just a question out of curiosity!

I went to a Science Live event last week, and one of the things they talked about was how cell death is essential for growth and replacement of cells.

Does this mean increasing the rate of cell death in specific regions of our bodies would mean that muscles would break down faster, and therefore be more susceptible to hypertrophy with less effort?


1 Answer 1


Not quite, no.

When you work out, you are not actually killing cells, you are merely causing injuries in the muscle that when repaired become larger, which then causes either strength gain or hypertrophy.

Cell death such as you are talking about is when cells become so damaged they can't carry out their normal function any more, or they have other occurrences (such as DNA fragmentation) that prevent them from functioning as expected.

Generally when people work out enough to kill cells, it's called rhabdomyolysis, and it can be life threatening.

  • Thanks. Yeah, that makes a lot more sense now. But could the principle of weakening cells still be applicable? Feb 8, 2015 at 16:52
  • 1
    No, it's not going to work the way you are thinking. But you are free to whack yourself with a stick to create bruises and give it a try :) (That was sarcasm, please don't whack yourself with sticks).
    – JohnP
    Feb 8, 2015 at 22:05

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