Published May 2021 on YouTube

Science of Muscle Growth, Increasing Strength & Muscular Recovery | Huberman Lab Podcast #22

1. Introduction

Personalized Nutrition:Andrew discusses the benefits of personalized nutrition through blood analysis and DNA testing with InsideTracker, a platform that provides clear insight into markers impacting hormones, metabolism, and brain health. The platform offers simple and clear directives to optimize health through changes in diet, exercise, and sleep.+
Quality Meat & Meditation:Andrew discusses the importance of high-quality meat and how it affects his daily routine. He also shares his experience with meditation and how the Headspace app has helped him maintain a regular practice.+
The Science of Muscle:Andrew explains the importance of muscle for movement, metabolism, and overall health. He discusses the relationship between the nervous system and muscle and provides science-based protocols to enhance muscle hypertrophy.+
Muscle and Aging:Andrew explains how our brain controls our muscle and how muscle affects our metabolism, posture, and aesthetics. He also discusses the importance of recovery and how to optimize it for better neuromuscular performance.+

2. Fat Loss Protocol

Andrew discusses a protocol for fat loss involving cold exposure and inducing shiver. He also mentions a free resource available at and encourages listeners to support the podcast by subscribing to their YouTube channel.+

3. Muscle Control

Andrew explains how the nervous system controls muscle and how it can be used to trigger hypertrophy. He also discusses how to optimize the process of muscle control.+

4. Why We Have A Brain

Andrew explains the importance of movement in the human brain and how it's the reason for having a nervous system. He highlights the vast amount of real estate in the brain that's devoted to movement and how it's controlled by upper motor neurons.+

5. Flexors and Extensors

Andrew explains how our muscles work in pairs, with flexors and extensors controlling our movements. The neurons that control these muscles allow us to move in particular ways, with antagonistic muscles moving limbs in opposite directions.+

6. Muscle Metabolism

Andrew explains how muscles use and create energy through the process of glycolysis, the breakdown of glucose and glycogen into energy. He also discusses the importance of oxygen in creating ATP and how muscle is the most metabolically demanding tissue in the body.+

7. The Truth About Lactate

Andrew explains that lactate is not the enemy most people think it is. It acts as a buffer against acidity, a fuel for muscles, and helps reduce the burn. This vital molecule is essential for muscle function and is often misunderstood.+

8. Exercise and Lactate

Andrew explains how exercising to the point of feeling the burn can have positive effects on the heart, liver, and brain through the release of lactate, which acts as a hormonal signal.+

9. Lactate and Exercise

Andrew explains how lactate, a molecule produced during exercise, can act as a hormonal signal to enhance the function of neurons, heart, and liver. By engaging the burning sensation during exercise, lactate can be shuttled to the muscles, improving the health of other tissues.+

10. Breathing and Burn

Andrew explains how lactate acts as a buffer of fuel and hormonal signal, and how breathing during exercise helps bring lactate to the site, allowing it to act more effectively. He emphasizes the importance of breathing during exercise, especially when feeling the burn.+

11. Exercise and Neurogenesis

Andrew explains that while exercise can increase neurogenesis in mice, there is very little evidence for enhanced neurogenesis in humans. Instead, hormonal signals such as IGF-1 and lactate pathways are beneficial for the brain and other aspects of the nervous system. More neurons may not necessarily be the best way for the nervous system to change and modify itself.+

12. Muscle Hypertrophy

Andrew discusses how to use specific aspects of muscular contraction to improve muscle hypertrophy and growth, as well as improving muscle strength. He explains the Henneman size principle and how recruiting more motor units can lead to changes in the muscle, potentially making it stronger and larger.+

13. Muscle Hypertrophy

Andrew explains the Henneman size principle and how it has been misunderstood in weight training. He debunks the myth that heavy weights are required for muscle hypertrophy and instead highlights key variables that can greatly increase muscle size and strength.+

14. Muscle Science

Muscle Hypertrophy:Andrew explains the three ways muscles can be stimulated to change and become stronger or larger: stress, tension, and damage. He draws from the work of Dr. Andy Galpin and Brad Schoenfeld to explain the science behind muscle physiology and hypertrophy.+
Muscle Growth:Andrew explains how muscles grow and get stronger through the synthesis of myosin protein. Resistance exercise is important for muscle growth and to offset age-related decline in muscle strength and bone density.+

15. Muscle Control

Andrew explains that the ability to isolate and contract specific muscles is a predictor of how efficient one will be in building strength and size of that muscle. Neural control is a key feature of the neuromuscular system to appreciate as we begin to talk more about specific protocols.+

16. Muscle Isolation vs. Compound Movements

Andrew explains the difference between muscle isolation and compound movements, and how they impact strength and hypertrophy. While muscle isolation is important for generating hypertrophy, compound movements that distribute the work across multiple muscle groups are key for building strength.+

17. Maximizing Resistance Exercise

Andrew discusses the latest research on resistance exercise and how to maximize muscle growth and strength. He explains the benefits of using weights in the 30% to 80% range of one-rep maximum and performing sets to failure.+

18. Muscle Training

Andrew explains the importance of resistance exercise and the number of sets required per week for individuals who are trained or untrained. He emphasizes that at least five sets per muscle group are required to maintain muscle size and strength.+

19. Muscle Building Tips

Andrew Huberman shares his insights on muscle building and resistance exercise. He suggests that 10% of the sets of a given workout or 10% of workouts overall should be of high-intensity sort where one is actually working to muscular failure. He also recommends performing anywhere from 5 to 15 sets of resistance exercise per week, and that's per muscle, and that's in this 30% to 80% of what your one-repetition maximum.+

20. Efficient Muscle Growth

Andrew explains that being able to generate high-intensity muscular contractions using your brain will take fewer sets to stimulate muscle growth and strength. The better you are at recruiting motor units, the more you will stimulate these high threshold motor units, which kick off the cascades of things within muscle that stimulate muscle growth and strength.+

21. Resistance Workouts

Andrew Huberman explains that the number of sets required for muscle maintenance depends on the weight used and that resistance workouts are best favored between 45-60 minutes. He also emphasizes the importance of Henneman's size principle and the recruitment of motor units.+

22. Training Duration & Volume

Andrew discusses the optimal number of sets per week for muscle training, ranging from 5 to 15 sets. However, the volume of work required may vary depending on an individual's strength and ability to generate force.+

23. Speed and Strength Training

Andrew discusses the importance of full range of motion and generating force with increasing speed to increase explosiveness and speed. For those looking to get stronger, slowing down the weight as things get harder is key in recruiting high threshold motor units. Safety should always be a priority and different sports may require different approaches to training.+

24. Customizing Resistance Training

Andrew discusses the importance of customizing resistance training to meet individual needs and goals, emphasizing the need to periodize training and make modifications as needed to maintain and improve muscle.+

25. Muscle Contractions

Andrew explains how hard contractions in between sets can improve the nerve to muscle connection and enhance hypertrophy. Flexing in between sets seems to be effective in generating more strength and hypertrophy.+

26. Resistance Training Protocols

Andrew discusses the ideal resistance training protocols for increasing testosterone release and how recovery is crucial for seeing improvement from session to session. Six sets of 10 repetitions with compound movements cause a distinctly different result in terms of hormone output than 10 sets of 10 of the exact same movement. Recovery dictates whether or not you can come back and do more work of a different kind.+

27. Recovery and Growth

Recovery Tips:Andrew Huberman shares tips on how to recover between sets, including resting for 2-6 minutes for hypertrophy and strength gains, avoiding flexing between sets for performance, and using palmer cooling to increase volume of work without dropping weight.+
Maximizing Muscle Growth:Andrew discusses the benefits of pre-exhausting muscles before compound movements to better target specific muscle groups and generate hypertrophy. He emphasizes the importance of isolating muscles and questions to consider when aiming for muscle growth.+

28. Testing Recovery

Testing Recovery:Andrew discusses the importance of testing recovery not just from resistance training, but also from running and swimming. He explains how to assess systemic recovery through heart rate variability and other simple tests.+
Assessing Recovery:Andrew explains how to assess recovery using grip strength and heart rate variability. Grip strength is a good way to assess recovery as it relates to your ability to generate force. Heart rate variability is difficult for a lot of people to measure, but there are devices that will allow you to do that.+

29. Breathing for Performance

Carbon Dioxide Tolerance:Andrew explains the benefits of the carbon dioxide tolerance test for athletes and non-athletes alike. The test measures the capacity to engage the calming aspect of the nervous system and consciously control the diaphragm. He provides a step-by-step guide on how to perform the test.+
Carbon Dioxide Discard:Andrew explains how measuring carbon dioxide discard rate can be an objective and cost-free way to track recovery abilities. By focusing on breathing and controlling the diaphragm, individuals can engage the calming arm of their autonomic nervous system and prepare for physical work.+

30. Recovery Techniques

Andrew discusses the importance of initiating recovery at the end of a training session and engaging the parasympathetic nervous system. He suggests using respiration tools like physiological sighs and deliberate disengagement to kickstart the recovery process. He also mentions the use of CO2 tolerance sets as a valuable tool for recovery.+

31. Cold and Recovery

Andrew explains that using cold as a recovery tool after resistance training can short circuit the benefits of the workout. While cold can reduce inflammation and muscle soreness, it interferes with pathways that promote muscle repair and growth. However, cold exposure can be beneficial for athletes trying to recover quickly or those focused on endurance training.+

32. Exercise and Medication

Andrew explains how anti-histamines and non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs can hinder the benefits of endurance and resistance training. These medications block inflammation and pain signals, which are important for muscle adaptation. It's important to be cautious of their use before or after exercise.+

33. Reducing Inflammation

Andrew explains the importance of inflammation during training and how to reduce it through the use of omega-3s, vitamin D, and magnesium malate. He also suggests tools like the Reveri app to calm the system down after training.+

34. Enhancing Workouts

Andrew discusses the importance of nerve to muscle communication in weight training and evaluates common methods used to enhance workouts. He emphasizes the vital role of salt in nerve cell firing and the benefits of creatine in improving muscle performance.+

35. Creatine Benefits

Creatine Benefits:Andrew discusses the benefits of creatine, including increased power output and reduced fatigue. He also explains how to properly dose creatine based on body weight and emphasizes the importance of hydration and electrolytes.+
Enhancing Performance:Andrew discusses the effects of creatine and beta-alanine on physical performance. While creatine increases strength and libido, it can also lead to hair loss. Beta-alanine, on the other hand, improves muscular endurance and reduces fatigue during longer duration bouts of exercise.+

36. Performance Boosters

Andrew discusses how supplements like arginine and citrulline can improve performance during long bouts of exercise by increasing vasodilation. However, he also warns about the potential side effects of these supplements, such as cold sore outbreaks.+

37. Muscle Nutrition

Andrew discusses the importance of essential amino acids, specifically leucine, in supporting muscle growth and repair. He also touches on the protein density of animal vs. plant-based foods and the frequency of meals needed to support muscle performance.+

38. Exercise and Brain Function

Andrew discusses the relationship between exercise and cognitive function, explaining that while exercise is vital for brain and body health, hard bouts of exercise can lead to a reduction in oxygenation of the brain, impacting our ability to think. He emphasizes the importance of controlling the intensity and duration of training sessions to balance physical training with the need to use our minds.+

39. Exercise and Focus

Andrew explains how consistent exercise can benefit cognitive function and focus. By scheduling cognitive work on days when you don't do physical training, you can harness the focus and expectation of focus in your nervous system for that particular time of day.+

40. Optimal Training Time

Andrew shares insights on the best time to train for optimal performance and body composition changes based on body temperature rhythms and cortisol release. Training in the afternoon is better for performance, while the timing for body composition changes doesn't matter.+

41. Enhancing Cognitive Focus

Enhancing Cognitive Focus:Andrew Huberman discusses how training at a regular time can enhance cognitive focus for non-exercise activities such as writing, reading, music, or math. He also suggests using the time-stamped podcast to take notes or extract information. Huberman recommends Dr. Andy Galpin and Brad Schoenfeld's work for those interested in muscle physiology and exercise. Finally, he encourages listeners to support the podcast by subscribing and sharing with others.+
Support and Supplements:Andrew mentions that listeners can support the podcast through Patreon and shares his thoughts on Thorne supplements and how they partner with the Mayo Clinic and major sports teams. Listeners can get 20% off any of the supplements listed on Thorne's website.+