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 Post subject: Strength vs size.
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:06 am 
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Hello!

I am new to this forum and have been slowly trying to absorb all the information contained at this site. I am very impressed by the constant need to back up claims by scientific fact rather than some persons opinion here at this site. Which for me is very important since I am basically a newb. and just keep getting more confused by the conflicting opinions. I am 34 years old and have been doing starting strength for a few months now ever since I could start lifting again after a wrist injury. I have seen gains for sure. Both in size and strength. But not much in my arms. Now I am focusing on learning about nutrition which confuses the hell out of me.

However one thing that has me confused here is after reading the low volume training article I am understanding that it does not really matter how many reps or sets you do just as long as you are increasing in weight continuously. I believe it is stated that strength is highly correlated to muscular size. However the question is asked how about gaining mass. Then the author goes into adding more reps and sets. in order to gain "hypertrophy", which still confuses the hell out of me. So which is it? I would like to gain mass as I am pretty small. So I want to gain strength of course, but at this point mass is what I want most.


By the way I have frequented bodybuilding . com website and have been very reluctant to post any questions because of how rude the participants are there. They seem to be more interested in flexing their "broscience" brains than actually helping people out. But I have been reading some posts here and the people here seem to be genuinely interested in helping people out. I have to give props to you all for the friendly environment.


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 Post subject: Re: Strength vs size.
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:12 am 
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The low volume training will improve strength. Strength is associated with size but it's not a 1:1 relationship. At some point, you may want to prioritize size over strength and at that time, you will want to consider multiple reps, increased time under tension, pushing beyond failure, and other techniques to increase muscle fatique and subsequent hypertrophy. Part of the difference is in fibre type. Fast twitch fibre are the most powerful and most important to train is your goal is strength or power. Slow twitch are endurance fibres. If you want to train for size, you have to train both, but there will be a trade off. The methods of training each fibre type is different and training one tends to cause the other to exhibit characteristics of that being trained. Therefore, training with high volume, fatique type workouts can decrease explosiveness, while training with explosive, low volume workouts can decrease endurance. Training for hypertrophy generally involves walking the line between the extremes.

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Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.~Hippocrates
Strength is the adaptation that leads to all other adaptations that you really care about - Charles Staley
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 Post subject: Re: Strength vs size.
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 10:16 am 
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So would it be beneficial to do Periodization training from the start? Or Should a person focus on strength first?

Here what I have decided to do. This is a 4 week micro-cycle schedule.
Week 1 I would do low volume training, 3x5, with high weight.
Week 2 I would drop enough weights and go up in reps to 3x8 so that I could just barely complete the 8th rep would good form.
Week 3 would be the same as week 2 only raise reps to 3x11.
Week 4 would drop weight and raise rep to 3x15.

Then start the process all over again but with 5 pounds more weight. This way I would get the best of both worlds. Or am I thinking this all wrong?

Some small history is that I have been lifting off and on for about 4 years. I just got back into it after being off for 6 months because of a broken wrist. During that time I learned about low volume training and started to implement it. I have been lifting this way now for 5 months and have seen more strength gains than at anytime. My problem is two fold now. My size does not seem to be matching my strength gains and I am starting to plateau on several exercises. I am doing strictly compound lifts. I cant seem to be able to add weights or reps. So thats where I am at now and why I am wanting to adjust my routine.

Thanks for your time.


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 Post subject: Re: Strength vs size.
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 10:40 am 
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Depending on your current strength and fitness levels, strength is a good place to start. In untrained people, this phase could last several months. Don't assume that each phase has to have a fixed duration. Actually, the first step should be an assessment of mobility and flexibility and then corrective exercises as appropriate. When training yourself, make sure you have normal range of motions and can perform the required movements fluidly and without pain. Any issues you find, bring them back here and we may be able to walk you through it. Don't keep adding weight on top of somthing that's not working.

Given that you've already been training for a while, I suggest you try a program that is specifically geared to your next goal. Either continue a strength route with a program like Madcow 5x5, which is actually a low volume style program, or go with a higher volume hypertrophy style program. Others here have more experience with those so I woun't suggest a specific program.

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Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.~Hippocrates
Strength is the adaptation that leads to all other adaptations that you really care about - Charles Staley
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Last edited by stuward on Wed Aug 14, 2013 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Strength vs size.
PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 10:41 am 
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another option is to choose a program with strength and hypertrophy elements in it. a good example is the 5/3/1 program (http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_art ... e_strength). there you are training for low reps at the main exercises (squat, deadlift, bench press, military press) and for higher reps at assistance exercises like pull ups, rows or other chest, shoulder and leg exercises.

this will cause more strength and also more mass.

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 Post subject: Re: Strength vs size.
PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:53 am 
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Hi newbe,
your program can be excellent. Personally I would say the less experienced someone is, the longer should be a micro cycle, just to keep things simple, preventing injury, getting used to the program. Lets say each micro cycle 3-4 weeks instead of only 1.

If you know your body and your exercises very well, you can change it up every week or every workout, but then you don't need a ready made plan.

Nevertehless, the idea of going through from strength to hypertrophy to strength endurance is something that seems to work well for recreational lifters.
What you also can consider is he light/heavy or light/medium/heavy workout plan on exrx.

What helped me to break plateaus was really to do more assistence exercises additionally to the big lifts. I onyl started arm training 2 years ago, although I lift for 10 years. Nothing fancy, also kepts basic. I do it at the end of an workout or when I have time I have an extra light day fpr just assistence movements. That has improves my back workout, namely grip strength in deadlift and weight I can use in rowings. So guess it will benefit my back.


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 Post subject: Re: Strength vs size.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 4:57 am 
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newbienewb wrote:
But I have been reading some posts here and the people here seem to be genuinely interested in helping people out. I have to give props to you all for the friendly environment.

Thanks! That's what we intend.
FragenAnsLeben wrote:
Personally I would say the less experienced someone is, the longer should be a micro cycle, just to keep things simple, preventing injury, getting used to the program. Lets say each micro cycle 3-4 weeks instead of only 1.

I'd even say that for a beginner, you don't even need to think in terms of microcycles. Get a plan, work it, and then change only what needs to be changed when it needs to be changed.

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 Post subject: Re: Strength vs size.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:44 am 
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That is true, Jungledoc. From my understanding the user is now beginner any more. Obviously not advanced enough to trust bio feedback and with it use small, adaptive micro cycles, but no beginner any more.


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 Post subject: Re: Strength vs size.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:32 am 
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Well, there's no easy way to define beginner. He describes himself:
newbienewb wrote:
... since I am basically a newb...have been doing starting strength for a few months now....


There is no set time period for that. So we don't know really.

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 Post subject: Re: Strength vs size.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:39 am 
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Thanks for your replies. I consider myself a newbie even though I have been lifting off and on for roughly 4 years now. The reason for this is because I am learning everything on my own. I have fallen for the bodybuilders workout routines, celebrity workout routines and so forth. Yet I have never really progressed in the last four years. Then last year I broke my wrist in a bike accident. Due to the break my doc said absolutely no weight lifting even with the good hand. Or else I risk further injury which would result in the pinning my wrist together and I would never have movement again.

During my downtime I was recommended a book called starting strength. After reading it I decided I would try that route. I learned the proper way of doing compounds which felt way more natural to me and I was actually seeing results. Now I cannot progress in squats, bench press or presses. I have tried adding weight with no results. So I decided to add reps but cant seem to pull out anymore. Then I decided to de-load and work my way back up but I keep reaching that same weight and reps without being able to break through.

Thats when I started to search for scientific evidence and came across articles here on ExRx. Now if I am understanding right I need to add more size so I can add more weight. But then again, I dont really know. SO I did more research and found out about cycling and read some here about it. Then I took some info from here and other places that have darn near the same scientific evidence and came up with the plan I submitted to you guys. I dont want to fall back on strength but I really want to start growing. I have added maybe, in the last 4 years 10 pounds of muscle. I am done with bro-science. It dont work. Since this site focuses on actual research I am all for it.


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 Post subject: Re: Strength vs size.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:20 am 
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Quote:
Here what I have decided to do. This is a 4 week micro-cycle schedule.
Week 1 I would do low volume training, 3x5, with high weight.
Week 2 I would drop enough weights and go up in reps to 3x8 so that I could just barely complete the 8th rep would good form.
Week 3 would be the same as week 2 only raise reps to 3x11.
Week 4 would drop weight and raise rep to 3x15.


The reason I don't like this is because it seems backwards to me. Doing the opposite would work better so the heaviest loads would be at the end of your cycle, just before you deload. That would make the program very close to HST (Hypertrophy-Specific Training) which was popular a few years ago. My premise is that intensity should ramp up towards the deload week, reaching overreaching towards the last couple of weeks. The heavier the load, the greater the stress on the central nervous system. I'm not sure of the logic in the program you have given us.

As for hypertrophy needed for more strength, that doesn't mean that training for size is actually required. A proper diet plus training specifically for your main goal os increasing strength will likely work best. A program like 5-3-1 or Madcow plus a higher calorie diet would do the job.

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Stu Ward
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Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.~Hippocrates
Strength is the adaptation that leads to all other adaptations that you really care about - Charles Staley
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Thanks TimD


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 Post subject: Re: Strength vs size.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:00 am 
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Okay, I am confused. Do you or don't you train for mass? Or does mass come as you get stronger? In other words my understanding is that the more reps you do you hit hypertrophy which means "bigger". The less reps you do you get "stronger".

So how do you train for both? Or do you just specifically train for strength with low reps at high percentage of 1RM and the mass follows? This I am not grasping.

Thank you by the way for the links I have never heard of them. I had heard of the stronglifts which is very similar to starting strength. In fact do to the limited flexibility of my wrist I cannot do the power clean and decided on rows instead because of stronglifts.


Sorry if I am so dense.


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 Post subject: Re: Strength vs size.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:45 am 
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Training for strength and supplying adequate nutrients and calories will build size. Training for size specifically does not nessecarily build strength. Once you're at world class levels, there may be a point to tweaking your training to squeeze out the last bit of performance, but for mere mortals, if you want strength, train for strength.

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Stu Ward
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Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.~Hippocrates
Strength is the adaptation that leads to all other adaptations that you really care about - Charles Staley
_________________
Thanks TimD


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 Post subject: Re: Strength vs size.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 12:07 pm 
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stuward wrote:
Training for size specifically does not nessecarily build strength.


Stuward, thats where I am confused. There are two different training methods? One for size and one for strength? Or what if a person would rather more size than strength? What if a person wants both? That is what I was trying to accomplish with my program. Training for both at the same time.

I am going to do more reading into the suggestions you made. I just need some clarification on this. I had been used to following bro-science training methods for size but never gained it or strength. Now I am training for strength and gaining alot but feel as if my size growth is lacking. Maybe it is all in my head. That, and I cant break my plateau which has led me to my current dilemma.


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 Post subject: Re: Strength vs size.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 12:17 pm 
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If someone want's more size than strength, then longer time under tension, longer sets in other words, with constant tension is important. So is shorter rest between sets, training to muscular fatique, training to failure or beyond, etc. These are techniques to stimulate sarcoplasmic hypertrophy and increasing the size of the slow twitch fibre. These adaptations do not build strength and in some cases, can be counterproductive.

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Stu Ward
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Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.~Hippocrates
Strength is the adaptation that leads to all other adaptations that you really care about - Charles Staley
_________________
Thanks TimD


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