The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

Itís no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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  1. #1
    Getting There... Irish Pilot's Avatar
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    The Correlation of Strength & Size In Regards to Muscle

    The oddity of it all just pisses me off sometimes. (warning...random rant)

    Now I know there are different types of fibers, strength and size are two different animals, etc. etc...but my tech knowledge is poor when it comes down to how it all works. Im sitting here looking at guys who have a 1RM 75lbs less than me on the Flat Bench over on other boards, and these guys have pretty amazing chest size and definition. Ill be honest, I really dont have decent chest size and definition. I think I move pretty good numbers for a guy my size, and yet Im bombarded with pictures of people who lift significantly less and look amazing...looks that I aspire to over the next few years.

    I seek knowledge. Help me understand the difference between size and strength. Point me towards literature. Aint life a bitch?
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  3. #2
    Must...work...out... nockits's Avatar
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    lifes a bitch, i agree.
    i don't know exactly how it works, but i do know that high reps will get you bigger muscles (i think thats it), and low reps will increase strength. i know some people like to workout just to look big, and some people workout just to get strong. strong muscles tend to be smaller because they are more compact. don't let the other guys bring your hopes down. just focus on whatever your goal is.

    now, there can be another reason why they are using less. it could be that their technique for training is different (ie. rest pause, rest length, timed reps, neg. reps, etc, etc.)

  4. #3
    Nuttin to it but to do it Chalky Palms's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nockits View Post
    lifes a bitch, i agree.
    i don't know exactly how it works, but i do know that high reps will get you bigger muscles (i think thats it)
    yeaa....no. It's probably a good idea to try a number of different rep ranges but it isn't as cut and dry as that. Low reps, heavy weight will build the most muscle, strength and size are pretty heavily correlated.
    "Show me a good loser, and I'll show you a loser."

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  5. #4
    Senior Member JHarris's Avatar
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    Basically, being strong is a lot more about being able to recruit a lot of muscle fibers in a productive way at the same time. You can damage the crap out of your muscles and get them to grow more, but in a sense you won't know how to use it. You have to train the nervous system to have a higher effiency in actually recruiting what you have. That's why you see tiny olympic lifters clean and jerking more than a lot of big, bulky dudes.

  6. #5
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    Like Reko said, and I hope I can add to this with the same thinking, its got alot to do with the recruitment of fibres and your CNS (central nervous system).

    If someone were eating to maintain their 'non-big' size and continue to train heavy with lower rep ranges you should, technically increase strength. It's obviously not directly related to size. Not all heavy/low ranges are required, I guess though, because other accessory work would most likely be lighter.

    Even though Jay Cutler may be bigger than you, he may not have recruited everything he has, in terms of all his muscle fibres and CNS, in order to lift more.

    I think that may be on the right lines, if not I'll check back and learn something too.

    P.S. I know Jay was probably a bad example.
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  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chalky Palms View Post
    Low reps, heavy weight will build the most muscle, strength and size are pretty heavily correlated.
    This seems more or less to be the consensus, but could you explain why many talk about higher reps best for hypertrophy?

  8. #7
    Getting There... Irish Pilot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chalky Palms View Post
    Low reps, heavy weight will build the most muscle, strength and size are pretty heavily correlated.
    Well...it is generally understood that lower reps (3-5 range) are neural gains while higher reps provide hypertrophy (size). Otherwise we would be going into the gym and doing 1RM repetitions wouldn't we?

    That being said, I still wanted some literature to get into detail about the differences.
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  9. #8
    Senior Member OGROK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Irish Pilot View Post
    Well...it is generally understood that lower reps (3-5 range) are neural gains while higher reps provide hypertrophy (size). Otherwise we would be going into the gym and doing 1RM repetitions wouldn't we?

    That being said, I still wanted some literature to get into detail about the differences.
    Find me a guy benching 600 who is small. Yeah, there is going to be some variation, and a lot of it has to do with bodyfat, but there is a reason the superheavyweights are ALWAYS stronger than the lower weight classes. It takes mass to move mass. The limit to how strong a 150lb guy can get is much lower than the limit of how strong a 250lb guy can get.
    Last edited by OGROK; 12-07-2008 at 06:56 PM.

  10. #9
    Getting There... Irish Pilot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OGROK View Post
    Find me a guy benching 600 who is small...The limit to how strong a 150lb guy can get is much lower than the limit of how strong a 250lb guy can get.
    Very true. I was speaking in generalities.
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  11. #10
    Senior Member JHarris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OGROK View Post
    Find me a guy benching 600 who is small. Yeah, there is going to be some variation, and a lot of it has to do with bodyfat, but there is a reason the superheavyweights are ALWAYS stronger than the lower weight classes. It takes mass to move mass. The limit to how strong a 150lb guy can get is much lower than the limit of how strong a 250lb guy can get.
    Sigh.. I really dont like this type of statement. The answer to everything strength training is not just 'gain weight'. Yes, a lot of guys need to, but I hate seeing the boards blanketed with this. You can be remarkably strong and stay reasonably small. Yes, superheavyweights are stronger in general, but if you look at Olympic lifting, the superheavies(105+s) are barely stronger than the 105s, and the 105s are barely stronger than the 94's, and the 94's are just edging out the 85's.

    Yes, putting on more mass can get you stronger. But its not the only way, and most guys (unless you are already at a very elite level) still have room to get a lot stronger with their current mass. Most people are just not that efficient in their motions.

    High weight + low reps does not equal size. Diet = size. Volume helps. But I can speak for myself, all my friends who are lifters, and my athletes that I coach when I say that High weight + low reps doesnt make you big. I squat heavy (85%+) multiple times a week for doubles and singles, yet I am not huge. Neither are the rest of those guys.
    Last edited by JHarris; 12-07-2008 at 07:33 PM.

  12. #11
    Nuttin to it but to do it Chalky Palms's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Irish Pilot View Post
    Otherwise we would be going into the gym and doing 1RM repetitions wouldn't we?
    That is generally my goal, or at least some singles.
    "Show me a good loser, and I'll show you a loser."

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  13. #12
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    I would also like some information on this.... I hear that caloric intake is what determines size, then I hear that it is your rep range... Could someone clarify this a little?

  14. #13
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    you have to consider the specificity of training and the CNS as well. Muscle is only part of the equation. CNS and teaching your body how to lift the weight are more important IMO.

  15. #14
    Getting There... Irish Pilot's Avatar
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    Reko could you expand on that at all?
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  16. #15
    All Natural Power Lunar Effect's Avatar
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    This will answer all of your questions:

    http://www.gain-weight-muscle-fast.com/rep-ranges.html

  17. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lunar Effect View Post
    This will answer all of your questions:

    http://www.gain-weight-muscle-fast.com/rep-ranges.html
    No it won't

  18. #17
    All Natural Power Lunar Effect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by primal21 View Post
    No it won't
    Did you read it or was that a prediction? What are you unclear about?

  19. #18
    Nuttin to it but to do it Chalky Palms's Avatar
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    all rep ranges should be utilized, but more weight on the bar = more mass on the ass, you can argue with your venuto articles but the biggest guy and the smallest guy in the gym are usually the strongest/weakest accordingly.
    "Show me a good loser, and I'll show you a loser."

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  20. #19
    All Natural Power Lunar Effect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chalky Palms View Post
    all rep ranges should be utilized, but more weight on the bar = more mass on the ass, you can argue with your venuto articles but the biggest guy and the smallest guy in the gym are usually the strongest/weakest accordingly.
    Who's arguing? There was a general curiosity about the relationship between strength and hypertrophy, and that article pretty much explians the whole concept of neural vs cellular adaptations. What is there to debate?

  21. #20
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    Back to the subject at hand. Your stats say you are 18%. Try getting down to 9% and I think you would notice a big difference.

  22. #21
    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
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    A very strong person will have a much easier time training for "hypertrophy" then a not-so-strong person.

    Point being, get all the big lifts up to a very respectable level, even if you aren't training specifically for size. Once you have a very strong and solid foundation to work with, then training for looks will be a much easier task.
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  23. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Irish Pilot View Post
    Help me understand the difference between size and strength.
    How much you can lift also depends on your leverages.

  24. #23
    The Flyfisher rbtrout's Avatar
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    I'm a car guy. Always have been. I look at size/strength like horsepower/torque. You can build a motor to make horsepower, but it won't necessarily make alot of torque. BUT, if you build a motor to make torque and lots of it, you will get horsepower.
    In other words, you can build yourself to get big, but no necessarily strong. BUT, typically, if you build yourself to get really strong, you will get big, as well.
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  25. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbtrout View Post
    I'm a car guy. Always have been. I look at size/strength like horsepower/torque. You can build a motor to make horsepower, but it won't necessarily make alot of torque. BUT, if you build a motor to make torque and lots of it, you will get horsepower.
    In other words, you can build yourself to get big, but no necessarily strong. BUT, typically, if you build yourself to get really strong, you will get big, as well.
    I like this, I can respect this
    Last edited by primal21; 12-08-2008 at 06:11 PM.

  26. #25
    Getting un-streamlined Progress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbtrout View Post
    I'm a car guy. Always have been. I look at size/strength like horsepower/torque. You can build a motor to make horsepower, but it won't necessarily make alot of torque. BUT, if you build a motor to make torque and lots of it, you will get horsepower.
    In other words, you can build yourself to get big, but no necessarily strong. BUT, typically, if you build yourself to get really strong, you will get big, as well.
    There's no replacement for displacement.

    Unless of course you're talking about BMW's new TD.

    Sorry for going off-topic.

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