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Old 05-03-2012, 08:56 AM   #1
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Default Got it backwards?

I believe the 'industry' has had it backwards all these years...

For as long as I can remember, there has been different rules for strength building and muscle building.

If you want to get big muscles, you must workout more frequently and hit your muscles at least twice a week. The more often you tear down the muscles and rebuild them, the bigger they become. Also, you need to keep building up the energy stores to give a bigger appearance.

If you want to get strong, you must lift heavy and infrequently. Something like the traditional deadlift, which is very taxing to the CNS, could be worked ONCE every two or three weeks and still make optimal gains. Train the system to fire and give it time to recouperate.

It is my suggestion that the industry got it backwards.

I believe that strength gains are neural and more frequent loadings would be helpful in learning the firing patterns and make you stronger.

I also believe that to allow the muscles to grow you need them to rest completely.

Maybe that's why we see guys in the gym that train like powerlifters looking huge and guys that train like bodybuilders still look small but have a big bench press.

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Old 05-03-2012, 09:08 AM   #2
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I wonder if it also involves the generally accepted assumption that powerlifters eat and BBers don't.

Disclaimer: The BBers who know what they are doing eat well and for gains and cutting. I mean the tiny dudes who think they are body builders but have only gained a few pounds since they began lifting 2+ years ago.
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:20 AM   #3
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I wonder if it also involves the generally accepted assumption that powerlifters eat and BBers don't.
That is a big part of it too. The powerlifters have an advantage over your typical gym-goer trying to build muscle. The typical powerlifter isn't concerned about abz and will feed his body enough to grow and get strong. The typical wanna-be bodybuilder is always trying to keep his abz and ends up not feeding his growth enough.
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:23 AM   #4
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I also notice that a lot of power lifters do rep work. They just don't talk about it. We "get the blood flowing" with 100s of reps at weight that would crush most of the people I see in the commercial gyms.

I'm not discounting your points above OR, I think they are all valid, just adding other things as I think of them.
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:26 AM   #5
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I've always heard it's about building different muscle fibers. Slow twitch vs Fast twitch. Lighter more frequent exercise builds slow twitch, which is larger by volume, but doesn't contract with as much power. Larger = better for bb. Fast twitch has more power but smaller = PL & strongman.
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:31 AM   #6
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I'm not discounting your points above OR, I think they are all valid, just adding other things as I think of them.
Well, I'm not married to this theroy, It's just something that's been rattling around in my noggin.
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:31 AM   #7
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I believe that strength gains are neural and more frequent loadings would be helpful in learning the firing patterns and make you stronger.
Frequency has helped my strength, tied to intensity of course.

I have found that for squat and deadlifts, it's more beneficial to lift frequently than it is to worry about training volume or working a muscle. I have a solid muscular base, of course, so that has to be kept in mind by anyone reading this who doesn't know me or my experience levels. I am certainly no bodybuilder though.

During the last 3 months, though I am lifting more frequently, I rarely perform more than 5-7 working reps on squats and deadlifts per week. Would this work for others? I don't know. It doesn't work as well for my bench press. I do know that when I walk out of the gym I am not physically destroyed, and feel ready to go again the next day.
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:43 AM   #8
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I've always heard it's about building different muscle fibers. Slow twitch vs Fast twitch. Lighter more frequent exercise builds slow twitch, which is larger by volume, but doesn't contract with as much power. Larger = better for bb. Fast twitch has more power but smaller = PL & strongman.
So you're saying it has more to do with moderate intensity and higher volume for muscle building, and higher intensity coupled with lower reps for strength? I would agree with that. But how much do you think rest and recovery has to do with the different goals?
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:53 AM   #9
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Frequency has helped my strength, tied to intensity of course.
Kind of lends itself to my silly theroy.

I keep thiniking of pull-ups. You want to get good at doing pull-ups, do them daily. You want to get big by doing pull-ups, add weight and rest enough to recover.
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:01 AM   #10
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I have to add though, that this is a very complex issue that still baffles me on many levels. I think the easy part is getting to the 85% mark in strength and muscle. Beyond that things get rather complex.

I spent 20 years with my only focus on building muscle. I trained each bodypart once a week, was generally low volume, but pushed every set to the maximum number of reps possible and lived for progression. I did this for no other reason than it felt right for me. High volume beat up my joints and connective tissue more than my muscles.

I tried high volume with frequency and it took me 3-4 months to explode. Looking back I think it would have been possible to maintain that style of training IF I would have used more frequent deloading. I was overreaching, no doubt, but never pulling back.

One of the surprising things for me is that I am noticeably bigger than most naturals I meet in person. Certainly now I am heavier than ever, but even back at 265-270 my arm, forearm and quad size (for example) seemed light years ahead of the average local competitive bodybuilder I met. Please don't take this as chest beating. I am merely presenting it as a method of explaining my confusion.

These guys were all training once a week, and seemed to be about as strong as I was when I hit my "big" level. At my biggest muscle size I was benching 340, my hypertrophy squat sets were around 315 to 375 pounds, and my working deadlift sets were in the low 400s.

So the question for me is...if they are as strong as I was, lifting with the same frequency, training harder than I was (more volume), why were they smaller than I was?

I don't have all the answers. It's still a mystery at times. I am certain I can get most anyone to the 85% level, but moving beyond that in the muscle building realm is still somewhat of a puzzle to me.

My only guess as to why my size came easier has to do with food intake. Most competitive bodybuilders eat tight as a drum in the off-season. Sometimes, I worry, too tight. They train hard and get stronger, but never seem to add much mass.

I am merely sharing my opinion here, so I hope no one takes offense. Feel free to poke holes in it.

It is much easier for me to add strength when eating aggressively. Along the same lines, I ate like a bear when building muscle and added muscle at a rapid pace. Cry "genetics" if you'd like, but I doubt that is the case.

Again, I don't have the answers, but I think a valid question is...are too many bodybuilders not eating as aggressively as they should be? Not saying they need to bulk to 250 in the off-season, but perhaps adding another 10-15 pounds in the off-season might be more beneficial.
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