T Nation

Want to Gain Strength, Not Mass


hey guys,

i want to get as strong as i possible can while minimizing mass gains... can any one help me out?


Don't eat too much.


1) optimise your lifting form

2) optimize your CNS

do you have a phobia about gaining muscle?


There has been articles written on this in the past, look around.



Though the basic idea is to lift heavy and well without eating to gain mass, like the first response said.



First read this:


My picks:







Then pick a program and follow it. Good luck.


Train the CNS!!


No offense, but what exactly would that even mean? I've been on this site for a while and when people throw around terms like "training the CNS", I have no idea what they mean by that. lol


You can't just "train the CNS". Your central nervous system is activated any time a muscle is working. Gaining strength without a gain in muscle mass is largely due to your body learning how to do the movement more efficiently. This will only get you so far, however. Once you learn the "easiest" way for your body to perform the movement, expecting much more strength without any mass gain at all is generally pointless. That is why powerlifting relies so much on technique...in order to take full advantage of weight classes.


Mass nowaday seems more like a disease, no one wants a part of it.
Lets give thanks to the body fat % idea for screwing with so many minds.


Check out Pavels Power to The People.
Made to order.



CT has a lot of programs for training CNS/strength without much of a mass gain. Its possible to gain strength and power without adding pounds, but your cap is limited unless you can decrease bodyfat and use proper nutrition. Having said that, you'll gain maybe a few pounds(5 or less) max but your strength/power will well be worth it, if you stick to a program and set some goals.


I seriously don't get it. I have one guy in another thread basically saying that big muscles are "useless" and non-functional. I don't understand where this shit is coming from but I have a hard time believing some skinny guy is looking at some rocked out 250lbs ripped bodybuilder and actually thinking they are weak or that they can't "function".


I assumed he was in a weight class specific sport. If not I guess I don't get it either.


It's something I don't understand either Prof. It seems people are more ignorant about building strength and mass these days thatn ever before. I mean, has today's media and publications washed away all threads of knowledge in the pursuit of criminalizing bodybuilding and powerlifting?


You might find the tips here useful: http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=718924


I blame the media with those damn infomercials. Six pack in Six weeks, Buns of Steel, that long hair dude on that f-ing machine.
Magazine supplement ads with the damn before and after. 30% body fat to 5%.
No one wants to show the dirty work, it just happens all of a sudden.


I would assume he's happy where he is, and probably doesn't want to change weight classes...thats only an assumption though.

I gotta admit though, a friend of mine who has been powerlifting for years has been around 170lbs forever, never touches supplements and deadlifts 550, squats 450 easily and benches mid 300's with no shirt. It's pretty cool to see a skinny guy like that (and he is REALLY skinny looking) kick ass with the weights...


He could be:

  • A rock climber
  • A fighter, a marital artist, or anyone else trying to stay in a weight class
  • Someone in an endurance sport who would still benefit from increased strength
  • An athlete who is already at an optimal weight for his current sport (e.g., sprinting) - although since he has posted on another thread that he is inexperienced, this is unlikely.

I do not argue that one thing that most people need to become better at physical activity is more muscle mass. I need it, and I'm getting it, pound by pound. But there are sports and professions where it can be a liability.

Of course, this is 'Bodybuilding's Think Tank,' so it might be appropriate to criticize someone for coming here with this question in the same way that it would be appropriate to ask a cyclist asking a bunch of powerlifters for training types 'WTF?'


It is more that I keep hearing "functional strength" being thrown around lately as if gaining muscle is a bad thing. Some of the posts from these people indicate that many actually believe that arms measuring over 19" is a bad thing or "useless" as one other poster wrote. When asked about where these people are who are gaining all of this muscle yet not gaining strength, they don't seem to be able to follow the discussion.

Everyone here understands the difference between sports specific training and bodybuilding. However, this board is a bodybuilding forum regardless of how many seem to be trying to change that. If someone logs on who isn't playing any sports while acting as if muscle is bad, there is a problem. Perhaps they need to find Jarod's Subway forum.