscle


However you attempt to get it done, the fact remains that the molecular key to unlocking the door to muscle-size gains, one way or another, must result in increasing the volume of the muscle cell from the inside. Under the appropriate stimulus, the muscle cells take on fluid and thus increase in size. The regulation of this volume is obviously governed by exercise because no matter what you do, muscles won’t grow big without it. But at the cellular level, it really comes down to understanding how exercise influences muscle cell volume and what specifically we can do to augment and amplify those results.

Research confirms that there’s a distinct and very tightly balanced system whereby the body influences control over muscle cell volume. Intracellular “impermeant” solutes are the molecules that exist inside each muscle cell but are unable to freely pass in and out of the cell. That’s because they’re either too big in size (stearic) to make it out of the cell or because they’re particles charged (ionic) in such a way that they’re repelled away from the internal surface of the cell membrane and back into the sarcoplasm (the cytoplasmic water-based fluid that fills the cell). These particles influence muscle size because they “attract” water into the muscle cell from outside the cell and cause it to swell. This free water is supplied by way of the bloodstream and is free to pass into and out of the cell depending on need.

While water may not passively flow in and out of the cell without impetus, the body can metabolically govern the influence particles that water follows by actively pumping them in and out of the cell. The body exerts muscle cell size control in this way by balancing passive solute and water fluxes that would otherwise cause muscle cell swelling under the influence of these solutes. Further control is exerted by way of solute transport processes adjusting muscle cell volumes by actively pumping permeable particles into the cells. So water follows particles.

Particulate matter—which water follows and thus results in larger muscle cells—is controlled by a number of extracellular factors, which can be manipulated and controlled to some degree. They include diet, dietary supplementation, medications, tonicity, pH, as well as pressure gradients. The effects of such alterations in the extracellular environment produce intracellular changes that occur in exercising muscle. The contributions of these controllable cofactors of exercise in boosting muscle cell volume are described herein.

To begin with, some parochial but popular articles I’ve read, often by non-physicians, simplistically underscore the preeminent importance of adequate hydration for maximum cell volume. But I’m really going to spare you a lengthy discourse on what I see as inane drivel over water intake. Of course nothing happens without adequate water intake—that should be innately obvious even to the densest of toothless morons. Why these paperweight pundits spend so much time talking about water is beyond me. Clearly a water-depleted state will not only impede muscle cell volume, but will be profoundly unhealthy because it depletes all the cells in the body. In other words, if you’re seriously dehydrated, you have way bigger problems than your biceps not being full enough.

On the flip side, massive water drinking doesn’t build muscles, either. So those who make hyper-hydration a priority represent nothing more than the blind leading the blind. So spending too many more words on that is a waste of your time. I’ll continue on with the assumption that it’s obvious that one needs adequate hydration for any cell volume enhancing technique to have any impact, and that excess hydration won’t produce anything more than a few more daily trips to the nearest urinal.

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