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Training For Stength vs. Size vs Hypertrophy

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    Training For Stength vs. Size vs Hypertrophy

    Apologize in advance if this has already been discussed, but I've got to say I'm a bit confused by what it actually means to to "train for strength" or "train for size" or "train for hypertrophy" at this point.

    I keep reading posts where on one hand, people feel that the benefits of training for one vs the other are mutually exclusive while others feel completely different. Additionally, some seem like they're training for "strength" (low reps/heavy weight), but actually are using their given program for muscle growth.

    This topic seems hotly debated and I've also seen the refrain "do what works for your body" many times.

    At this point I'm wondering what exactly training for each means? In other words, take a beginner to intermediate BB, put them on a training program for strength, size, or hypertrophy and what exactly...specifically...is to be gained? What exactly will this training do to their body?

    For example, I'm probably best labled a beginner BB. I'm on a 5 x 5 program. Theoretically, this program is perfect for size and strength. But are you telling me that muscle growth is not going to happen? That seems a little ridiculous.

    And maybe these definitions and purposes of each program mean a lot more to advanced BBers who need to constantly adjust to make gains in each specific area.

    This is probably elementary to many, but I have not seen this laid out anywhere.

    Just trying to learn.

    Thanks.

    KY

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    "train for size" or "train for hypertrophy" These are both the same thing.

    Strength training is training to lift a higher iron weight to bodyweight ratio.

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    Like rahaas said, size IS hypertrophy. When your muscles get bigger, that IS hypertrophy.

    Training for strength has two elements to it - increased neural efficiency, and increased cross-sectional area of the muscle. Both will result in an increase in strength.

    The first, because your body is more efficient at recruiting the muscle fibers that are there, and the second because there are simply more muscle fibers to contract.

    The best analogy i have heard is the glass of water analogy:

    Your muscles are the glass, strength is the water. You can pour more water into the glass up to a certain point, but eventually if you want more water you'll have to increase the size of the glass.

    In other words, you can get stronger without getting bigger, but there will come a point when the limiting factor of your strength is how much muscle you have.

    Training for strength entails periodizing your program in order to simply lift more weight. Usually this is achieved with lower reps. Like i've said, this is independent of getting bigger.

    Gaining size is more dependent on how much you are eating than what you are doing in the gym. If you are training with resistance equipment, and are eating more than you are expending, you will gain weight.

    Its really that simple. If you want to get stronger, work to lift more weight. If you want to get bigger, eat a lot.
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    So all this crap about low reps vs high reps doesn't matter when it comes to size? It's really about calorie surplus.

    Am I reading this right?

    KY

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    I think you can get a bigger glass with a small increase in water. However it has to be enough to fill your current glass (decent weight) and when going to get a new glass you can get a big one rather than just one to contain the overflow.
    If that makes any sense!

    No it didn't to me either but you cant gain size without increase in strength. However the strength/mass volume is not set, like you can jump from 100-150lb bench press and gain 5 pounds of muscle, but you can also gain 2 lbs of muscle depending on how much you eat.

    Here's another shot at an analogy. Everytime you raise your strength, you get a new glass (the larger the strength gain, the larger the glass, but the size of the glass is limited). However it is up to you to fill the glasses with water (your diet), resulting in a higher amount of water to crown you the aqua king!

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    Actually T, every time you raise your strength you don't necessarily get a larger glass. Now if your ingesting a surplus of calories you would but otherwise no.

    Very simply, regardless of how you train (strength or hypertrophy) you will gain size if you eat a surplus. Now the amount of size is dependent on how you train.

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    This is a very good thread, for me at least, i've picked up some good facts (thanks Gaz/largepkg.) I myself was a tad confused about hypertrophy, because you're increasing the size of your muscle cells, but as to how to do that it was a little murky water to me as how i do that with my routine.
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    Quote Originally Posted by largepkg View Post
    Actually T, every time you raise your strength you don't necessarily get a larger glass. Now if your ingesting a surplus of calories you would but otherwise no.

    Very simply, regardless of how you train (strength or hypertrophy) you will gain size if you eat a surplus. Now the amount of size is dependent on how you train.
    This +1.

    Strength because of a neural adaption is independent of size. You can get stronger without getting bigger, just because your body gets more efficient at performing a particular movement. You CAN gain strength as a by-product of increased cross-sectional area due to muscular hypertrophy, however, but its not always the case. You still need to be efficient at using that extra mass.

    You can gain size with any sort of resistance training so long as you are eating a caloric surplus - high reps, low reps, mid range reps...high intensity, low intensity...lots of time under tension, explosive movements...

    This is why periodization is so important. Your body will adapt to one training modality by getting better at it, rather than needing an increase in muscle size. So long as you provide the energy for new tissue synthesis, and a varied training stimulus, you will GROW.
    Last edited by Gazhole; 03-14-2009 at 11:14 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by largepkg View Post
    Actually T, every time you raise your strength you don't necessarily get a larger glass. Now if your ingesting a surplus of calories you would but otherwise no.

    Very simply, regardless of how you train (strength or hypertrophy) you will gain size if you eat a surplus. Now the amount of size is dependent on how you train.
    The glass represents the strength. The water represents the mass put on by eating more.
    So you can gain strength (the glass) but you have to put the water in to get more water volume (mass).

    Get it??

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gazhole View Post
    Like rahaas said, size IS hypertrophy. When your muscles get bigger, that IS hypertrophy.

    Training for strength has two elements to it - increased neural efficiency, and increased cross-sectional area of the muscle. Both will result in an increase in strength.

    The first, because your body is more efficient at recruiting the muscle fibers that are there, and the second because there are simply more muscle fibers to contract.

    The best analogy i have heard is the glass of water analogy:

    Your muscles are the glass, strength is the water. You can pour more water into the glass up to a certain point, but eventually if you want more water you'll have to increase the size of the glass.

    In other words, you can get stronger without getting bigger, but there will come a point when the limiting factor of your strength is how much muscle you have.

    Training for strength entails periodizing your program in order to simply lift more weight. Usually this is achieved with lower reps. Like i've said, this is independent of getting bigger.

    Gaining size is more dependent on how much you are eating than what you are doing in the gym. If you are training with resistance equipment, and are eating more than you are expending, you will gain weight.

    Its really that simple. If you want to get stronger, work to lift more weight. If you want to get bigger, eat a lot.
    considering im lifting very intense and heavy and i increase my calories, is it fair to say the more i eat( healthy) the bigger i will get, or will my body see it as overeating and turn it to fat

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    Quote Originally Posted by T_man View Post
    The glass represents the strength. The water represents the mass put on by eating more.
    So you can gain strength (the glass) but you have to put the water in to get more water volume (mass).

    Get it??
    I think you have your examples backwards from the way Gaz so thoroughly explained it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rayray715 View Post
    considering im lifting very intense and heavy and i increase my calories, is it fair to say the more i eat( healthy) the bigger i will get, or will my body see it as overeating and turn it to fat
    Whether you will put on weight or not depends on your overall energy balance. I.e. - if you are using more energy than you are consuming, your body will breakdown tissue to get that energy. If you are consuming more energy than you are using, this surplus of energy will be stored as tissue.

    If there is no stimulus for muscular hypertrophy, the body has no need to synthesize new muscle tissue, so this extra energy will be stored as fat. But since you're weight training regularly, there is a requirement there for muscular hypertrophy so any extra energy will more likely be used for that purpose.

    This is only true within a certain limit however, as your body can only synthesize muscle tissue at a certain rate, so if you eat TOO much, then yeah any surplus calories AFTER the surplus calories used to build muscle, will be stored as fat.

    Hence why people get fat as fuck when they go on a bulk :P.

    The key is to work out your own energy requirements and eat a reasonable, sensible, surplus of calories. 500 extra a day is baseline for most people. 2000 more than you need is excessive for example.
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    Would it be wise to aim slightly lower than that 500 calories, so you make muscle, but just not as much, but then again you don't gain the fat either.
    This could be seen as not as efficient or not as good, but think of the amount of time and energy you will spend on cutting, not to forget the muscle loss too during a cut, so it kinda outweighs itself??

    I'm just speculating dont blast me with your flame throwers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by T_man View Post
    Would it be wise to aim slightly lower than that 500 calories, so you make muscle, but just not as much, but then again you don't gain the fat either.
    This could be seen as not as efficient or not as good, but think of the amount of time and energy you will spend on cutting, not to forget the muscle loss too during a cut, so it kinda outweighs itself??

    I'm just speculating dont blast me with your flame throwers.
    It doesnt work that way, that parts down to calorie partition.

    Basically when you bulking you eat roughly 500cals over maint. Your body then has to decide what to do with the energy surplus, i.e. store it as fat or use it for muscle repair and growth. These reason you lift weights is go persudae your body to partition some of those calories toward muscle. But even if you training is on point, youll really only get a 50:50 partition. So for every lb of muscle you gain, your gona gain some fat as well. (I could post some links to good articles if you like, going into a lot more depth than this)

    People talk about 'slow bulks', but these work very slowly and they get basically the same fat:muscle gain ratio, just because they gain less weight total they think their way is more efficient.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moondogg View Post
    It doesnt work that way, that parts down to calorie partition.

    Basically when you bulking you eat roughly 500cals over maint. Your body then has to decide what to do with the energy surplus, i.e. store it as fat or use it for muscle repair and growth. These reason you lift weights is go persudae your body to partition some of those calories toward muscle. But even if you training is on point, youll really only get a 50:50 partition. So for every lb of muscle you gain, your gona gain some fat as well. (I could post some links to good articles if you like, going into a lot more depth than this)

    People talk about 'slow bulks', but these work very slowly and they get basically the same fat:muscle gain ratio, just because they gain less weight total they think their way is more efficient.
    I see, well thanks for clearing that up, now back to topic

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    Quote Originally Posted by T_man View Post
    I see, well thanks for clearing that up, now back to topic
    You dont think my response answered your question?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moondogg View Post
    You dont think my response answered your question?
    back to the topic of the OP

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    Quote Originally Posted by T_man View Post
    back to the topic of the OP
    Ah right, cool. Thought you meant my post was off topic.

    Sorry

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    Moondogg was on topic, he was talking about bulking
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gazhole View Post
    Moondogg was on topic, he was talking about bulking
    But it was in response to my question rather than the relation of strength and mass which is what is being discussed in the topic.
    I was just being polite

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