In this video, Dr. Vizniak, of ProHealthSys – Youtube Channel discusses muscle and tendon growth with Dr. Drew Jamieson, a Power Lifter and Dr. Tanner Alden, an avid Rock Climber.
Comparing the forearms of the Power Lifter and Rock Climber, Dr. Vizniak explains how the disparate, long-term demands of these two activities have resulted in very obvious tendon differences.
The forearm musculature of the two men appears similar – but the tendons of the Rock Climber are obviously twice (or nearly twice) the size of the Power Lifter’s tendons.
Dr. Tanner Alden, the Rock Climber, explains how the process of ‘Muscle Hypertrophy’ produces a much faster increase in muscle mass than the tendons of that muscle are INITIALLY able to adapt to.
“Hypertrophy is an increase and growth of muscle cells. Hypertrophy refers to an increase in muscular size achieved through exercise.”
Pointing out that this rapid muscle growth (in SOME activities, sports and training regimens) can outpace tendon growth and strength (over the course of several months or longer.)
And how this often results in training injuries involving said tendons (Tendonitis, Tendinosis, torn tendons / Tendinpathies, in general)…
And that this is especially common in the first two years of a new sport / training program.
Sports / activities that often lead to tendon injury:
- Tennis (of course) and Golf
- Pickleball injuries are on the rise
- Cycling: Road, Mountain and Motocross
- CrossFit weight training
- Even fishing
Dr. Vizniak jumps in to explain that this is because tendons lag behind muscles by 2-5 years in their strength adaptation – depending on how one uses them.
Key Takeaways On The Muscle / Tendon Growth Disparity
Tendon Hypertrophy DOES happen – It just happens much more slowly than muscular hypertrophy.
So, do your best to keep this disparity in mind – Especially as you age, whether you’re:
- Training purely for strength and health reasons,
- Training to improve performance in a specific sport,
- OR are doing strength training for rehab purposes…
- (Especially for tendon healing and recovery from a Tennis Elbow, Golfer’s Elbow OR Rotator Cuff injury!)
Don’t push harder or increase your loads at a rate faster than what your tendons can adapt to.
Never mind how fast your muscles may be able to adapt and grow stronger.
This strength gain will be utterly worthless to you if you injure your tendons – OR cause a major setback in your tendon injury recovery in the process!
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