T Nation

Real Sport Vs Bodybuilding : Comparison in muscle response

I’ve noticed from a few posts that some people have found that they had greater muscle hypertrophy participating in “real sports” compared to bodybuilding. Have many of you had such experiences? If so, which sport were u participating in? And how does that training differ to your bodybuilding regiment in terms or hours per week, intensity etc. Thanks in advance.


I wonder if this spurt of muscle growth was due to the fact that the “real sport” was something new and different and therefore elicited growth. Sounds like it may have been time for a change for some of these people. I have been athletic and physically active all my life - and I’ve never hit any plateaus. I have found that running does nothing for me - especially after running the Hood to Coast - which is a 200 mile relay (with 12 people on the team, largest relay in the US, I believe also in the world). I’ve also done a 200 mile bike ride around Mount St., Helens. But I do this stuff for the hell of it. But none of it encouraged muscle growth. Quite the opposite.

Look at the way the athletes who participate in various sports are built; that’ll give you some indication of what one can expect hypertrophy-wise from participating in those sports. Obviously there’s not a perfect correlation between athletes’ physiques and the muscle-stimulating properties of their sports (i.e., there’s no way bobsledders get as beefy as they are from bobsledding), but at least some insight can be gleaned from doing this. For example: it’s fairly obvious that lots of time under tension while speed skating will blow up your quads, sprinting will enhance overall upper leg development, and wrestling will give you a big neck. I think Particia was right in saying that muscle growth from sports is most likely a function of the novel stimuli certain sports provide and not of those sports being inherently “better” at building muscle that weightlifting. I can’t tell - does this answer your question?

i remember reading (i think it was a iron dog) that many “real sport” athletes have excellent calve development because of the calves involvement in many actions (sprinting, jumping, ect.) that provide a different stimulus and because of the increased blood flow (due to the activities) to the calves, that isn’t normally there.

I am testing this as i train for football, i have eliminated all my “normal” calf work and relied solely on jump roping, Coach Davies’ prescribe GPP, and sprints for any calf improvement. Whenever i increase the amount of GPP or rope work my calves kill the next day.