I am having an argument on YouTube about muscle size verse muscle strength with somebody. We have had an extensive discussion on Youtube about it and it is not going anywhere. He believes that if you know how large somebody's muscle is and how strong they're, you can accurately predict how strong they will be if they put on a certain amount of muscle because he believes that there is a 'direct' correlation between muscle size and strength. I believe that while there is a strong relationship between the two, that it isn't a direct relationship because I believe it would be impossible to accurately know how strong somebody will be based on their muscle gained (if any) due to their exercise regime. I have tried to lay out the discussion in a fair and accurate way and I hope with your knowledgeable experience you can help us decide who is correct. I'll put some of my points down in the next post so I don't unfairly influence the argument.
02-06-2013, 07:04 AM #1
Muscle size verse muscle strength.
02-06-2013, 07:20 AM #2
There are many factors that determine muscle size for an individual e.g. hydration, intramuscular fat, energy stores, capillary density (most bodybuilders have experienced the effect a carb up has on muscle size and fullnes). Muscle strength is strongly influenced by the central nervous system and it's efficiency and ability to recruit muscle fibers which doesn't depend on muscle size (which is why powerlifter's train to condition their CNS and bodybuilders train to condition their muscles - 5 sets of 5 reps verse 10 reps of 3 sets - obviously they do overlap). Two well documented types of muscle hypertrophy, Sarcoplasmic or Myofibrillar provide different effects on a muscle, during sarcoplasmic hypertrophy the muscle fills with sarcoplasmic fluid making the muscle larger but not stronger, during Myofibillar hypertrophy the muscle gets stronger but only slightly larger and indeed may not get larger at all. These two types of hypertrophy do usually occur together but in differing ratio's dependent on the reason for the hypertrophy.
Two identical twins, a powerlifter doing squats training for strength, might do 5 sets of 3 reps and a bodybuilder doing squats training for size, might do 4 sets of 10 reps. After following their respective regimes and all else being equal for 6 months, it is reasonable to assume that they will both have gotten bigger and both will have gotten stronger but if we tested their 1RM the powerlifter will have gotten stronger than the bodybuilder and if we measured their muscle size the bodybuilder would have gotten larger than the powerlifter. That is a safe assumption to make? If it is, than there is a strong relationship but not a direct relationship between muscle size/strength.
Last edited by nicky_hansard; 02-06-2013 at 07:27 AM.
02-06-2013, 07:21 AM #3
You are correct. Pure strength also has much to do with CNS activation of muscle fibers. Size also has much to do with fluid and nutrient retention. I can start taking creatine and retain 5-10 more lbs of fluid in my muscle tissue. Did I get stronger? No. There is the whole myofibrillar vs sarcoplasmic hypertrophy thing. As you said, there is correlation between the 2, but not at a direct 1:1 ratio.The floundering has ended.
02-06-2013, 07:37 AM #4
02-06-2013, 07:38 AM #5
02-06-2013, 07:39 AM #6
02-06-2013, 07:43 AM #7
02-06-2013, 07:49 AM #8
02-06-2013, 09:43 AM #9
No brain, no gain.
- Join Date: Feb 2008
- Location: United States
- Posts: 77,213
- Rep Power: 1421466
You can't out-train bad nutrition.
"The fitness and nutrition world is a breeding ground for obsessive-compulsive behavior. The irony is that many of the things people worry about have no impact on results either way, and therefore aren't worth an ounce of concern."--Alan Aragon
Ironwill2008 Workout Journal:
02-06-2013, 10:29 AM #10
02-11-2013, 04:36 AM #11
02-11-2013, 01:00 PM #12
An example of direct correlation: -Every- time 'A' punches 'B' in the nose, 'B's nose bleeds. We don't need to measure the force of the punch, we don't need to measure the amount of blood lost, we don't need to compare one punch to another, or one bleeding to another, and we don't need to consider other conditions that influence 'B's chances for his nose to bleed. What we -do- is notice a -direct correlation- between the punches & the bloody noses, 1-to-1. Same for muscle: Every time an individual adds muscle, (you -never- -exclusively- add sarcoplasm only), the muscle in question will be stronger: Thus, a direct correlation. After all the side-tracks Nicky & I went on in our debate, that's all I was trying to say. Nicky believes direct correlation requires that added muscle be measured, added strength be measured, & the two increases be consistently in the same proportion. I don't. In other words, an argument over the meaning of the word 'direct', nothing more. (As far as the multiple-emails: It happened, and now that I'm back here, I expect it'll happen again.)
Last edited by yourguy; 02-11-2013 at 04:17 PM.
02-11-2013, 07:34 PM #13
I'll post one of your comments from youtube 'Squats without -much- jump training -won't- increase jumps. We -can- determine that -you'll- be stronger according to muscle -you- add. We can't compare 2 different people because there are so many genetic variables in muscle tissue, CNS max% of activation, limb proportions, tendon's points of insertion, pain tolerance, motivation, etc etc etc etc, BUT, if one of two identical twin trains to add muscle, he WILL be stronger than the other in DIRECT correlation between size and strength.'.
And another '1/You started the jump thread. 2/ I NEVER said getting ''x bigger" was the -only- way to get "x stronger"! Getting "x stronger" can be due to many reasons. Just waking up one morning & realizing you haven't been trying your hardest can lead to a major strength improvement. BUT, if/when you DO get "x bigger" you WILL BE "x stronger". This is what a direct correlation is.'
And another 'Direct correlation is the term, & the truth. Proportionate? Did I use that term? No. You add muscle, you get stronger = direct correlation. We each have our own unique proportion of muscle to strength, (due to the many other factors I've repeatedly mentioned), but: Add a unit of muscle, get your unique unit stronger; add another, get stronger again: DIRECT. And you're dead wrong about identical twins: The more muscular twin will always have the stronger muscles.'
And Another 'CNS efficiency is genetically locked in. Training the CNS applies only to each specific movement you train: ie: Skill. Thus a skinny guy who has high efficiency CNS & applies it to a bench press will be stronger than a muscular guy who never benches and has a low efficiency CNS, THIS NOT THE POINT. Either one of them will have a DIRECT CORRELATION between how much muscle they add, and how much stronger they get. THAT'S WHAT DIRECT CORRELATION MEANS!'
Does anybody want to point out the contradictions and flaws in 'yourguy's' arguments?
But I am willing to ignore your bad usage of the word 'direct correlation', if you will admit that the person with the larger muscle mass won't always be stronger (even in identical twins).
Last edited by nicky_hansard; 02-11-2013 at 07:40 PM.
02-12-2013, 12:22 AM #14
While I stand by each statement I made, my original post was that you'll have a stronger muscle every time that muscle grows bigger. The only argument I see is that you don't think I use the word "direct" correctly. To that, I say, fine! Lets disagree forever on what "direct" means, & focus on the reality of I'm trying to convey. (All other issues were, well, other issues, which we can discuss afterwards if you wish.) Check youtube: I never said the person with larger muscles is the stronger of two, I said that each person who adds muscle will be stronger than previously, WITH ONE EXCEPTION: Identical twins at birth, have, (& if they have identical training, diet, & health throughout life: -continue- to have), identical strength & identical muscle size. That's what identical is. If one twin has larger muscles than the other, whether due to strength training / bodybuilding / weightlifting / dietary differences / or sickness, YES, the more muscular identical twin WILL be stronger than the less muscular.
Last edited by yourguy; 02-12-2013 at 12:31 AM.c'ya!
02-12-2013, 05:27 AM #15
I suggest you research 'Myofibril hypertrophy' and 'Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy'. One results in a much larger but not necessarily stronger muscle, the other results in a much stronger but not necessarily larger muscle. I admit they overlap but depending on how you train the ratio between the two will differ. Which is why a twin without as much muscle, might be stronger. You cannot deny this. I'm willing to ignore that you don't understand the meaning of direct correlation but you are wrong about this.
Last edited by nicky_hansard; 02-12-2013 at 05:36 AM.
02-12-2013, 05:38 AM #16
02-12-2013, 07:02 AM #17
02-12-2013, 07:08 AM #18
1/A hydrated muscle -is- stronger than a dehydrated muscle. 2/ATP stores don't -cause- added size, but they're available in larger amounts -to- the larger, stronger muscle. 3/Capillary density goes -down- as a muscle enlarges & strengthens. 4/Fat isn't muscle. I'm referring to size of the actual muscle, not the -appearance- of the limbs due to inflammation, bloating, fat, implants, synthol, or any non-muscular material. 5/It's genetic: Many successful powerlifters discovered their strength via bodybuilding, soon realizing their genetics make them strong but not aesthetic. Many successful bodybuilders began as powerlifters whose profound physique improvements out-stripped their strength gains. Only afterwards did they specialize. If one twin powerlifts, & the other bodybuilds, they'll end up with the same size & strength muscles if they train the same muscles. The power-twin be better at powerlifting, but the bodybuilder will be better at the lifts he practices. Each could excel at the others' specialty after a very short adaptation. 6/You can't train for -only- sarcoplasm. You train by lifting more weight over time; getting stronger. Any bit of sarcoplasm -always- comes with myofibrills too, thus any time your muscle gets bigger, it's become stronger. The ratio is genetic, not trained; thus twin's muscles will be equally strong if they're equally large. Each twin will be stronger at the exercises he trains with. (Keep in mind that our "twin debate" is somewhat of a sidetrack, the primary issue a single individual adding muscle, thus getting stronger.)
Last edited by yourguy; 02-12-2013 at 09:08 AM.c'ya!
02-12-2013, 07:12 AM #19
02-12-2013, 07:13 AM #20
- Join Date: Apr 2012
- Location: London, Greater London, United Kingdom (Great Britain)
- Posts: 2,649
- Rep Power: 1230
Arguments with YT specialists are a big no no. Doesn't lead anywhere. I've been through it. Even if you give them evidence they're so attached to their belief that they take it personally if you attack it. Just as if you were talking **** about their mother lol.
While there is a certain degree between strength and size (especially in beginner stages) it isn't exact. You could be tiny and pulling some heavy weights or big and pretty weak. Too many variables both in terms of physiology and training type.Getting me some gains
Lifting log http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=154103&p=103762993#post10302993
My lifting gear part 1 (bodysolid power rack, bench, lat attachment) http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=1509633
My lifting gear part 2 (bodypower weights, texas power bar) http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=151184793&p=1011390903#post10110903
02-12-2013, 07:49 AM #21
(The only thing I might have taken personally was when I was called an idiot, but I didn't.) I assume that you guys agree with what I -actually- posted, because you keep arguing against things I -never- said. In response to MikeKK's examples above: Of course! A tiny guy might be stronger than a big guy, but they will each get stronger if they each gain muscle, or to be more clear; the muscles that get larger will be stronger. I understand the "direct" part of correlation to mean "every time", Nicky believes it means "exactly the same every time". We agree to disagree. (As far as twins, CNS, specificity, skill etc etc etc; they're all relevant, but all just a little bit off topic in this case.) Let me re-phrase my primary point with more clarity: Every time a single individual's muscles become larger, those muscles will also have become stronger. Does anyone really disagree with that? I believe that's a direct correlation, but if you disagree with the term, it's only semantics.
Last edited by yourguy; 02-12-2013 at 08:40 AM.c'ya!
02-12-2013, 10:20 AM #22
I don't need anything clarified and everything was clear, that doesn't mean you didn't contradict yourself and make irrelevant and frankly irritating points. I will provide examples below - you didn't answer about if English is your original language?
'Identical twins at birth, have, (& if they have identical training, diet, & health throughout life: -continue- to have), identical strength & identical muscle size. That's what identical is. If one twin has larger muscles than the other, whether due to strength training / bodybuilding / weightlifting / dietary differences / or sickness, YES, the more muscular identical twin WILL be stronger than the less muscular.'
Why did you feel the need to point out 'that's what identical is', it was a pointless and irritating comment because that had nothing to do with the debate... Besides identical twins aren't always born the exact same size and weight.
This comment on youtube 'I NEVER said getting ''x bigger" was the -only- way to get "x stronger"! Getting "x stronger" can be due to many reasons. Just waking up one morning & realizing you haven't been trying your hardest can lead to a major strength improvement. BUT, if/when you DO get "x bigger" you WILL BE "x stronger". This is what a direct correlation is.'
One second you disagree with me saying being x bigger means you will be x stronger and you back that up by saying getting stronger can be due to many reasons (which I agree with) but than you say the exact opposite, being x bigger WILL make you x stronger.
'We -can- determine that -you'll- be stronger according to muscle -you- add'
Than you say this 'We don't need to measure the force of the punch, we don't need to measure the amount of blood lost, we don't need to compare one punch to another, or one bleeding to another, and we don't need to consider other conditions that influence 'B's chances for his nose to bleed.'
You argue it is a direct correlation because you can determine how strong somebody will be based on how much muscle they add (which I disagree with but anyhow) but than you say it's a direct correlation simply because one effects the other. Your arguments don't make any logical sense because you're arguing that direct correlation is two different things.
'We each have our own unique proportion of muscle to strength, (due to the many other factors I've repeatedly mentioned), but: Add a unit of muscle, get your unique unit stronger; add another, get stronger again'
Which means it doesn't matter if it is twins or not because than all we would have to do is work out a persons unique muscle size/strength unit and we can work out who is actually stronger.
'CNS efficiency is genetically locked in. Training the CNS applies only to each specific movement you train: ie: Skill. Thus a skinny guy who has high efficiency CNS & applies it to a bench press will be stronger than a muscular guy who never benches and has a low efficiency CNS'
If CNS efficiency is locked in how can the CNS be trained?
'but they will each get stronger if they each gain muscle, or to be more clear; the muscles that get larger will be stronger'
You aren't making that more clear you're making two different points.
'(As far as twins, CNS, specificity, skill etc etc etc; they're relevant, but all a bit off topic in this case.)'
How is that off topic when you specifically stated that a larger muscle equals a stronger person but you just stated CNS and specificity are relevant even in twins, like you just said. That's exactly what we're arguing about.
'I assume that you guys agree with what I -actually- posted, because you keep arguing against things I -never- said'
In your last post you completely ignored the key points of MikeKK's comment and try to twist his words to agree with yours. You took the part you could use and ignored the rest of his comment. You didn't try to refute that training type plays a role in strength and you didn't provide any information, you just restated what you believe and he clearly says that training type plays a role in the strength of a muscle which is obviously in reference to your belief that if the muscle size is the same than strength must be the same in identical people. So how can you assume he agrees with you?
02-12-2013, 10:23 AM #23
02-12-2013, 10:28 AM #24
- Join Date: Jan 2007
- Location: Ipswich, Suffolk, United Kingdom (Great Britain)
- Posts: 36,167
- Rep Power: 1108234
02-12-2013, 12:01 PM #25
1/Whatever you think is "very little" nonetheless makes muscle stronger.2/You have it backwards, a bigger muscle can store more ATP. Aside from that, ATP makes a muscle stronger.3/ The means by which endurance exercise increases capillary density is largely due to the muscle actually getting -smaller-. 4/Intramuscular fat is not muscle. Are we having another semantic argument? Do i really need to say 'mass' of the muscle instead of 'size' to make you happy? 5/Maximum potential muscle size is genetic. 6/Just because a muscle "can't function' without something doesn't make the other thing muscle. Muscle can't function without the skeleton either. 6/You're mistaken, there's no such documentation. 7/They change to: A/Focus on their skill of lifting heavy singles in three specific exercises, & B/To further balance the physique's proportions. 8/Because you implied that muscle size can increase without strength due to sarcoplasm, which is untrue, because myofibrillar will always come along. i continued to say that sarco/myo proportions are not due to training differences, discounting those few minutes after a pump.entually. 9/Olympic coaches focus on specific skills, and the muscles needed to carry out those skills. Getting your biceps to be in perfect proportion to your triceps isn't their concern. Prime Ron Coleman is stronger at any exercise he practices than any Olympic lifter who doesn't practice the same exercise. 10/MikeKK's example compared a strong small man to a weak big man, which has nothing to do with my point.
11/if I can let being called an idiot roll off my back, you should be able get over your irritation.
i'm taking a breakc'ya!
02-12-2013, 11:16 PM #26
02-12-2013, 11:23 PM #27
Every single website/study I have come across says that strength isn't determined solely by muscle size and that a bigger muscle doesn't necessarily mean a stronger one. Do you have any evidence to refute this, or are you simply going to argue with the same points without evidence until I give up? Provide at least one study and/or website that backs up your claims. Until than it goes against logic, scientific findings and years of experience that people have developed.
Sorting through your comments is really starting to make my head hurt.
02-12-2013, 11:50 PM #28
02-12-2013, 11:51 PM #29
02-13-2013, 12:56 AM #30
- Join Date: Jan 2007
- Location: Ipswich, Suffolk, United Kingdom (Great Britain)
- Posts: 36,167
- Rep Power: 1108234
Super fast twitch fibers exist. Olympic standard sprinters and similar athletes often have them in much higher than usual concentrations than regular people. It's possible his strength (or at least relative strength) was pretty high due to this.