Sunday, 16 August 2009

Strength Does Not Equal Size

There is a common myth with weight training that the stronger you are the bigger your muscles will be, this is not totally true and is not the case.

While building strength will see your muscles grow because you are building muscle tissue, you will not see the muscle hypertrophy you may want to achieve just by lifting the heaviest weights for lower reps.

Strength is in part related to muscle hypertrophy but only in a small way, strength is actually more related to genetics of tendon length and thickness as well as muscle power.

It is this important factor that causes many of us to visit the gym and see big bodybuilders lifting smaller weight because they know size is not all about strength, so whats the secret they know and we dont?

Truth be told the "Secret" which isnt much of a secret is that to gain big muscles through hypertrophy you need to lift lighter weights for more repeititions as this gets the blood flowing into the muscle.

This lighter workload carried out for a longer time causes sarcoplasmic hypertrophy that sees muscle mass increase at a faster rate than myofibrillated hypertrophy that strenth training causes.

So whats the difference?

Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy means that sarcoplasmic fluid builds up in the muscle giving added size but without the added strength, this is what bodybuilders aspire to achieve.

Myofibrillated hypertrophy means that the myosin and actin fillaments in the muscle increase in number giving the muscle more power and a little extra size.

So you can see a bodybuilder can increase in size quite dramatically with smaller strength gains while someone strength training will see their strength increase dramatically without so much gain in muscle size thus strength does not equal size.