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Started By Analyzer (CDA, id, U.S.A.)

Started on: 10/19/2005 7:51:56 PM, viewed 3100 times
size and strength: Changing my views. (Sorry vincent!)



A bigger muscle is always stronger, but increases in strength may not always mean you gained muscle.

Two things I overlooked before,

1) cyclic gains. If a person is gaining strength for a while, and is advanced, and no size is coming, there is ONE place that strength can be coming from… NEURAL.

2) Those links above, plus a reference with the names of the people, in a sports medicine book, show that we have more potential for strength than can be measured normally. I beleive now that it′s very possible that a person could slowly add neural strength (through lessening of inhibitions, etc) over a long time, without gaining much or any size.


This Topic has 81 Replies: Displaying out of 81 Replies:

Christoph (South Sioux City, NE, United States) on 10/19/2005 8:31:15 PM

OK, assuming this is true (I am shocked by the way), you′ve only discussed one side of the topic (strength).

If you believe strength and size are different, even when relative to oneself, what are your views on size and how should one train for size? How is a NATURAL bodybuilder, taking NO steroids and even NO supplements supposed to train for size?

Lower intensity, increase volume, vary from heavy to light to hit all fibers? If so, your potential is still limited by your current strength. Is your argument that once you increase size, strength will follow BECAUSE of the size increase, and, more importantly, that THAT PROCESS WILL CONTINUE?

Assuming you have a view on this, does SCIENCE support your view and are you SURE this science wasn′t based on individuals taking steroids/supplements?

Analyzer (CDA, id, U.S.A.) on 10/19/2005 10:31:07 PM

"OK, assuming this is true (I am shocked by the way), youŒve only discussed one side of the topic (strength)."

Consider this.

Many gain well with HD and seem to be honest. There are quite a few so I doubt all are lying.

Many report strength and no size with HD and seem to be honest. (I′m one of them), there are also quite a few and I doubt all lying.

Why? How?

There are studies showing that neural recovery may take longer than muscle recovery. We also know people have different tolerances to intensity and all that. We know you can inroad your nervous system differently than your muscles. In fact, just being stressed can inroad your nervous system. (Darrell has spoke on this a lot). So here is my thoughts…

Some people who do heavy duty find their muscles and nervous system recover and supercompensate at about the same time course. The train….. wait…… both are done … train again. Those are the people that it works great for.

Then you have some people who try HD and get stronger but not bigger. I beleive they train….muscles recover….wait… nervous system recovers… then train again. For them, HD causes a big neural inroad, and a smaller muscular inroad. Their CNS cannot recover fast enough so they might even lose muscle mass waiting on the nervous system to recover. These are people who have found training less intense but more often works better.

What they are doing is balancing the inroad/recovery times for CNS and muscles.

"If you believe strength and size are different, even when relative to oneself, what are your views on size and how should one train for size? How is a NATURAL bodybuilder, taking NO steroids and even NO supplements supposed to train for size?"

Since people can display a ton of strength in emergency situations, it shows that we have a lot more potential for strength than we normally use. It′s very possible we could slowly lower the inhibitory factors (golgi, afferent feedback, antogistic intervention, etc) over time and just be able to show more strength with the same muscle.

How to train for size? Balance intensity with frequency.

"Lower intensity, increase volume, vary from heavy to light to hit all fibers? If so, your potential is still limited by your current strength. Is your argument that once you increase size, strength will follow BECAUSE of the size increase, and, more importantly, that THAT PROCESS WILL CONTINUE? "

All fibers will get hit if you get even close to failure or use at least 70-80% of your 1RM, so that is no worry.

And yes, if you do get bigger, you will get stronger, more fibers does = more potential strength. And yes, I beleive it will continue if you balance things right.

I think for me, a set to failure is a massive inroad to my CNS and smaller inroad to my muscles.

"Assuming you have a view on this, does SCIENCE support your view and are you SURE this science wasnŒt based on individuals taking steroids/supplements?"

Yes, I have the study that shows neural recovery is slower and it was not done on bodybuilders or drug users. Also, those articles I posted above show the supra-normal strength on regular people.


Bayan (los angeles, 90024, U.S.A.) on 10/20/2005 12:25:41 AM


i′m intrigued by your thoughts. i′ve been thinking about the size-strength relationship for some time now.

I′m interested in the stark contrast this comment of yours has with your previous, INGENIUS insight into the fact that Mentzer had discovered that local muscle recovery was faster than systemic/CNS recovery. It being that an upper/lower body split routine allows greater recovery time per individual muscle-group, but leaves the systemic recovery time as is, you cited Mentzer′s discovery that people who employed a split routine experineced better progres as evidence that the local stresses were the limiting factor in hypertrophy, and that systemic stresses were not. Thus, you extrapolated that advanced progress does not necessitate a decrease in frequency because advanced muscle gains only increase the local stresses, but not the systemic. And since the local recovery time isn′t the limiting reagent, then no alteration of frequency is necessary. How do you reconcile this comment with your new twist of belief?

I personally tend to believe Arthur′s Jones′ theory of the size-strength relationship as detailed in Nautilus Bulletin 1. (I′ve cited it below.) I understand the scientific explanation for his theory to be the following: neural gains improve until they are maxed out, at which point out bodies increase muscle cross-sectional area permitting greater possible strength levels, at which point we we begin to adapt neurally again, improving the muscle′s neuro-muscular efficiency until the new motor units are optimized, and then more fibres/cross-sectioanl area is required to allow for greater possible strength, and so it is built, and then that needs to be adapted neurally again, etc.. ad infinitum. I′ve excerpted Jone′s comments below.




"When the actual progress of an individual trainee is carefully charted over a period of a few months, several rather surprising results will become immediately apparent; for example, while strength levels will increase in a series of gentle curves, increases in size of the involved body parts — and thus apparent increases in muscular mass — will result in a stair-step pattern.

A much clearer understanding of these separate — but interrelated — patterns of growth can be gained by a study of actual charts of human growth. And if this is done, it will be noted that strength increases seem to come in an almost straight, but slightly down-curving line — if such increases are viewed over a long period of time; but a closer view will reveal the fact that the line was actually curving back and forth to a slight degree.

And upon closely viewing increases in the size of the involved body parts, it will be immediately apparent that such increases came in sudden spurts followed by plateaus, in stair-step fashion.

And upon carefully comparing these two different factors of growth, on the same scale, it will be seen that strength increases curved upwards — increasing their rate of progress — immediately following an increase in size of the involved body part, and then gradually curved back into a reduced rate of increase.

From all available evidence, the cause/effect relationship involved seems to be perfectly clear; strength increases at a faster rate immediately after an increase in size makes such a strength increase possible — but then reduces its rate of progress as it nears the maximum strength level for a particular size.

Likewise, there seems to be no necessity for a size increase so long as the existing strength level is lower than that which is possible at the existing size.

Thus, in effect, size increases permit strength increases — and strength increases force size increases.

From the above, it might appear that this disproves a previously established point — the relationship between size and strength; but in fact, it is actually proof of the previously established point. I have never stated — nor have I meant to imply — that there was an absolutely rigid relationship between existing size and strength levels; on the contrary, an obvious range of variation is clearly demonstrable. And while this range is normally so slight that it can and should be totally disregarded, and while it is rigidly limited on the "upside" — there is literally no limit to this range on the "downside."

This is to say; once a muscle has attained the maximum possible level of strength for a particular size, it literally cannot increase in strength until and unless an increase in size is produced. However, even a moment of consideration will make it immediately apparent that the strength of a muscle can "decrease" literally to the point of nothing — without the necessity for any decrease in the size of the muscle.

A sudden and violent sickness can reduce a man’s strength almost to the point of zero — with little or no decrease in the size of his muscles; but if his strength is at its maximum level for a particular size, then nothing short of an increase in size can produce an increase in strength. And even then, an increase in size will not "produce" an increase in strength — it will merely make it possible."

–Arthur Jones, Nautilus Bulletin #1

Christoph (South Sioux City, NE, United States) on 10/20/2005 4:22:51 AM


First off, people are always thirsty for size and most of them do not know what is "reasonable," realistic, therefore, what to expect. Second, strength gains normally precede size gains. For that, when someone claims either not to have seen the size gains they′d like, or that their size gains don′t match their strength gains, they have nothing to compare their gains to. They′re not explaining that "when I used training protocol ′A′ my size to strength gains were larger than when I used training protocol ′B′" or anything of the sort. There is no such thing as a universal size-to-strength ratio because gains on both ends are specific to us individually. People don′t know what kind of size gains come with strength gains for them individually so it is simply lower than they expected and their expectations were not realistic. People do not realize the luxury TRUE, PERMANENT muscular growth is.

Isn′t it true that there are also studies showing that neural gains are limited? -AND that once they reach a certain point, the body must adapt via an increase in muscular mass, rather than further neural adaptation? I am aware that you′ve explained that before. Were there actually no studies to confirm this and now you′ve actually found a study that proves the opposite, indicated by your statement: "There are studies showing that neural recovery may take longer than muscle recovery." I am aware that you can inroad your muscles differently than your CNS, but we′ve discussed before that the CNS recovers much more quickly…

So you′re saying that one should regulate intensity, volume, and frequency until they′ve found the point at which the CNS and muscles recover at the same time? This sounds right, but intensity MUST be high or growth will not be stimulated. Otherwise we would be getting huge on daily tasks. You would likely argue that at the lower intensity and higher frequency would cause the muscles to get larger, which would then result in growth, and that higher intensity lower frequency will instead result in a neural adaptation from the higher intensity, but that would suggest that high intensity is not the key to muscular growth. If it is, a certain amount of time is required in order to recover from the high stress, so low frequency is necessary. The high intensity MUST be the stimulation in muscular growth otherwise the key to growth would be to simply LIFT.

As for your statement on cyclic gains, what Arthur Jones said (refer to Bayan′s post) does seem valid LONG TERM. This would also further explain what Mike described on cyclic gains. Many people read it but didn′t believe it because it didn′t make sense, and it sounds like you′d agree that it didn′t. I think we′ve all witnessed cyclic gains and what Arthur describes sounds very likely.

* Bayan, I agree and you summed it up nicely. Thanks for that piece by Arthur Jones, I′ve always believed in cyclic gains because that′s what I′ve witnessed, and reading this relieved me much because it seems very viable. Like I said, this is what I′ve experienced and muscular size gains will come at unexpected times, for instance, my experience in the past has been of such: I′ll see strength gains for maybe 2 months (or less), I′ll reach a critical point where I hardly make a strength gain at all, then one day I appear to be a little more muscular than I previously was and after that point strength progress will continue and the whole process repeats. The point at which size hits is after a workout where I hardly seem to have progressed from my last workout. I adjust volume and possibly frequency. Then size happens, I′m impressed, I look in the mirror, feel good and say "it′s working," then progress continues. Just before size hits you may be disappointed in your workout. When I speak of this small increase in size I am speaking of size gains larger than the minor gains I saw between workouts even when I progressed. One point is that the strength progress of one workout will not determine the size increase in the same amount of time. For the most part, size increases are cyclical, and when training for strength your body will reach a very critical point where size gains are immediately necessary.

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