T Nation

Strength vs. Hypertrophy

[quote]Go heavy fool wrote:
Dave_ wrote:
Go heavy fool wrote:
Professor X wrote:

We can talk theory until the end of time, but the truth is, eventually someone will NOT be getting any stronger if they never gain any muscular body weight.

Why not? Is there a limit on muscular density? Just asking X…

If the “muscular density” increases then so will the mass and therefore the weight of the individual.

I think what people are trying to say is that neural efficiency will only take you so far - and at some point you will need to gain some extra muscle to continue getting stronger.

The reason I asking was because I’ve gained alot of strength without ever gaining any muscular size. So in essence, the muscles were getting denser possibly and no hypertrophy mass accumulation.
[/quote]

If you lost some body fat and gained some muscle, you could remain at the same body weight. Also, no one has written that you simply can not get stronger without getting bigger. It was written that it is limited. Also, don’t you have 20" arms or something near it? At what point did you stop growing?

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Go heavy fool wrote:
Dave_ wrote:
Go heavy fool wrote:
Professor X wrote:

We can talk theory until the end of time, but the truth is, eventually someone will NOT be getting any stronger if they never gain any muscular body weight.

Why not? Is there a limit on muscular density? Just asking X…

If the “muscular density” increases then so will the mass and therefore the weight of the individual.

I think what people are trying to say is that neural efficiency will only take you so far - and at some point you will need to gain some extra muscle to continue getting stronger.

The reason I asking was because I’ve gained alot of strength without ever gaining any muscular size. So in essence, the muscles were getting denser possibly and no hypertrophy mass accumulation.

If you lost some body fat and gained some muscle, you could remain at the same body weight. Also, no one has written that you simply can not get stronger without getting bigger. It was written that it is limited. Also, don’t you have 20" arms or something near it? At what point did you stop growing?[/quote]

Yeah some of my muscles I feel are maxed out. Arms are one of them… I don’t think I can increase the size of them anymore, only the strength. Unless I take some steroids, I think that’s as big as I can get them. Now I have alot of other muscles that still can gain size. But yes, my arms have been stagnet for 2 years but my strength levels are still going up.

I think there is un unlimited potential for strength from my own observations, but size I think has some limits. At least for myself.

[quote]Go heavy fool wrote:
Yeah some of my muscles I feel are maxed out. Arms are one of them… I don’t think I can increase the size of them anymore, only the strength. Unless I take some steroids, I think that’s as big as I can get them. Now I have alot of other muscles that still can gain size. But yes, my arms have been stagnet for 2 years but my strength levels are still going up.

I think there is un unlimited potential for strength from my own observations, but size I think has some limits. At least for myself.
[/quote]

There is no doubt in my mind that it is the other way around. Not only that, but some people lik to involve quite a few other muscles in their curls.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Go heavy fool wrote:
Yeah some of my muscles I feel are maxed out. Arms are one of them… I don’t think I can increase the size of them anymore, only the strength. Unless I take some steroids, I think that’s as big as I can get them. Now I have alot of other muscles that still can gain size. But yes, my arms have been stagnet for 2 years but my strength levels are still going up.

I think there is un unlimited potential for strength from my own observations, but size I think has some limits. At least for myself.

There is no doubt in my mind that it is the other way around. Not only that, but some people lik to involve quite a few other muscles in their curls.[/quote]

The reason I say that is because ronnie is pushing and damn near the limits of size. I think it will be met long before strength limits will. I don’t know, there may be limits on both, one, or none. I’m just speaking for myself. I reached some size limits without anabolics. I fell my strength limits are unlimted. i have a long way to go before I can Bench 700 lbs, and I know that could be a possibility if I turned into a powerlifter. Now getting 22" arms, I think is out of the question for me. I started bodybuilding with near 13" arms and at this point I would have to cheat and use steroids to make any more progress. I think I reached my genetic potential or limit for my arms. Maybe I could squeeze out another 1/4 or 1/2 inch out with a couple more years training, and that’s pushing reality. But it’s not even worth it. At this point, I just lift for maintainence of the size and increasing the strength.

Will you get stronger if you get bigger, most likely yes. Will you get bigger if you get stronger? Not neccessarily.

Undoubtably there are some methods of training that are best for gaining size and some methods that are best for gaining strength. The two are definitly not mutually exclusive, so there are definitly different training methods for different goals.

Hi guys,

I’d have to agree with Prof X. that “there’s not much difference” to a certain point. What I mean is that if you expose your muscles to an increasingly intense resistance they will adapt. One of these adaptations is increases in muscular size, another is increases in neuromuscular activation and coordination.

What I mean is that if you train for strength you will build some muscle. If you train for improving muscle you will build strength. Now, the extent to which you get a carry over will vary depending on many factors.

One factor that I’m surprised no one has mentioned (and if someone did mention it and I missed it I apologize) is diet. Your body needs surplus calories to build muscle as muscle is a very metabolically active tissue. If you don’t have any surplus calories, than your body is not going to add tissue that it can’t support.

In regards to the question about limits in terms of strength and muscular size; both are limited. If this weren’t true, then we’d see 80 year old bodybuilders, powerlifters, strongmen, etc… winning every competition out there. Why? Because if there were no limiting factor on an athletes strength/mass capabilities except time, then the oldest athletes would dominate.

Everyone has a genetic limit to their strength/mass building capabilities. I think we’d all like to wish that this weren’t true and that through determination and hard work we can indefinetely improve our bodies. But it’s simply not true.

Sure, improvements in training methodologies, supplements (either legal or illegal), nutrition, etc… will mean that the athletes of tomorrow will probably outdue the athletes of today. But, even then there will be a limit.

That being said, I don’t really agree that in order for someone to continue gaining strength they will reach a point where mass must also be built. Now, would they necessarily reach the same strength levels as they could if they gained mass? No, most likely not. But they will still improve in terms of strength.

I also don’t agree people who cite examples of strength athletes who compete in sports that contain weight classes to support the argument that you don’t need to build mass to get strong. Do you think those athletes would weigh as much as they do if they didn’t train? Or, more specifically; would they have the same levels of muscular development? No. Their bodies have build muscle to allow them to reach those strength levels.

But, they also train with the specific purpose of minimizing their bodys’ mass building tendencies (probably through a combination of training protocol and dietary restrictions).

Good training,

Sentoguy

[quote]Lorne wrote:
If training for hypertrophy involves increasing the size of the muscle fibers to create more muscle mass, I’d like to know how the physiology behind training for strength…wouldn’t muscle fibers also increase in size when strength training? So what is the difference in the way muscles respond to these training techniques?[/quote]

You’re soley thinking about the muslce, when you should be thinking about the body as a whole (hint:CNS efficiency, golgi, receptors, etc.).

Check out the pint-sized lifter at 2:08.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcPpTNHSqfc&mode=related&search=