Think There's A Massive Difference Between Mass & Strength? = You're Doing It Wrong
I and several other MAB members have been reading some bullshit lately about there being a vast and tangible difference between training for size (muscle mass) and training for strength.
The senior 'advisor and moderator' of another site has recently made the following statement:
Before I continue, I should make it clear that all the established training methods like strength and conditioning, power lifting, strongman, Olympic, WSBB, GVT, etc. are NOT simply different ways of skinning the same cat.
Any training method designed to reach a specific goal (ie building strength or performing Oly movements) will necessarily place the trainer on a direct path to achieving that goal compared with a training method designed chiefly to build mass.
And the reverse is true too; bodybuilders who are only familiar with body part, full body or split hypertrophy routines are not gearing up to clean and press Olympic style or do the Farmer's walk with a half tonne!
With this aside, the above quote is utter bullshit.
The first broscience concept I want to dispel is this dogmatic adherence to rep ranges for specific goals.
As BendtheBar and numerous other veterans have stated (I will paraphrase): you can build strength with any rep range above a few and less than 100 (an exaggeration, but you get the idea).
The second broscience concept eluded to is that a trainer can build large amounts of muscle while experiencing negligible increases in strength. Again, this is bullshit.
To explain why these statements are false, I have picked two prime examples. Both of which are MAB members; one a power lifter, the other a body builder.
Interview With Max Misch, The Diesel Weasel | Muscle & Strength
Max is a power lifter with an elite level dead lift among his accomplishments. Based on my familiarity with his training style (and correct me if I’m wrong, Max), specific muscle targeting exercises - like isolations – are seldom if ever used. Yet at 165 pounds, the guy clearly has a body builder’s mass and dimensions, and if he wanted to cut to 5%, he’d undoubtedly place high in a natural body building comp.
Does he train for mass? No.
Kyle is a champion bodybuilder , which is especially admirable since he’s also still in college. Obviously he has serious mass. But he also squats more than many veteran trainers and has great strength and ability generally.
Does he train for strength? No.
And a final word on rep ranges.
I’m not a professional anything (yet), but my background is bodybuilding; specifically, body part style training using mid to high rep ranges (10-15 p/set).
I was training solidly for 18 months before I began prioritising aesthetics and working towards a bodybuilder’s physique. Yet since day one I had been using a bber template, and had been growing in size and strength steadily… all on a pretty shitty diet mind you. If nutrition had been more important to me no doubt my gains would have been faster, but even so I managed to grow from 70 kgs (154 lbs) to 94 kgs (207 lbs) in approx 2 years. And at my peak, I could decline bench 120 kgs (265 lbs) for 12,10,8. I consider that fairly strong.
I returned to training 14 months ago now, and picked it up where I left off; a 4 day body part routine using 10-15 reps per set. And while I’ve learned a shit tonne from the guys and girls I forum with and my routine has been vetted to perfection, the rep ranges have stayed the same.
With these supposedly non-strength building rep ranges, my strength has gone through the roof! I’m trying to get serious about cutting right now, so only time will tell how much new mass is revealed, but that really is beside the point.
IMO the statement at the top of this page was made by someone who is faceless and largely anonymous for a reason; he is full of shit.
This guy really believes that?
you cant put on muscle mass without strength gains. The whole 6-12 rep range will not yield strength gains is just not true. The whole base of my original strength program consisted of 4x6@ a standard weight, increasing the next week if all sets were clean. I have benched 500lbs raw, and benched near 700lbs in a single ply shirt. To paraphrase Chad Aichs "I dont want to learn theory from some guy who cant bench 200lbs when I am trying to bench 900lbs"
When "strength training" is mentioned in that quote, it is referencing the 1-3 rep range.
There are several problems with trying to view strength training and muscle building as two different things, especially for beginners to intermediates, which this pertains most to....and is the audience for.
First, the quote positions strength training as something that ONLY involves training in the 1-3 range. Let us not forget that the 1-3 range is generally 90% of a lifter's 1RM. Even late intermediate to advanced strength trainees do not perform many working sets with 90% of their 1RM. Speaking in generalities, at most they will perform one set per workout in this range. Also, most are aware of the Prilepin chart, and limit work in the 90% range accordingly.
The reality is that even most late intermediate to advanced strength trainees train in the 4 to 12 rep range for most sets. Sure ascending triples and singles are used, but most of the working sets, including accessory work, are in the same ranges I listed for muscle building (5 to 12).
Second, beginners to early intermediates don't generally train using 90%+ weights and the 1-3 rep range. Strength training ranges for them are generally the same ranges used for "muscle building"...5 to 12. (For most exercises)
Third, a properly structured strength building workout for beginners to early intermediates won't look that much different than a properly structured muscle building workout. They use most of the same core exercises, and both require a focus on progression to maximize results.
Finally, I talk to people you have added substantial muscle each day, from pro bodybuilders to amazing body transformations. Though they train differently, one thing is consistent...99% will tell you that progression on a smart selection of exercises was the key to their gains.
Also, most of them are brutally strong! I know bodybuilders who swear they aren't anywhere near powerlifting ranges, but who deadlift 600 and deep squat 500. Though this is the high end of the spectrum, the reality is that most natural bodybuilders I know, and I know more than most, are only a stone's throw away from Elite powerlifting standards. "Stone's throw" meaning 150-200 pounds or less.
The ones that aren't haven't been lifting more than a few years. They still focus on progression and will get to this level soon enough. This statement might piss a few people off but it's true. Remember, these guys are under 200 pounds.
Does this progression need to be rapid? No. Does this progression require you to get as strong as the Hulk? No. With that said, I know of no other way to get as big and strong as simply pushing yourself on every set for as many reps as possible, and adding weight at every opportunity. (This applies to beginners to intermediates)
A rep range by itself is an indicator of nothing. Studies are great but they can't gauge effort. Strength, in studies, is usually looked at as a byproduct and not the mechanism driving gains. Studies also can't trump endless decades of real world information.
I don't care who you are. I don't care what rep range you train in. As a beginner to early intermediate, pick a rep range that works for you and ram the heck out of progression. Never waste a set and you will become a beast.
For most natural trainees, strength and muscle building are virtually the same for several years. (Depending on the trainee, and his goals)
All this Weider magazine 40 sets, pumping, TUT, blasting hoo-ha might be needed for some 280 pound gorilla to make gains and stimulate growth on their 82nd steroid pulse or whatever, but it's simply not needed for a beginning to early intermediate NATURAL bodybuilder.
AND, when a natural MUSCLE BUILDER does get to intermediate levels, switching to a mindless 6 to 12 range and increasing volume won't do much by itself. Some form or progression will still be required. Yes, you can drop the weight and use various techniques - like rest pause, slow negatives, whatever. These techniques can be great at saving the joints from the constant strain of heavy weight. But they still require progression.
You can't do the same workout with the same weight day in and day out for years and expect results - for size or strength. We all know this. So if we all know it, and we realize progression needs to come into play sooner or later, why the heck is this even a discussion?
On one hand we "need" muscle confusion - or a new workout every 8 to 12 weeks, but on the other we don't "need" a relentless focus on progression?
The best ways to "confuse" your muscles are:
1) Actually getting your butt to the gym week in and week out.
2) Taxing the heck out of them with heavy barbell and dumbbell exercises.
3) "Confusing" them by adding more reps, and then more weight.
If anyone knows of a better system for building size and strength than this for beginners to intermediates, speak now.
I will add this...if you are a beginner and want to add size and strength, and you ask me to train you:
A) You may be disappointed that you are only training 2-3 days per week.
B) You will eat like a behemoth, and will gain weight rapidly.
C) You will be busting nuts on basic exercises, and will gain strength rapidly.
You might not like the extra weight you add, but after 12 to 18 months you will be a beast and well on your way to whatever goals you wish to achieve. And this idea you are a hardgainer will become a distant memory.
Quite frankly, and no disrespect meant...in my world, in you have been training 2-5 years and haven't gained a lot of mass and strength, you are unwilling to eat enough and focus on progression on every set. The eating is probably the biggest issue, and the person most likely is eating too clean, or about 1000 calories lower than what I would ask them to eat.
The teacher in me thinks the entire workout section of that site (and many others) needs to be redesigned and things need to be renamed.
It makes more sense to me (from the perspective of reducing confusing for people new to training) to have workouts and training programs listed by what you either want to do (compete in strongman, PL meets, body-build, lose fat) or what you do (play sports, gain speed, maximize endurance, run triathlons) or even what you want to look like (fitness model, strong man competitor, bear) than the way they are now.
There also should be simple statements at the front of all training programs.
1. If you want to be bigger than you are now, you have to get stronger than you are now (and eat a lot of food).
2. If you are big/overweight and want to get smaller than you are now, you are going to have to get stronger than you are now (and eat less/better food than you do now).
3. In order to be 190 pounds with 6-pack abs, you first have to be 215 pounds with a slight belly.
All the details and minutia can really overwhelm even people with some knowledge. I think of Palmer at the other site-- kid is working hard and busting his butt and making progress and every 2 weeks of so, he starts to over think himself based on all the chatter that goes on around this program versus that program. I think a lot of his confusion comes from the manner in which those with knowledge outline and deliver said information.
If we don't want new lifters confused, we need to speak more clearly and simply.
Some solid points made here. All I would add is that it doesn't matter what your goals are:
BB, PL, Strongman, Sport Performance
If you work your big compound lifts and make them stronger, you will make progress. Be that progress in size, speed, strength or explosiveness. Ain't no one ever become an olympic champion in anything by doing 15 sets of curls twice per week and not training legs because they're already doing some running.
Abaddon man u r a fatass and jus jealous coz you aren't as strong or big as ____________.
________knows tonnes more about everything to do with bodybilding. STFU.
GTFO this thread, Jaskarn. This is serious.
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