Does BIGGER mean STRONGER?

July 20, 2017

Well, it makes sense that it would. Right?... Not really.

 

 

Generally speaking, if you have bigger muscles the potential to be stronger is there. However, being muscular doesn’t necessarily equate to muscle strength. Below is a general recommendation that you could use to get you started towards your goal. But please, keep reading because one size does not fit all.


General Recommendation for Strength or Hypertrophy

 

Once again, the general recommendation can be effective for some but won’t be effective for all.

 

There is a science to exercise and you should have a basic understanding of the body in order to achieve specific results. So, let’s go over some basic concepts regarding muscles. There are many different types of muscles and functions but we are going to focus on two.

 

 

 

 

Slow-twitch muscles are mostly used for endurance and postural control. These muscles tend to be smaller, they are slow to fatigue, have increased oxygen delivery, produce less force and can be used over longer periods of time.
 

 

 

 

 

 

Fast-twitch muscles have a greater potential for hypertrophy. They are larger in size, they produce more force which makes them perfect for short burst of energy, they are quick to fatigue and they have decreased oxygen delivery.

 

 

 

Another important component to understand about muscles is motor units. Motor units are important because without them we would have no movement. They are part of a system that let's your muscles know to move and how intense to make that movement. Basically, depending on the function of the muscle, it will recruit specific size of motor units to complete that action. 


What does all this mean?


It means that lifting light weights will only stimulate smaller motor units and lifting heavier weights requires greater intensity which results in the activation of more powerful fast-twitch motor units.

 

 

Looking to get STRONGER.

 

  1. Maximal Weight.
    You need to lift heavy enough weight to get the proper resistance to trigger the high-threshold for fast-twitch motor units.
     

  2. Fewer Reps.
    The heavier the weight the less repetitions your body should perform.

    Keep this in mind - If you can do more than 6 repetitions (without stopping) your weight is not heavy enough. So take it up a notch! 


    Warning: Lifting near your maximum lifting weight can be dangerous. So, if you are new to this, seek the advice of a fitness professional before attempting maximal strength training of this type.
     

  3. Rest.
    You should rest 2 to 5 minutes between intervals. Energy production is a complicated dance that your body undertakes. Just know that the central nervous system needs full recovery in between sets in order to coordinate proper motor unit recruitment.

 

By the way, when working with maximal or near maximal resistance, the stronger you are the more rest you need.

 

 

Looking to get BIGGER.

 

  1. Protein Needs.
    Resistance training initiates the breakdown of muscle tissue and in turn, creates the right conditions for rebuilding bigger muscles during rest and recovery periods.
     

  2. Higher Reps with Heavy Weight.
    To get maximum muscle rebuilding during recovery, use a weight that is challenging and can be lifted for a high number of reps. 
     

  3. Rest. 
    For hypertrophy it is recommended to rest 30 to 90 seconds between intervals.

 

The above information should be used as a guide to help you get started. Weight, reps to rest ratio and all other components mentioned above are subject to change given your desired goals.

 

Also, these are recommendations that don’t take into account other important variables like; training frequency, training volume, training experience, training duration, total number of exercises per muscle group, supplementation, nutritional intake, and recovery quality. In the bigger "health" scheme of things, all variables make a big difference and are equally important. 

 

Please contact me with any questions or comments.
 

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