Muscle Memory Effect

Consciously or unconsciously, intentionally or unintentionally, there are a variety of reasons for taking a break from training. However, there is one thing we have in common after a break in training: we want our hard-earned muscles back and the Muscle Memory Effect can help. What the Muscle Memory Effect is, how it works and how you can use it to get back into your top shape fast is what you’ll learn in this article. Have fun reading and training!

What is the Muscle Memory Effect?

The Muscle Memory Effect occurs when someone who has previously built muscle mass after a break from training restarts muscle building training. The muscle mass lost after a training break is built up much faster than it was built up the first time.

How does the Muscle Memory Effect work?

The Muscle Memory Effect works on a physiological as well as psychological level:

On a physiological level, the Muscle Memory Effect is based on the cell nuclei in the muscle fibers that proliferate when muscle is built. During a longer training break, the muscle volume decreases, but the number of cell nuclei remains the same. When training is resumed, the body does not have to form these cell nuclei again, which speeds up the rebuilding of the muscles.

On the psychological level, muscle memory effect is based on the knowledge acquired about training and nutrition. Alone the knowledge with which the muscle mass was built earlier will enable one to build muscle faster than most who are just starting out and have no training background.

How long does the muscle memory effect last?

There is not enough research on how long the muscle memory effect lasts after a training break to be able to judge it clearly. According to reports from strength athletes, however, even after many years without training, the former muscle mass could be rebuilt within a relatively short time.

How long does it take to get back into shape with the Muscle Memory Effect?

If you optimize training, nutrition and sleep, you will achieve visible results within the first few weeks and be at the old training level within a few months. How long it actually takes depends on your performance after resuming training and on the muscle volume you had before the training break.

What is the fastest way to build muscle with the Muscle Memory Effect?

How to proceed depends on the length of the previous training break. If it is only a few weeks, no to few changes, such as slightly reduce working weight, must be made. However, if several months or years have passed since the last training session, it is recommended to start with a full-body training plan focusing on basic exercises, light to moderate working weight, slight calorie surplus and gradually increase the whole thing.

Frequently asked questions about the Muscle Memory Effect

Does the Muscle Memory Effect also work for strength?

The cell nuclei multiply through strength training in both type 2a and type 2b muscle fibers. Thus, the Muscle Memory Effect also works for strength building. The more the type 2b muscle fibers were used before the training break, the greater the increase in strength will be when training is resumed.

Does the muscle memory effect also work for endurance?

The multiplication of the cell nuclei in type 1 muscle fibers works according to the same principle as in type 2 muscle fibers. After a break in training, the muscle fibers regress while the cell nuclei remain intact, which is reflected in an increase in performance after the break in training. Thus, the muscle memory effect also works for endurance training.

Does the Muscle Memory Effect also work when you lose muscle through dieting?

The Muscle Memory Effect also works for muscle loss that was not due to a training break. The effect works regardless of the reason for the muscle loss. If muscle was built up earlier, new cell nuclei were formed, which, with adjustment of the diet, accelerate the restoration of original muscle.


Some people say fitness is a thankless sport. The Muscle Memory Effect proves otherwise and shows that nothing is wasted and hard work pays off in the long run! So if you are currently a little out of shape and have invested in your body in the past, you can breathe a sigh of relief, because the strength and muscles can come back faster than you might think at first!

Have you been able to get back into top shape after a training break with the help of the Muscle Memory Effect or are you in the process of doing so? Feel free to share your experiences with me in the comments, I’m happy to exchange ideas with you. If you have any questions about the Muscle Memory Effect, feel free to ask me there, I’ll be happy to help!

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