Building muscle and increasing strength

Building muscle and increasing strength are often two of our aims during rehabilitation, whether that be post-surgery or following diagnosis of orthopaedic conditions such as hip dysplasia. 

Building muscle can take time and depends on the frequency, volume and intensity of the exercises or training. 

You tend to see proper muscle hypertrophy (increased muscle mass) after 6-8 weeks.

Any increase in strength before this point is usually due to improved neuromuscular efficiency; the body knowing which muscles need to fire, when to engage them and how long the contraction needs to be for. 

After an exercise or training session, there is micro trauma to the muscles and when the body repairs this damage, it adds new protein strands (myofibrils). Continued training leads to an increase in number and thickness of myofibrils and results in hypertrophy. 

If you don’t see immediate results with your dog’s prescribed exercises or conditioning program, be patient and know that it can take months to see a visible increase in muscle mass.

If you are several months down the line and are still not seeing any results, maybe evaluate the exercises to see if they are targeting the correct muscles and whether the loading of these muscles is sufficient to create an adaptive response.