T Nation

Muscles Are Bad For Sports

Do people really believe, as the comment I’ll reproduce below, that having muscle mass is harmful to sports performance? In most sports, muscle serves as a nice layer of protection - a shock absorber of sorts. Have someone punch the softest part of your body. Then have them punch your muscles. Big difference, 'eh?

Anyhow, the comment prompting this was this: [quote]Kaz wrote: It’s Official. We (sports performance) have lost Christian forever. I knew it was leaning that way, but now I know for sure. Soooo[/quote]

The implication is that someone worried about sports performance should not have big biceps.

Do people really believe this? I am not being sarcastic. I’ve found muscle to great improve sports performance.

Do others disagree? Or is commenter involved in a sport like ballet where bigger biceps won’t help him out?

More muscle mass equals more weight. A program that is designed specifically for hypertrophy is completely wrong for a lot of athletes. And for those who could use the “padding” so to speak, their time would be better spent on something else; there are many protocols that will focus on size and strength, so why bother with a pure bodybuilding program?

I understand you like to be controversial and play the devil’s advocate, but this time I really don’t think it’s necessary.

Of course you need muscle for sports performance, but you don’t always need bigger muscles. What you need are muscles that work for your sport. Would Kobe Bryant benefit from developing bigger biceps? Would a swimmer benefit from having huge arms? What about a soccer player?

There is no doubt the focus of Christian’s articles are now for aesthetics. This is fine, it’s his choice, but it doesn’t mean the original poster is wrong by saying this.

It depends on the sport.

[quote]wfifer wrote:
More muscle mass equals more weight. A program that is designed specifically for hypertrophy is completely wrong for a lot of athletes. And for those who could use the “padding” so to speak, their time would be better spent on something else; [/quote]

A running back is going to be hit multiple times a game - no matter how quickly he can run. Is building muscle not something he should do?

Also, as you likely don’t know, seriously lifters start to earn diminishing returns on their time investment in the gym. If an athlete could spend 6 weeks in the gym to add a little bit of weight to his lifts, or add some cushioning to his body, it seems pretty clear what would be the rational decision.

If your argument is that people in a weight class should be sensitive to weight gain, well, duh. But the argument that muscle is not a good thing for most athletes is something that strikes me as, at best, a simplistic generalization; and at worst, indefensible.

Have you ever been hit really hard - whether on the football field? I think not, because anyone who has recognizes the value of additional muscle mass.

[quote]SprinterOne wrote:
Of course you need muscle for sports performance, but you don’t always need bigger muscles. What you need are muscles that work for your sport. Would Kobe Bryant benefit from developing bigger biceps? Would a swimmer benefit from having huge arms? What about a soccer player?[/quote]

This is nuance grossly lacking in the poster’s comment. The claim made by him (and too many others) is that “athletes” should somehow develop an allergy to muscle hypertrophy.

Training exclusively to increase muscle-mass tends to exclude other ‘functional’ aspects of one’s muscles, and can be sub-optimal for athletic performance.

That said, having a Ronnie Coleman-level of muscle-mass will slow one down some, (i.e. he does weigh around 300 lbs) more mass = more inertia. On the same token, having NO muscle mass would be also bad.

In short, it would probably be hard to be a pro bodybuilder and a pro basketball player at the same time, simply because the goals are so divergent.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
Do people really believe, as the comment I’ll reproduce below, that having muscle mass is harmful to sports performance? In most sports, muscle serves as a nice layer of protection - a shock absorber of sorts. Have someone punch the softest part of your body. Then have them punch your muscles. Big difference, 'eh?

Anyhow, the comment prompting this was this: Kaz wrote: It’s Official. We (sports performance) have lost Christian forever. I knew it was leaning that way, but now I know for sure. Soooo

The implication is that someone worried about sports performance should not have big biceps.

Do people really believe this? I am not being sarcastic. I’ve found muscle to great improve sports performance.

Do others disagree? Or is commenter involved in a sport like ballet where bigger biceps won’t help him out?[/quote]

Dumb post. “Sports performance” can mean many different things in different contexts.

That said, an arm specialization cycle would be a profound waste of time for pretty much any athlete except bodybuilders and arm wrestlers.

Big biceps are great. They shouldn’t be the goal, though, merely a byproduct, of strength training for most non-bodybuilding athletes.

Think strength to weight ratio…

ASS

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
SprinterOne wrote:
Of course you need muscle for sports performance, but you don’t always need bigger muscles. What you need are muscles that work for your sport. Would Kobe Bryant benefit from developing bigger biceps? Would a swimmer benefit from having huge arms? What about a soccer player?

This is nuance grossly lacking in the poster’s comment. The claim made by him (and too many others) is that “athletes” should somehow develop an allergy to muscle hypertrophy.[/quote]

Not at all…

ASS

He was complaining that CT has shifted to bodybuilding articles recently…that is all and that is it.

Theres alot of levels of muscle mass. Generally as people’s muscles enlarge they lose flexability because number 1 stretching is not first on everybodies list and second muscles get in the way of movements. This is with 1pretty big mass, though many athletes don’t get this big. They go for quick lean muscle.

I don’t think that’s what the original poster intended with that statement.
I think we can both admit that the article in reference was aimed at bodybuilders even though athletes may still find it useful. The poster recognized the aim of the article, and assumed that CT isn’t publishing sports performance articles any more. I did not see him say that athletes could not use it. He seemed to be recognizing the obvious fact that CT hasn’t posted articles directly aimed at sports performance in a while.

We should also be careful with making a blanket statement such as “more muscle equals better performance”, which you imply with your post. We would have to classify the sport in which we are referring and perhaps even further with which position of the sport. For example, football players can usually benefit from more muscle mass to withstand the trauma on the field. A more muscular linebacker with the same body fat is usually faster and stronger. But developing a more muscular quarterback might be a waste of training time unless he is severely underweight. Also, developing more muscle mass in a sport such as wrestling might not always be beneficial if relative strength does not improve as well.

I have to add that I have found more muscle mass to be helpful in certain grappling situations. I posted this on the thread you’re talking about.

[quote]PpDdAiDdDdYy wrote:
Theres alot of levels of muscle mass. Generally as people’s muscles enlarge they lose flexability because number 1 stretching is not first on everybodies list and second muscles get in the way of movements. This is with 1pretty big mass, though many athletes don’t get this big. They go for quick lean muscle.[/quote]

And on the other side of the coin, we have stupid shit like this…

WTF is “quick lean muscle”? What kind of muscle isn’t lean?

You are totally clueless…why weigh in with your opinion? It is meaningless.

[quote]Ramo wrote:
CaliforniaLaw wrote:
Do people really believe, as the comment I’ll reproduce below, that having muscle mass is harmful to sports performance? In most sports, muscle serves as a nice layer of protection - a shock absorber of sorts. Have someone punch the softest part of your body. Then have them punch your muscles. Big difference, 'eh?

Anyhow, the comment prompting this was this: Kaz wrote: It’s Official. We (sports performance) have lost Christian forever. I knew it was leaning that way, but now I know for sure. Soooo

The implication is that someone worried about sports performance should not have big biceps.

Do people really believe this? I am not being sarcastic. I’ve found muscle to great improve sports performance.

Do others disagree? Or is commenter involved in a sport like ballet where bigger biceps won’t help him out?

Dumb post. “Sports performance” can mean many different things in different contexts.

That said, an arm specialization cycle would be a profound waste of time for pretty much any athlete except bodybuilders and arm wrestlers.

Big biceps are great. They shouldn’t be the goal, though, merely a byproduct, of strength training for most non-bodybuilding athletes.

[/quote]

Good post.

The cardiovascular system has to fit the muscle mass for most sports.

Being huge with poor cardio will hinder you in mnay sports the same as being tiny with excellent cardio.

It all depends on the sport.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
Do people really believe, as the comment I’ll reproduce below, that having muscle mass is harmful to sports performance? In most sports, muscle serves as a nice layer of protection - a shock absorber of sorts. Have someone punch the softest part of your body. Then have them punch your muscles. Big difference, 'eh?

Anyhow, the comment prompting this was this: Kaz wrote: It’s Official. We (sports performance) have lost Christian forever. I knew it was leaning that way, but now I know for sure. Soooo

The implication is that someone worried about sports performance should not have big biceps.

Do people really believe this? I am not being sarcastic. I’ve found muscle to great improve sports performance.

Do others disagree? Or is commenter involved in a sport like ballet where bigger biceps won’t help him out?[/quote]

I think you misconstrued the poster’s comments, and on top of that oversimplified your misinterpretation.

The original qoute by kaz was referring to the fact that CT used to be widely (rightly or wrongingly)known as a ‘performance’ coach, whereas now, based on the amount of bodybuilding specialisation exposure he’s getting, he’s somehow perceived as a ‘bodybuilder’ coach. CT is actually one of the few coaches i’ve seen who isn’t ashamed to cross the divide.

And what i mean by that is alot of strength coaches I’ve worked with in my time have such an irrational disdain for bodybuilding and building physiques purely for aesthetics it’s rediculous.