Just read this, very interesting stuff - Do you believe this?
Does this mean that even if a small but significant portion of some fibers are completely torn, remaining fibers could potentially split and proliferate like flowers given the right environment (HITS or steroids) and "fill up" the damaged area to a degree ?
I've noticed over my years training that the muscles I happened to train with more sets and more reps (biceps) tended to fare MUCH better AND be relatively stronger at the same time in proportion to my chest and shoulders, which I trained with heavy weight and moderately high reps but fewer sets. The article recommends 15-20 reps with 20+ sets for maximum fiber splitting (IF it is actually possible at ALL)
The currently accepted theory of muscle growth is the hypertrophy model. This model holds that we are born with a proscribed number of muscle fibers, which is genetically determined by the twenty-fourth week of fetal development. Muscle growth, this model holds, occurs when repeated stress, such as weight training, causes the fibers to thicken as an adaptive reaction. More precisely, fibers demonstrate a compensatory cross-sectional area increase. The important point here is that most researchers believe that while muscle fibers thicken their number remains constant.
William Gonyea was not mad, a sadist nor an animal hater. He did not harbor a diabolical plan to create Arnold Schwartzefeline. Still, Dr. Gonyea made his cats lift weights. In fact, in 1978, using a Skinnerian behavior modification technique known as "operant conditioning", Dr. Gonyea transformed ordinary cats into devoted weightlifters. Gonyea attached weights to his cats' paws then required them to press levers to obtain food. To do so, they had to lift their weighted paws. To simulate progressive resistance training, he gradually increased the amount of weight attached to the cats' limbs. Gonyea was investigating hyperplasia. He was well aware of the debate among scientists as to whether myofibril hyperplasia exists. By attaching weights to his cats paws Dr. Gonyea was attempting to produce hyperplasia. Ultimately, he did. He reported a 19.3-20.5% increase in the number of muscle fibers in his test cats. Some scientists dispute the method Gonyea used to determine the number of new fibers. Others consider the experiment invalid because cats have as many as eleven different types of muscle fibers while humans have no more than five. (They are more often considered to have only two or three.) These researchers argue that Gonyea's work adds nothing to our store of knowledge about human hyperplasia. While superficially true, we have known since at least 1902 that myofibril hyperplasia can occur in humans. At least in those afflicted with Muscular Dystrophy (Erb, 1891) and in pregnant women's abdominal muscles (Durante, 1902). One can reason that if Gonyea produced hyperplasia in healthy cats, and we know that humans are capable of producing hyperplasia (even if only in abnormal states), it is probable that myofibril hyperplasia can be made to occurs in humans. We have no ethical way of proving hyperplasia in vivo because the repeated removal of cells from the same subject on a recurring basis would be invasive and destructive of that individuals healthy muscle function. We are left to prove myofibril hyperplasia indirectly.
Scientists Tesch and Larsson, in a 1982 study, used an interesting indirect approach. They reported persuasive evidence. Their subjects consisted of three groups: competitive bodybuilders, powerlifters and ordinary, untrained physical education students. Performing minimally invasive fine-needle biopsies on all three groups, their surprising finding was that the world-class bodybuilders showed smaller muscle fibers than the powerlifters. Even more surprising, the bodybuilders muscle fibers were no thicker than the physical education students' who were not weight-trainers. There study was repeated in 1986, to confirm the finding, with the same result. Their conclusion was that the increased muscle size of the bodybuilders was likely the result of fiber-splitting (hyperplasia) rather than hypertrophy. This calls into serious question the almost universally accepted hypertrophy model. One can reason further (even if they didn't). Powerlifters train with fewer reps and heavier weights, In other words, more intensely then bodybuilders; even, as in this case, where the average training experience of the competitive bodybuilders was 10 years. One could reasonably assert that high-intensity training leads to hypertrophy while lower intensity high-load training leads to hyperplasia. Here's how the new model might look.
Biopsies done on swimmers' muscles found that their most intensely trained muscles, their shoulders, appeared to have undergone muscle-splitting. Another study looked at cyclists. They rode 4 days a week, 30 minutes per session, for 6 weeks. Biopsies taken from their frontal thighs were observed to show distinct evidence of fiber splitting. This evidence suggests that sustained but lower intensity demand, perhaps regardless of ultimate duration, may encourage hyperplasia. If this is true, different forms of anaerobic exercise may produce different results. This theory seems to be supported by empirical gym wisdom.