Many studies have looked at the question and found a link. Muscles that are “muscled on” are in a much better shape, and in some cases have even greater growth potential than muscles that are “muscled off,” according to research by Dr. Richard Sharpe and Dr. Stuart McGill in 2004.
Dr. Sharpe and Dr. McGill surveyed 4,000 bodybuilders and bodybuilders-to-be and measured the strength of their muscles and their fitness levels before and after training. They also tested each individual’s fitness and muscle density.
Their conclusion? Training muscle directly increases its strength.
The bottom line?
If you want to build muscle mass and muscle quality, you don’t need to focus on exercises that require intense muscular contraction. Focus instead on exercises like pushups, squats, handstands, rope climbs, tai chi, yoga, swimming, martial arts and other activities that strengthen the muscles you use daily.
I think it’s time to put the past behind us. And I’m sure a lot of people want me to do the same: I’ve spent most of my life writing about the current moment.
I wrote, in 1999, about how the “American Dream” was coming undone — that the middle class of the 1960s could no longer be sustained or even maintained. It was a prophetic piece, and it brought me in direct line with a very relevant, contemporary discussion among left-leaning commentators. I said that our national conversation was turning on whether we could sustain an American Dream at a time when middle-class wages had been falling for decades, and that these wage-deprived Americans were being left behind by a “superficial” debate over “fiscal responsibility.”
The fact that it was so timely — to a point — was incidental. What was crucial was how we were talking about the American Dream. If we were talking about an American Dream of low-wage, part-time jobs that barely pay a living wage, it was easy to make the case that this was a good thing, a kind of economic stimulus to the economy, rather than a kind of trap meant to suck people into the “permanent underclass.” You could argue that we needed these people because these jobs pay no living wage at all — that we’re letting a rising class of permanently working-class Americans down, and we need to keep up the pressure on people to find jobs that pay more.
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