Question about Size Vs. Strenght from another Board

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    Question about Size Vs. Strenght from another Board


    Hey Iron addict i got a question for ya , you say that if someone is weak he might have more endurance fibers than fast twitch . Now the problem is that I know you can make endurance fibers start acting as fast twitch by lifting heavy bro, how does that relate in any way to what I know that to get more mucle mass, you need to have more strength, now Im confused.


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    Iron Addict
    Posted: Sep 17 2003, 01:32 PM
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    Great question, and one that requires a many page answer. The article I am writting for this topic is ALMOST done, but the short answer is this:

    You have the right idea and approach that more strength is needed, and are also aware that the reality of the situation is that like most guys, you probably have fair to poor genetics relative to fast twitch to slow twitch ratio. Most guys are just not built that way. Of course the key is to make the best of what you have. And for most guys that consists of being extremely focused, and extremely realistic. And the reality is, most guys can build a fair strenght base if they train and diet correctly. And I will use Stuart McRoberts goals/guidlines to define that strenght level.

    For Joe average of 5'9 190-205 in a fairly lean state, Joe has a 300 lb bench give or take a few lbs, and can do rep work with 250 +. We want to see Joe Squatting at least 400-450 for a single, or doing rep work with 350 +. Joe should also be able to do deads with about the same weights as his squat, or maybe a little higher. Stuart simply stated 300/400/500 for bench, squat, aand deadlift.

    Most guys can get there (at least within 50 lbs over or under dependant on body mechanics for each lift) if they TRULY dedicate themselves to bread and butter training and heavy eating. MOST guys never come close, but could if they didn't overtrain and under-eat.

    The reason they never get this sooo important strenght base is they always train doing too many lifts, using many techniques that are more speciific to size instead of strenght. Pure hypertrophy training is well and good IF it works for you, but it's time and place is AFTER you have dedicated yourself to building the foundation. I recently had a couple of personal training clients that were dissapointed the routine I wrote was not geared for towards "size" gains. They wanted less rest between lifts and more sets so they could focus on getting bigger. The problem was both these guys were beginner level weak (after training for years). In fact, 5 out of the 8 girls I train have a bigger squat and dead than these guys do. I don't care how many fastt "pump" sets you do with girl weights. The truth is, you will still look like a girl if that is all the weight you use.

    OK, back on track, here is the proper (IMO) way to go about getting there.

    You COMMIT to spending a few YEARS worried about little more than the little more weight on the bar from workout to workout. For many people, this is all they need to do to get huge. But SOME guys get a lot stronger without a linear increas in size. Much of what occurs from a strenght standpoint occurs primarily through innervation gains. This does little for size. But with patience, when the bar is lots heavier, you will be too.

    By now, for most people it has become apparent that they will never total Elite in powerlifting, nor do any serious damage on the posing dias. Genetics is the first and last word about how far you can go. You may never be freaky strong, or freaky huge. But with the correct focus, here is what will happen. After you have paid your dues with the big lifts for heavy weights and heavy eating, you will be stronger than about 90% of the guys in the gym. And a good pertecentage of you will have the size to go along with it. But.......some of you will not be as big as you "should" be, for your strength. Guess what??? Now its time to start trying some of the protocols that tend to build size at the expense of strenght. But also guess how much more effective that type of training is what you are not lifting girl weights!!!

    Now let me insert three VERY critical ideas here.

    The first is MANY people think they are hardgainers, or naturally weak because they train and eat like ****. Train like a powerlifter for a few months and eat like a horse and you may find this is all irrelevant because you may find you build strenght and size rapidly when not doing some of the crazy **** many bodybuilders do.

    The second thing is that you realize it doesn't happen overnight, and if you are not progressing at a rate you think acceptable you do something few do in these days and times. You keep at your task and apply lots of thought, deductive reasoning, and learn everything you can about what you are attmpting to do. And that doesn't mean from glossy coated muscle mags that are really supplementg catalogs in disguise. And then FAITHFULLY apply what ou know day in day out. This isn't stamp collecting we are doing here. Its tough, and it atakes balls to train and eat right consistently.

    The Third thing is to accept the best of what you have and are capable of. Some people will never hit 300/400/500, and some will plow through them FAST once training right. If you are one of the extreme, extreme ecto's, or an endo that just isn't wired for strenght, and you have truly paid your dues, and just don't have it. Do everything you can to get as strong as you can, then, a little stronger. THEN, and only then consider yourself "advanced" and change your focus to a hypertropy routine SUITABLE FOR PEOPLE WIT AVERAGE GENETICS! This, for many people is simply a routine using higher reps, with more sets than HIT, but much less than volume training. Using an intensity level higher than volume, lower than hit. I will go into more detail about the format in another article, but most people reading this should be worried about getting stronger for a while longer.

    Iron Addict


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    CosmosM3's Avatar
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    So in a nutshell, do you recomend the "conventional wisdom" for strength gains? IE.. Heavy weight, compound lifts, low reps, low volume. And, increase workload by at least 1 rep every workout? Sorry if I'm jumping the gun, if you're going to explain all this in your article but my main goal is strength, so I'm really intrested in this.

    I've long agreed with what you said about strength vs. size: If someone is a functionally strong mofo, there's no way they're also going to skinny. Maybe not BB huge, but far from skinny, that's for sure. Think of all the 350lb benchers, 500+lb squater and DLers you've seen. 9 times out of 10 they are pretty big dudes.

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    I agree. The thing is, to squat 400 to parallel or below, and to deadlift 500, is pretty rare. A 300 bench isn't that rare, but a paused 300 bench is rare. But go to a powerlifting meet and 99% of the guys who lift at those levels looks muscular, whatever weight class they are in.

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  4. iron addict's Avatar
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    CosmosM3,

    For the most part, yes. I don't recommend reps below 6 though unless the trainee REALLY wants or needs the pure innervation gains OR is a fast twitch makeup trainee. All that said, I KNOW a reasonable combo of size and strength is doable for most people, and that is still done by sticking to the basics, and focusing on the weight on the bar slowly going up, not how big a "pump" one achieves. This strength slanted focus is what I most often task new trainees with. As long as the importance of ever increasing weights (or reps) is never forgotten, and it is understood that at the level they are at, the barometer of success needs to be the ever increasing weight on the bar. The rest will follow in time. And you are very correct that is about impossible to have a big squat/bench/deadlift and not be damn big all over.

    Iron Addict

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