Young girl lifting weights in a gym

Making muscles

What can we do to build muscle?

Regular exercise makes skeletal muscles grow. If you work a muscle against a larger load than usual, it will get stronger, provided you are eating the right kind of food. You need a good supply of amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) after exercise.

Without a sufficient supply of animo acids, a heavily worked muscle can use up more protein (in supplying itself with energy) than it is able to lay down. Growth is mainly specific to the muscle doing the work, so different training regimes produce different results. Formula 1 drivers are generally fit but lightly built; however, they have large neck muscles because they have to hold their heads against large G-forces on fast corners.

Lead image:

Montgomery County Planning Commission/Flickr CC BY


About this resource

This resource was first published in ‘Exercise, Energy and Movement’ in January 2012 and reviewed and updated in August 2016.

Physiology, Health, infection and disease
Exercise, Energy and Movement
Education levels:
14–16, 16–19, Continuing professional development