I use to write for a training blog and here is one of my posts. I thought it was fitting for this topic.
Do you have to get stronger to get bigger?
There is an old age debate of whether someone has to get stronger to get bigger. A lot of bodybuilders feel that they don't have to concentrate on adding poundages in order to change their physiques. As a one time Dante Trudel trainee you can guess what I think. The human body is in a constant quest to maintain homeostasis. It does not want to become muscularly larger and will fight to maintain the status quo at every level. In order to change it, you must apply an unfamiliar stimulus or it will not change!
There are several ways to do this through increased or decreased calories or macro nutrients, more or less drugs, or a different training stimulus. There are ways to change the training stimulus through various intensity techniques like drop sets, super sets, shorter rest periods, etc but the easiest way is to just add weight to the bar! Everybody knows a strong skinny guy but you will have a hard time finding a 220 pound plus muscular person that has not gotten significantly stronger.
Before you pull out some guy you know who is not as strong as your own personal strength standard, understand this one point. We all start from a different start point and have different genetics. Some guys are benching 300 and squatting 400 within months of training and some take years to achieve that level. No matter where you start, you will not get significantly bigger and more muscular without becoming personally stronger. The guy that weighs 180 pounds and squats 300 will be more muscular when he squats 500. Another that weighs 150 and squats 200, will be more muscular when he squats 400. End of discussion.
My last point will deal with motivation and goal setting. If you are interested in training purely for physique goals then you will have to understand that the physique changes slowly. You are not going to see dramatic weekly changes in the mirror so how do you set tangible short term goals to stay motivated? Weight training can become boring and if you have no way of measuring progress then you can turn yourself into the virtual hamster running on a wheel. Concentrating on adding reps and weight will give your workouts meaning and give you a means to gauge your progress. If your getting stronger then your physique is changing. You may not see it with small increases but it will become apparent with larger ones. Go from 225 to 315 on the incline and I guarantee when you get there, your physique will have radically changed. A more muscular physique is a side effect from actually getting stronger. Concentrate on strength and you will kill two birds with one stone!