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Strength training for size.
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Steelex Offline
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Strength training for size.
So one of the comments I read often is "Don't worry about lifting a lot" or "Getting strong wont make you big" and I'm going to address a couple of these points.

First off, YES. Being strong does not always mean that you are going to grow and achieve a great deal of muscle size. There are a number of factors that go into building large muscles and it goes beyond the weight you use. There are very light weight power lifters who lift far more than bodybuilders who are much larger.

With that being said, training with a focus on beating your previous numbers (within a set of parameters) can be very helpful to a lot of trainees. It gives you a goal, as well as a measuring stick to help drive you forward. Adding 5lbs to your squat or 3 reps to your barbell rows in a month is an easier hit target than something such as "Go in and get a great pump and just work the shit out of your muscles".

However, the caveat in "Strength training for size" is that you can't solely focus on just beating the number. There are additional focus points and things you have to consider when training in this manner with a focus on growth. Here are some of the things I've seen people fail to do as well as the correction.

1. Neglecting the eccentric portion of the lift.
The negative portion (the lowering) of the lift is so important. It is sooo important for muscle growth. When you just heave the weight up and let it fall down, you're missing out and leaving growth on the table. You can focus on controlling the negative, and furthermore controlling the pause at the bottom of the lift to increase the difficulty further. If you take two guys who bench 400, and one of them bounces the bar off their chest and the other lowers it down over a 3 second period, pauses, and presses back up, the guy who does it slow will almost always have far superior development. This is applicable to almost every exercise.

2. No mind muscle connection.
Using the bench press example again, you can do it in several ways by modifying your form and focusing on how you use individual muscles. Its not as simple as just pushing it up and down, you can learn to use more pectoral power in the movement, and achieve more chest development. You can focus on keeping the movement in the range that you feel most in a certain muscle group. There are ways to do lifts that will target the muscles differently. For instance you can squat in a way that is more butt oriented, or focus on the quads.

I have a certain way I choose to overhead press that really hits my shoulders super super hard, and is responsible for a lot of growth. However, I use less weight doing it this way than if I just did it the easiest way possible "powerlifting style" The weight is rather inconsequential because the stress and tension on the targeted muscle is far higher doing it this way, but over time, work out to work out, the weight on the bar slowly increases. I make the movement as hard and stressful as possible on the muscle I want to hit, and then start getting strong as possible on it.

3. Working in powerlifting rep ranges.
Just because you're training to get stronger doesn't mean it needs to be in the the really low rep ranges like what you may think a powerlifter uses. You can do work in the 20-30 rep range, 12-15, 8-12, ect. The key here is that no matter what rep range, you keep improving, even if its really slowly. Going under 5 reps is great for peaking for a 1RM, but for growth its not that great. You can add strength at the other rep ranges just fine, particularly if you're doing stuff like focusing on the contraction, the eccentric part of the movement, ect.

4. Not taking time off.
When you're training with poundage and reps as your motivator, it is really easy to get injured. Every so often, take a week or wo off, or take a week or two to train light, whatever works for you. Let your joints start to feel better, mentally refresh yourself. You might come back a little weaker, but you will soar past where you were. You can't run balls to the wall indefinitely.

5. Not eating right.
This goes without saying, but if you're trying to create new muscle tissue you need to eat right. This is different for everyone, but it typically means eating a lot of protein, as well as enough overall calories. For those of you who are strength training for size and not especially serious about your diet, significantly bump up your calories and your protein, see what happens and notice how you feel. See if the weights feel lighter. If you don't eat right, you can still gain strength but the increase in muscle size you're after wont occur.

Thats pretty much it. You can use increases in poundage/volume as a bench mark and goal for your training. The key is in HOW you increase it the weight you're using. Are you just lifting it? Or are you using it in a specific way to cause an effect (muscle break down and growth) You need to use the weight as a tool, a weapon, like you're a samurai and its your sword.

I feel like if you keep these things in mind you can train in a much more objective manner, and get the results you want a bit quicker.
06-26-2017 11:54 PM
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Mjölnir Offline
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RE: Strength training for size.
Great post, very resumed and easily understandable. Nothing very new to me but, points that are always needed to be held accountable if you want to keep progressing. And valuable information for the newb lifter.

No.3 I believe is important to the guys here on the forum, I notice that a lot of people here work powerlifting-like workouts, and expect body changes, there is a reason why a bodybuilder trains like one, and a powerlifter trains like a powerlifter. And doing assistance work on your visits to the gym isn't the same thing.

I tend to believe (correct me if i'm wrong) that this is a trend among Americans. (As in USA) If you worry too much about how much you bench/squat, than you're not going to have a great chest or legs.

Sometimes you sound douchey Steelex. But I like your style. You sir got a rep point from me.
06-27-2017 01:39 PM
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churros Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Strength training for size.
(06-26-2017 11:54 PM)Steelex Wrote:  1. Neglecting the eccentric portion of the lift.
The negative portion (the lowering) of the lift is so important. It is sooo important for muscle growth. When you just heave the weight up and let it fall down, you're missing out and leaving growth on the table. You can focus on controlling the negative, and furthermore controlling the pause at the bottom of the lift to increase the difficulty further. If you take two guys who bench 400, and one of them bounces the bar off their chest and the other lowers it down over a 3 second period, pauses, and presses back up, the guy who does it slow will almost always have far superior development. This is applicable to almost every exercise.

Is this also true for deadlifts, Steelex?
06-30-2017 10:50 AM
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Steelex Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Strength training for size.
Interesting question churros.

For deads I do a controlled eccentric but I don't drag it out for 3-4 seconds like other exercises.

The limiting factor is how long can you keep your stomach and back tight during the lift.
06-30-2017 08:56 PM
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Dr.Edd Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Strength training for size.
What do you think of a program that combines strength training with hypertrophy training. For example, two days a week doing upper/ lower body strength training and three days a week split training for hypertrophy?
07-01-2017 11:20 PM
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Steelex Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Strength training for size.
Well personally I don't think they're mutually exclusive.

It's all training for strength, but on one end of the rep range you have peak strength, and on the other you have strength endurance. One contributes more towards myofibrillar hypertrophy whereas the other towards sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.

You can train in the higher rep ranges "hypertrophy" and still make frequent increases in poundage. By the time you're lifting your old 5rm for 20, your 1 rep will have gone up too.
07-02-2017 11:37 AM
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