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  1. #1
    Kalamazoo jonathan2994's Avatar
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    Can you get stronger without actually adding muscle mass?

    Can I eat a very lean diet and continue to get stronger, even if only slowly? That would be awesome, I never really cared for size at all. Here's me at 10% bodyfat:

    I look like I can bench around 200, but I can hit as much as 285 during a well-nourished period. I'm cut down from 180 to 165 right now, and my chest is definitely smaller but I am not weaker by any means.

    Anyway, point of this thread is in the title. If I can get stronger without getting fatter, that would be a huge revelation. When I think strong, I think Daniel Day-Lewis, not Ahnuld.
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  2. #2
    B.S. Kinesiology CSCS Vipersg123's Avatar
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    to a certain extent.... sort of. You can train and diet specifically that the muscle mass gained is fairly minimal but you will gain SOME...
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  3. #3
    dat ***** tikitariki's Avatar
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    yes, it's called strength training. it promotes strength rather than muscle hypertrophy (basically what bodybuilders aim for). i don't know much about the science of it though. in fact i would suggest taking this info lightly because i don't know how accurate this is. supposedly it has a lot to do with nervous system adjusting to heavier weights and of course you can't really avoid not gaining muscle mass too. the only real difference i've noticed from strength vs. bodybuilding is the reps and types of lifts they do. not sure about the diet.
    Fapping is the ultimate cardio.
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  4. #4
    Registered User Smile4AWile's Avatar
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    with your answer, for the most part yes you can, however it will nto be very quickly and eventually you will peak and make little gains. You can train the muscles you have to adapt to heavier weights, but eventually they will be done adapting unless you put on more muscle. With that in mind, you will most likely gain small amounts of muscle when lifting heavy anyways.
    Weight training is not just about muscles, it's about character, determination, dedication, control, and knowledge.
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  5. #5
    Strength above all. techKO_'s Avatar
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    Of course you can. Building strength is getting your body used to higher weight. You can do this without gaining muscle mass. Gaining weight is accomplished by eating really. If one trains for strength but doesn't eat enough for the mass, you will see that you get stronger but not bigger. That is exactly what strength athletes in sports that are restricted to weight classes do.
    If you strive to be something, you must work for it. Pain is your friend, it shows you that you are still alive. Refuse to be common.

    Make no god damn mistake, I'm in this for power and glory.
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  6. #6
    Registered User djdan's Avatar
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    Bruce Lee was 130lbs but he could hold a 100lb barbell parallel to the ground for one minute. Of course you can get stronger without getting bigger.
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  7. #7
    Recovers with Shockwave! AMillane7's Avatar
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    you can get stronger w/o size, its mainly a factor of diet..but size will also help your strength gains
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  8. #8
    Registered User HydraulicBody's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by djdan View Post
    Bruce Lee was 130lbs but he could hold a 100lb barbell parallel to the ground for one minute. Of course you can get stronger without getting bigger.
    I was gonna mention bruce lee, but hey holding a 100lb barbell horizonal just means he has huge shoulders and a tiny legs
    and i doubt he did that when he was 130lb's (he has been hevier much)

    but yeah its completly possible to build more strength without gaining weight.
    but we do have limits ^^
    LAZY ^^
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  9. #9
    Registered User djdan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by HydraulicBody View Post
    I was gonna mention bruce lee, but hey holding a 100lb barbell horizonal just means he has huge shoulders and a tiny legs
    and i doubt he did that when he was 130lb's (he has been hevier much)

    but yeah its completly possible to build more strength without gaining weight.
    but we do have limits ^^
    actually he was big on kicking, he relied on his legs to make strong kicks, there's a movie clip on youtube of how he kicked a guy almost 10 feet in a fight and he said he felt like he got hit by a car.

    he doesn't really have that huge shoulders, but he had like a 25" waist and 50" inch back. it was ridiculous.
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  10. #10
    Registered User HydraulicBody's Avatar
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    yeah he was prtty pro, but yeah his kicks were so powerful because he had skill.

    not because of his strength ^^
    LAZY ^^
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  11. #11
    B.S. Kinesiology CSCS Vipersg123's Avatar
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    strength is always a slight factor in your ability to produce force... just sayin.
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  12. #12
    Registered User djdan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by HydraulicBody View Post
    yeah he was prtty pro, but yeah his kicks were so powerful because he had skill.

    not because of his strength ^^
    well of course you need both, but i'm pretty sure i wouldn't want to be kicked by Ronnie Coleman, even if he has never kicked someone in his life before, i bet you i would feel like i got hit by a truck.
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  13. #13
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    Originally Posted by djdan View Post
    actually he was big on kicking, he relied on his legs to make strong kicks, there's a movie clip on youtube of how he kicked a guy almost 10 feet in a fight and he said he felt like he got hit by a car.

    he doesn't really have that huge shoulders, but he had like a 25" waist and 50" inch back. it was ridiculous.
    hahah yea hes crazy and those "tiny legs" did work. but they have a show on the history channel of like the science of fighting and they say that a kid from a black belt of karate is equivlent to getting hit by a car at like 25 mph.
    The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, achieve, to conquer.-Arnold
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  14. #14
    Registered User catsonfire's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jonathan2994 View Post
    Can I eat a very lean diet and continue to get stronger, even if only slowly? That would be awesome, I never really cared for size at all. Here's me at 10% bodyfat:

    I look like I can bench around 200, but I can hit as much as 285 during a well-nourished period. I'm cut down from 180 to 165 right now, and my chest is definitely smaller but I am not weaker by any means.

    Anyway, point of this thread is in the title. If I can get stronger without getting fatter, that would be a huge revelation. When I think strong, I think Daniel Day-Lewis, not Ahnuld.
    Strength is a neurological adaptation--- how many muscle fibers you are able to recruit. Maximum recruitment is obtained through low rep training which teaches your brain to recruit all of the fibers that it has. So yes, you can get much stronger without adding muscle mass, because after you just added lets say 10lbs of muscle, chances are you are not very strong for your size anymore because your brain doesnt know how to use all of these fibers yet because in order to gain alot of mass you usually need to stay in the 8-12 rep range

    This is why powerlifters are so much stronger then BBs.
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  15. #15
    Registered User djdan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Vipersg123 View Post
    strength is always a slight factor in your ability to produce force... just sayin.
    do you even know the definition of force?

    force = weight(strenght) x displacement / time

    Strength is the most important factor in being able to produce force. Displacement and time are uncontrolable events.
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  16. #16
    Registered User djdan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by catsonfire View Post
    Strength is a neurological adaptation--- how many muscle fibers you are able to recruit. Maximum recruitment is obtained through low rep training which teaches your brain to recruit all of the fibers that it has. So yes, you can get much stronger without adding muscle mass, because after you just added lets say 10lbs of muscle, chances are you are not very strong for your size anymore because your brain doesnt know how to use all of these fibers yet because in order to gain alot of mass you usually need to stay in the 8-12 rep range

    This is why powerlifters are so much stronger then BBs.
    no such thing as 'adding' muscle fibers. you are born with a finite number of muscle fibers and you cannot increase them. the fibers grow back thicker after you work out and you tear them.

    an 150lb guy who has never worked out has the same number of muscle fibers as a guy who is 250lbs. the difference is the thickness of those fibers.
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  17. #17
    Registered User catsonfire's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by djdan View Post
    no such thing as 'adding' muscle fibers. you are born with a finite number of muscle fibers and you cannot increase them. the fibers grow back thicker after you work out and you tear them.

    an 150lb guy who has never worked out has the same number of muscle fibers as a guy who is 250lbs. the difference is the thickness of those fibers.
    Well assuming your correct, you've got me there.

    So your saying your brain can't recruit the full thickness of the fibers when you are weak for your size, and your brain can recruit the full thickness when you are strong for your size?
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  18. #18
    Registered User djdan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by catsonfire View Post
    Well assuming your correct, you've got me there.

    So your saying your brain can't recruit the full thickness of the fibers when you are weak for your size, and your brain can recruit the full thickness when you are strong for your size?
    strength comes from the force exherted by the muscle fibers themselves.

    if you are like Bruce Lee, his muscle fibers although thin, they are very DENSE when you look at them microscopically. they have many amino strands close together. therefore 1 of his muscle fibers even though it's thinner than a big bulky bodybuilder, it can exert more strength.
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  19. #19
    B.S. Kinesiology CSCS Vipersg123's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by djdan View Post
    do you even know the definition of force?

    force = weight(strenght) x displacement / time

    Strength is the most important factor in being able to produce force. Displacement and time are uncontrolable events.
    yes Force=Mass x Acceleration

    thanks for pointing that out to everyone....


    and i fail to see why you needed to tell me that. Did you take my "slight" to literally and had to be a jackass, why the **** do you think i put... "just sayin" at the end.

    Oh and just so you know, there are studies showing hyperplasia might occur in humans... so your sort of off by saying "NO YOU CAN'T increase fiber count", when really you very well might be able to.
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  20. #20
    Registered User catsonfire's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by djdan View Post
    strength comes from the force exherted by the muscle fibers themselves.

    if you are like Bruce Lee, his muscle fibers although thin, they are very DENSE when you look at them microscopically. they have many amino strands close together. therefore 1 of his muscle fibers even though it's thinner than a big bulky bodybuilder, it can exert more strength.
    So your saying the density of the fibers determines whether or not you are strong for your size, how then does reps of 5 make you stronger then reps of 8-12..

    I know strength has to do with a neurological adaptation. I've read it in books.
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  21. #21
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    Oh and i'de like to point out your flawed equation F will equal strength not mass or as you used it "weight"... so ... yeah.
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  22. #22
    Registered User Wens's Avatar
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    I think you can get stronger but it will be VERY slowly. I just read another case study of someone who shares the same question but from a different angle as he wish to get more muscle mass but his diet is wrong.
    As this is a bb forum, I guess most of us won't see the benefit of not pumping it up.
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  23. #23
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    i always thought:
    with strength comes size
    visa versa
    but proobably to a certain extent
    then you woudl get bigger
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  24. #24
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    Low reps = strength.

    If you work on low reps without putting too many extra calories in your diet, you will get stronger.
    You'll probably get a bit bigger too, though.
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  25. #25
    Registered User Hatebreed13's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by HydraulicBody View Post
    yeah he was prtty pro, but yeah his kicks were so powerful because he had skill.

    not because of his strength ^^
    mmmm I trained with plenty of 1st degrees and higher who had perfect form. But a lot of them never worked out outside the dojo/training center. And a good amount of them wouldn't last too long in a fight simply because they weren't too athletic/physically in shape.

    Bruce Lee's skill wasn't the main reason he could kick a man so hard. Extremely fast-twitch muscle fibers that were able to recruit so much force from his muscle fibers in such a small amount of time. Explosive power.
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