In yesterday’s newsletter, I was NOT saying that if you get stronger you will get bigger. Leverage, learning the movement, and neuromuscular efficiency can account for strength increases.
I knew a skinny guy who worked up to a 350-pound bench, and his pecs and arms sucked. He still looked skinny all over—although he was a little beefier than if he’d never lifted at all…
I remember Nautilus creator Arthur Jones saying that if a guy can dip with his bodyweight for 10 reps, and then in six months he can do 10 reps with 50 pounds strapped to his waist, his triceps will be a helluva lot bigger. Not necessarily—and definitely not always the case…
What I was trying to get across, that apparently was misinterpreted, is that there are other variables in the hypertrophy equation, not just strength—including increasing the “energy fluid” in the muscle, or sarcoplasmic expansion.
You can’t get stronger forever. In fact, after the beginner stage, strength increases slow down considerably…
Once your strength stalls, bumping up training volume can work as a form of progression—up to a point (and if you’re young).
I’ve always said that muscle size can result in more strength, but strength doesn’t necessarily result in more size.
You can get bigger without getting stronger, and you can get stronger without getting bigger.
So don’t think you have to continually push the strength envelope to grow. Heck, I recently grew at age 62 using only a 50-pound PowerBlock dumbbell set and an adjustable bench—never increasing my training poundage at all using short rests between sets, as outlined in Old Man, Young Muscle…
Even so, strength has the potential to increase size, so add weight when you can safely…
Be patient—or you could end up leaving the gym on a gurney or starring in a YouTube video with “Pop Goes the Weasel” playing over it.
Simply train all fiber types on a regular basis with a variety of rep ranges, don’t overtrain, and you’ll grow. You probably won’t be entering the Mr. Olympia, but you will improve your physique.
You have to be patient. Many bodybuilders aren’t, so they resort to steroids. And don’t kid yourself—most of the muscle bros you see on the Internet are using. (I am not.)
Also, while some will disagree, I believe that after emphasizing the ideal exercise for a muscle, an add-on move for stretch and/or contraction work can help increase mass, perhaps even along different pathways, as explained in OMYM.
There are still a lot of mysteries concerning muscle growth, so keep an open mind, be patient, stay consistent, and don’t get injured. Oh, and don’t get old, if you can help it.
Latest Release: Get the ideal exercise for each muscle, the best add-on moves for ultimate mass, complete 35-minute workouts, exercise start/finish photos and details on building muscle fast and efficiently in Old Man, Young Muscle.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
Former Editor in Chief, Iron Man Magazine
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