T Nation

When Weight Goes Up, But Strength Doesn't


#1

I sometimes notice that my weight goes up, but that I don't gain much, if anything, in strength. Why is that? Shouldn't weight gain almost always result in strength gains? It seems odd that sometimes weight can go up, but strength stays even.

Usually these weight gains occur when I start eating a bit more junk food than I should, but still...I'd think that would help my lifts. Could it be the type of junk food? For instance, it tends to be carbs rather than protein.


#2

[quote]DiddlySquat wrote:
I sometimes notice that my weight goes up, but that I don’t gain much, if anything, in strength. Why is that? Shouldn’t weight gain almost always result in strength gains? It seems odd that sometimes weight can go up, but strength stays even.

Usually these weight gains occur when I start eating a bit more junk food than I should, but still…I’d think that would help my lifts. Could it be the type of junk food? For instance, it tends to be carbs rather than protein.[/quote]

Weight can increase from a variety of factors that are unrelated to muscle gain. Eating more carbs is going to result in carrying more glycogen and holding more water, which will result in weighing more. A higher sodium diet will also result in water retention.

Strength results from making muscles bigger. Greater numbers on a lift can be a result of increasing strength by making muscles bigger or getting more proficient at a movement, or more efficient at recruiting more muscles of the movement, or shortening the ROM, or altering your leverages, or being in an emotionally aroused state, etc etc. If your diet is not supporting any of those activities, it’s why you aren’t observing increasing in strength correlating with weight gain.


#3

[quote]DiddlySquat wrote:
Usually these weight gains occur when I start eating a bit more junk food than I should, but still…I’d think that would help my lifts. Could it be the type of junk food? For instance, it tends to be carbs rather than protein.[/quote]

Why would you think getting fatter would automatically make you move more weight? Fat has no contractile properties. In some lifts gaining some weight (even fat) will make it go up, but not in others. Ie, I’ve read more weight will definitely help your bench a bit, but probably hurt your deadlift. Leverages can change for the better or worse.

That being said, gaining 5lbs of fat will obviously not help your lifts as much as 5lb of muscle. Focus on gaining muscle, not weight.

“Junk” food is generally high fat and/or high carb, and low protein. If it was higher protein it probably won’t be considered junk. Stick to higher quality foods and you’ll get better results. Pondering “which type” of junk to eat is not the right question you should be asking yourself.

Anyway, using the “I just want to lift more weight, therefore I should gain more weight, therefore I should eat junk” excuse is pretty soft, and is certainly not good for long term health. If you are a natural athlete gaining more than about a 1/2lb of weight per week, a lot of it probably fat, which won’t help performance much.


#4

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Weight can increase from a variety of factors that are unrelated to muscle gain. Eating more carbs is going to result in carrying more glycogen and holding more water, which will result in weighing more. A higher sodium diet will also result in water retention.

Strength results from making muscles bigger. Greater numbers on a lift can be a result of increasing strength by making muscles bigger or getting more proficient at a movement, or more efficient at recruiting more muscles of the movement, or shortening the ROM, or altering your leverages, or being in an emotionally aroused state, etc etc. If your diet is not supporting any of those activities, it’s why you aren’t observing increasing in strength correlating with weight gain.
[/quote]

I whole heartedly disagree. Size, weight does not equal strength. Period. And to think one can increase his strength via increasing mass is incredibly misinformed.

Take a Judo practitioner for example, or any athlete that has to be within a certain weight range. It isn’t always the biggest, largest athlete that wins.

That is just a single example but lets look at the logistics. If one affiliates weight gain with strength, why wouldn’y an obese person be the strongest man in the world?

Of course we can’t speak on behalf of the entire population, but then one would also have to at least ponder why the biggest man in the world isn’t the strongest man as well. And that is simply because size does not equal strength. Period.

Of course an ox is stronger than an ant, but an ant, for its weight, its stronger pound for pound in its arena. And when you speak in terms of combat sports, an athlete’s strength is not indicative to their size… Including many other sports…

So then why do we attribute size to strength in lifting weights?

It’s a premonition that has been bolstered by pseudo trainers who regurgitate scientific information in their own words. In other words, people translate facts, into guesses.


#5

Jarvan:

Judo is a technique based sport. Strength is not the decider in wins and losses.

If weight didn’t matter, than why are there weight classes? For example, in the sport of powerlifting, elite lifters in the 308+ lb weight class will regularly and almost always out-total elite lifters in the 165 lb weight class. Sure, weight isn’t the only reason, but it is a huge contributing factor.

The weight of the competitor is often equated to strength because the correlation makes a lot of sense, and happens all the time.

How does the idea of having more muscle equating to more contractile force seem like a logical fallacy to you?


#6

[quote]Jarvan wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Weight can increase from a variety of factors that are unrelated to muscle gain. Eating more carbs is going to result in carrying more glycogen and holding more water, which will result in weighing more. A higher sodium diet will also result in water retention.

Strength results from making muscles bigger. Greater numbers on a lift can be a result of increasing strength by making muscles bigger or getting more proficient at a movement, or more efficient at recruiting more muscles of the movement, or shortening the ROM, or altering your leverages, or being in an emotionally aroused state, etc etc. If your diet is not supporting any of those activities, it’s why you aren’t observing increasing in strength correlating with weight gain.
[/quote]

I whole heartedly disagree. Size, weight does not equal strength. Period. And to think one can increase his strength via increasing mass is incredibly misinformed.

Take a Judo practitioner for example, or any athlete that has to be within a certain weight range. It isn’t always the biggest, largest athlete that wins.

That is just a single example but lets look at the logistics. If one affiliates weight gain with strength, why wouldn’y an obese person be the strongest man in the world?

Of course we can’t speak on behalf of the entire population, but then one would also have to at least ponder why the biggest man in the world isn’t the strongest man as well. And that is simply because size does not equal strength. Period.

Of course an ox is stronger than an ant, but an ant, for its weight, its stronger pound for pound in its arena. And when you speak in terms of combat sports, an athlete’s strength is not indicative to their size… Including many other sports…

So then why do we attribute size to strength in lifting weights?

It’s a premonition that has been bolstered by pseudo trainers who regurgitate scientific information in their own words. In other words, people translate facts, into guesses.

[/quote]

I think everything in your argument is kind of false.

MOre mass (if there comes muscle also) = more strength. Of course there is a bunch of other factors (like things that Pwnisher mentioned), but muscle mass is very important for strength for the majority of the population (specially for beginners, and this is a beginners forum). There was couple great posts about the subject from CT in some thread just some weeks ago in this forum.

Show me a study which says that muscle mass is not important factor in producing force. And science aside - why practically all experienced lifters say, that volume and building muscle are important foundations in building strength?

PS. Strength is only a minor part in Judo (or in any martial art).

PPS. Also, comparing different species?


#7

[quote]Jarvan wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Weight can increase from a variety of factors that are unrelated to muscle gain. Eating more carbs is going to result in carrying more glycogen and holding more water, which will result in weighing more. A higher sodium diet will also result in water retention.

Strength results from making muscles bigger. Greater numbers on a lift can be a result of increasing strength by making muscles bigger or getting more proficient at a movement, or more efficient at recruiting more muscles of the movement, or shortening the ROM, or altering your leverages, or being in an emotionally aroused state, etc etc. If your diet is not supporting any of those activities, it’s why you aren’t observing increasing in strength correlating with weight gain.
[/quote]

I whole heartedly disagree. Size, weight does not equal strength. Period. And to think one can increase his strength via increasing mass is incredibly misinformed.

Take a Judo practitioner for example, or any athlete that has to be within a certain weight range. It isn’t always the biggest, largest athlete that wins.

That is just a single example but lets look at the logistics. If one affiliates weight gain with strength, why wouldn’y an obese person be the strongest man in the world?

Of course we can’t speak on behalf of the entire population, but then one would also have to at least ponder why the biggest man in the world isn’t the strongest man as well. And that is simply because size does not equal strength. Period.

Of course an ox is stronger than an ant, but an ant, for its weight, its stronger pound for pound in its arena. And when you speak in terms of combat sports, an athlete’s strength is not indicative to their size… Including many other sports…

So then why do we attribute size to strength in lifting weights?

It’s a premonition that has been bolstered by pseudo trainers who regurgitate scientific information in their own words. In other words, people translate facts, into guesses.

[/quote]

It appears we believe different things on the matter.


#8

[quote]Jarvan wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Weight can increase from a variety of factors that are unrelated to muscle gain. Eating more carbs is going to result in carrying more glycogen and holding more water, which will result in weighing more. A higher sodium diet will also result in water retention.

Strength results from making muscles bigger. Greater numbers on a lift can be a result of increasing strength by making muscles bigger or getting more proficient at a movement, or more efficient at recruiting more muscles of the movement, or shortening the ROM, or altering your leverages, or being in an emotionally aroused state, etc etc. If your diet is not supporting any of those activities, it’s why you aren’t observing increasing in strength correlating with weight gain.
[/quote]

I whole heartedly disagree. Size, weight does not equal strength. Period. And to think one can increase his strength via increasing mass is incredibly misinformed.

Take a Judo practitioner for example, or any athlete that has to be within a certain weight range. It isn’t always the biggest, largest athlete that wins.

That is just a single example but lets look at the logistics. If one affiliates weight gain with strength, why wouldn’y an obese person be the strongest man in the world?

Of course we can’t speak on behalf of the entire population, but then one would also have to at least ponder why the biggest man in the world isn’t the strongest man as well. And that is simply because size does not equal strength. Period.

Of course an ox is stronger than an ant, but an ant, for its weight, its stronger pound for pound in its arena. And when you speak in terms of combat sports, an athlete’s strength is not indicative to their size… Including many other sports…

So then why do we attribute size to strength in lifting weights?

It’s a premonition that has been bolstered by pseudo trainers who regurgitate scientific information in their own words. In other words, people translate facts, into guesses.

[/quote]

I could link to any number of articles explaining how hypertrophy has a direct influence on strength, but instead I’ll just ask you this question: on average, which class of powerlifters produces the highest totals? Is it the 52 kg guys or the super heavyweights?


#9

The more muscular of a number of people is not necessarily the strongest person. However, you take a single person and add 25lbs of muscle to them, they will be stronger than they were before the additional muscle.

We know this because we have done stuff like given people PEDS and prescribed no exercise (as they were a control) and subsequently seen that their strength increases as a result of the additional muscle mass the PEDS give them.


#10

[quote]tsantos wrote:
The more muscular of a number of people is not necessarily the strongest person. However, you take a single person and add 25lbs of muscle to them, they will be stronger than they were before the additional muscle.

We know this because we have done stuff like given people PEDS and prescribed no exercise (as they were a control) and subsequently seen that their strength increases as a result of the additional muscle mass the PEDS give them.[/quote]
This is because of intramuscular fluid retention and not an increase in actual muscle tissue. That study is a fine example of real broscience.


#11

Jarvan! Welcome back my friend!


#12

http://www.ftexploring.com/think/superbugs_p2.html


#13

[quote]dt79 wrote:
http://www.ftexploring.com/think/superbugs_p2.html[/quote]

Haha!

So the bottomline is - size is not important to strength, you just need to build really good exoskeleton for yourself or become really tiny?


#14

[quote]Rattus wrote:

[quote]dt79 wrote:
http://www.ftexploring.com/think/superbugs_p2.html[/quote]

Haha!

So the bottomline is - size is not important to strength, you just need to build really good exoskeleton for yourself or become really tiny?

[/quote]
I’ll tell you in another life… when we’re all cats.


#15

I’m pretty sure none of us are stronger than Lu Xiaojun.

Strength is a skill, not a side effect of size.

Hypertrophy = increase in size of fascia
Size of fascia not directed correlated to strength.

I.E. Bodybuilders

Inducing hypertrophy CAN increase strength, but hypertrophy IS NOT the deciding factor of strength.


#16

[quote]TrevorLPT wrote:

[quote]Jarvan wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Weight can increase from a variety of factors that are unrelated to muscle gain. Eating more carbs is going to result in carrying more glycogen and holding more water, which will result in weighing more. A higher sodium diet will also result in water retention.

Strength results from making muscles bigger. Greater numbers on a lift can be a result of increasing strength by making muscles bigger or getting more proficient at a movement, or more efficient at recruiting more muscles of the movement, or shortening the ROM, or altering your leverages, or being in an emotionally aroused state, etc etc. If your diet is not supporting any of those activities, it’s why you aren’t observing increasing in strength correlating with weight gain.
[/quote]

I whole heartedly disagree. Size, weight does not equal strength. Period. And to think one can increase his strength via increasing mass is incredibly misinformed.

Take a Judo practitioner for example, or any athlete that has to be within a certain weight range. It isn’t always the biggest, largest athlete that wins.

That is just a single example but lets look at the logistics. If one affiliates weight gain with strength, why wouldn’y an obese person be the strongest man in the world?

Of course we can’t speak on behalf of the entire population, but then one would also have to at least ponder why the biggest man in the world isn’t the strongest man as well. And that is simply because size does not equal strength. Period.

Of course an ox is stronger than an ant, but an ant, for its weight, its stronger pound for pound in its arena. And when you speak in terms of combat sports, an athlete’s strength is not indicative to their size… Including many other sports…

So then why do we attribute size to strength in lifting weights?

It’s a premonition that has been bolstered by pseudo trainers who regurgitate scientific information in their own words. In other words, people translate facts, into guesses.

[/quote]

I could link to any number of articles explaining how hypertrophy has a direct influence on strength, but instead I’ll just ask you this question: on average, which class of powerlifters produces the highest totals? Is it the 52 kg guys or the super heavyweights? [/quote]

So do you expect 52kg weight class competitors to gain enough weight to be a super heavyweight? Or is this your example of how size equates strength? If it’s the latter, anyone who starts at the 52kg bracket, then becomes 120+kgs would be extremely unhealthy, and otherwise detract from their performance. Don’t you think? And I’m pretty sure, if anything, people try to move down in weight classes, not bulk up to try to move up.

With that said, does every 52kg competitor lift the same weight? Because if the size were to equate to strength, than all of their lifts should, in theory, be the same no?


#17

[quote]dt79 wrote:
Jarvan! Welcome back my friend![/quote]

Howdy!
Won’t be for long, but I see not much has changed.


#18

You are turing this into an either/or thing.

Muscle - SKELETAL MUSCLE TISSUE - is what allows you to move your limbs and external loads. Hence it is what gives you potential for strength.

Skill mastery allows you to fully express that strength in a SPECIFIC MOVEMENT.

Weight gain - fat, fluid etc - allows for more load distribution over a larger surface area. You may be able to move more weight due to the resulting neurological effects.


#19

Using worlds best weightlifters as an example does not really carry out to common generalizations. And have you seen Xiaoujun without a shirt? He’s muscular as shit.

OF course strength is a skill. But saying you dont need muscles for strength is absurd.


#20

[quote]Rattus wrote:
OF course strength is a skill. But saying you dont need muscles for strength is absurd.[/quote]

I concur, but not sure where you retained such notion.