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Huberman Lab

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May 31, 2021

In this episode I describe how our brain and nervous system control muscle tissue and how to leverage that for muscle maintenance, growth (hypertrophy) and recovery. I explain how neurons control muscle contractions and limb movements. I explain muscle metabolism and muscle fiber recruitment. I detail protocols for increasing muscular growth and for neuro-muscular recovery. I explain the effects of deliberate cold, anti-inflammatory agents, and anti-histamines on training progress. I describe science-supported protocols using certain weight load ranges, total sets per week, training intensity, frequency, and in-between set activities if one's goal is to increase muscle growth, strength or endurance. I review three foundational compounds and nutrients and three optimization compounds and nutrients that have been shown to improve neuro-muscular performance. Finally, I explain how to leverage exercise and weight training to enhance cognitive function.


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  • 00:00:00 Introduction
  • 00:10:58 Protocol For Fat Loss: (Zero-Cost) PDF Available At:
  • 00:12:45 Muscle Is A Slave To the Nervous System
  • 00:16:22 Why We Have A Brain
  • 00:17:38 Flexors, Extensors, & Mutual Inhibition
  • 00:20:00 How Muscles Move, Making & Using Muscle Energy: Making ATP
  • 00:23:29 The “Burn” Is Not Lactic Acid. Lactate: A Buffer (Prevents Acidity), Fuel, & Hormone
  • 00:26:11 Feeling the Burn For 10% of Workouts Is Good For Brain, Heart, Liver
  • 00:27:30 Leveraging Lactate To Enhance Brain Function
  • 00:29:40 Breathing Properly Through “The Burn”— For Sake of Performance & Brain Function
  • 00:30:47 Neurogenesis (New Neurons) & Exercise: Not Much, In Humans… Which Is Good.
  • 00:33:39 How To Contract Muscles, Make Them Bigger and/or Stronger: Henneman’s Principle
  • 00:36:58 A Large Range of Weight (30-80% of One Repetition Maximum) Can Be Used
  • 00:38:58 What Makes Muscles To Grow? Stress, Tension, & Damage; Myosin Balloons
  • 00:45:22 Figuring Out Which of Your Muscles Will Grow & Get Stronger Easily (Or Not)
  • 00:48:11 Getting Stronger Versus Muscle Growth: Distributed Versus Local Effort
  • 00:50:47 How Much Resistance Should (Most) People Use? (30-80% Range) & Specific Goal
  • 00:54:25 How Many Sets Per Week To Maintain Or To Grow Muscle & Get Stronger
  • 00:56:43 10% Of Resistance Training Should Be To “Failure”, the Rest Should End “Near” Failure
  • 00:58:23 Number of Sets: Inversely Related To the Ability to Generate High Force Contractions
  • 01:00:09 How Long Should Weight Training Sessions Last
  • 01:01:35 Training Duration & Volume
  • 01:03:51 Range of Motion & Speed of Movement; The Key Role of (Upper Motor) Neurons
  • 01:08:10 Customizing Training; 1-6 Month Experiments; Key Elements Summarized
  • 01:09:28 Focal Contractions Between Sets To Enhance Hypertrophy, Not Performance
  • 01:11:26 The Optimal Resistance Training Protocol To Optimize Testosterone Release
  • 01:16:00 How Quickly To Complete Repetitions; Interset Rest Times & Activities; Pre-Exhaustion
  • 01:20:43 Tools To Determine If You Have Recovered From Previous Training: Local & Systemic
  • 01:26:33 Carbon Dioxide Tolerance Test For Assessing Recovery
  • 01:32:43 The Way To End Every Training Session. How To Breath Between Sets For Performance
  • 01:34:46 How & When To Use Cold Exposure To Enhance Recovery; When To Avoid Cold
  • 01:36:37 Antihistamines & Anti-Inflammatory Drugs: Can Be Problematic/Prevent Progress
  • 01:38:42 Foundational Supplements For Recovery: EPA, Vitamin D3, Magnesium Malate
  • 01:41:08 Ensuring Proper Nerve-Muscle Firing: Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium
  • 01:45:00 Creatine: Good? How Much? Cognitive Effects. Hormonal Considerations: DHT
  • 01:50:12 Beta-Alanine, Beet Juice; Note About Arginine & Citrulline & Cold Sores
  • 01:52:00 Nutrition: Protein Density: Leucine Thresholds; Meal Frequency
  • 01:55:54 Why Hard Workouts Can Make It Hard To Think/Do Mental Work
  • 01:57:25 Leveraging Weight Training & Rest Days To Optimize Cognitive Work
  • 01:58:58 What Time Of Day Is Best To Resistance Train?
  • 01:59:40 More Information Resources, Subscribing (Zero-Cost) To Support


Please note that The Huberman Lab Podcast is distinct from Dr. Huberman's teaching and research roles at Stanford University School of Medicine. The information provided in this show is not medical advice, nor should it be taken or applied as a replacement for medical advice. The Huberman Lab Podcast, its employees, guests and affiliates assume no liability for the application of the information discussed.

Title Card Photo Credit: Mike Blabac -