Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lifting for Strength vs. Lifting for Size

I thought this was a really good article.  I've been interested in the whole size vs. strength debate. Lately, I've really been looking for a physiological explanation for the different types of muscle building. With a quick google search, you can find that muscular growth is called hypertrophy and that the two primary types are myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic. Some facts are that myofibrillar hypertrophy means an increase in the number of muscle fibers and that sarcoplasmic hypertrophy means an increase in the size of muscle fibers because of an increase in sarcoplasm in the fibers themselves. The myth is that you can actually train your muscles for one type of hypertrophy over the other. The fact is that there is that there is no research that suggests that different types of training result in any difference in the relative amount of each type of hypertrophy. They simply happen together. Unfortunately, the myth that you can make your muscles larger (sarcoplasmic hypertrophy) with no effect on strength (myofibrillar hypertrophy) is persisted by the observance of guys at the gym who appear to have giant muscles lifting tiny weights and guys with smaller muscles lifting heavy weights.  Many people forget that strength comes largely from neurological and other factors. The article does a good job of clearing up the myth of "non-functional" muscle.

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