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  1. #1
    Registered User PumpItUp4Real's Avatar
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    Size vs. Strength - Powerlifters

    This one guy in my gym the other day told me he performed in powerlifting competitions (hes about 5 10 175 pounds) and I thought to myself "ha, I could outlift this guy anyday of the week."

    I am 5 foot 10, 195 pounds and have a bodybuilders type of body (in other words I lift for mass).

    So I see this guy last night squatting 405 pounds for reps of 8!!!!

    How is this possible that he doesn't grow if he is able to squat this much weight and is only 170 pounds?
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  2. #2
    Banned Arlecchino's Avatar
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    Improved CNS conditioning for maximal motor unit recruitment, increased rate of force developement. Increased inter- and intra muscular coordination, etc.

    Years of training can produce a far greater level of skill that translates into improved strength. Hypertrophy is just one aspect of getting stronger.
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  3. #3
    Assministrator igo4bmx's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Arlecchino View Post
    Improved CNS conditioning for maximal motor unit recruitment, increased rate of force developement. Increased inter- and intra muscular coordination, etc.

    Years of training can produce a far greater level of skill that translates into improved strength. Hypertrophy is just one aspect of getting stronger.
    perfect answer lol
    Performing 1 REP box squats on the toilet 3 times a day.
    Eating to gain weight requires you to eat enough that when you burp you throw up in your mouth a little- me on how i went from 180 to 270
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  4. #4
    Climbing the ladder Justin Khan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Arlecchino View Post
    Improved CNS conditioning for maximal motor unit recruitment, increased rate of force developement. Increased inter- and intra muscular coordination, etc.

    Years of training can produce a far greater level of skill that translates into improved strength. Hypertrophy is just one aspect of getting stronger.
    I learned something!
    I beat you, you, and you!
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  5. #5
    Banned Arlecchino's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by igo4bmx View Post
    perfect answer lol
    <blush>
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  6. #6
    Online PT/Nutritionist chrisoldcorn's Avatar
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    Strength and Weight/Size are not equal. If they were, there would be no need for powerlifting or olympic weightlifting competitions because everyone in each weight class would basically lift the same.
    Bye For Now,

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    How big of a fool did you feel like?

    Kidding, mostly, but there are some serious lifts being performed by some guys that you wouldn't guess could do it.

    After being around powerlifters you learn to never judge a book by its cover.
    I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor. -- Thoreau
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  8. #8
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    Originally Posted by PumpItUp4Real View Post
    This one guy in my gym the other day told me he performed in powerlifting competitions (hes about 5 10 175 pounds) and I thought to myself "ha, I could outlift this guy anyday of the week."

    I am 5 foot 10, 195 pounds and have a bodybuilders type of body (in other words I lift for mass).

    So I see this guy last night squatting 405 pounds for reps of 8!!!!

    How is this possible that he doesn't grow if he is able to squat this much weight and is only 170 pounds?
    The answer is simple. It's because you're weak and he's strong.

    /end ego
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  9. #9
    kracht whore lifterg's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by PumpItUp4Real View Post
    This one guy in my gym the other day told me he performed in powerlifting competitions (hes about 5 10 175 pounds) and I thought to myself "ha, I could outlift this guy anyday of the week."

    I am 5 foot 10, 195 pounds and have a bodybuilders type of body (in other words I lift for mass).

    So I see this guy last night squatting 405 pounds for reps of 8!!!!

    How is this possible that he doesn't grow if he is able to squat this much weight and is only 170 pounds?
    As one of those guys (littl PLers), I want to offer you props.
    You asked how was it possible without asking if he did drugs, saying he was cheating or making excuses for yourself.

    Way too many people let getting their ego bruised interfere with actually learning something.
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  10. #10
    One Man Wrecking Crew offroadxj9's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Arlecchino View Post
    Improved CNS conditioning for maximal motor unit recruitment, increased rate of force developement. Increased inter- and intra muscular coordination, etc.

    Years of training can produce a far greater level of skill that translates into improved strength. Hypertrophy is just one aspect of getting stronger.
    jesus. reps
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  11. #11
    Registered User seanathan's Avatar
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    hey, if strength training made you big, i'd look like jay cutler. power and size is different. i personally prefer power.
    a reference to me lifting: 'a stick-figure lifting boulders.'
    5'8" 140, i'm "compact" otherwise i would be like 160-169.
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  12. #12
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    They are not "completely" unreleated though. You do need a strong muscular base to Maximize CNS efficiency.
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  13. #13
    In Ferum Veritas jude-o's Avatar
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    Well, I hate to interrupt all the praising...but he's wrong.

    Powerlifters can have stronger, smaller muscles because the tiny protein myofibers that actually do the contracting (generate power) are only part of the contents of a muscle. The rest of the muscle consists of supporting 'stuff'...like glycogen (sugar) reserves, blood vessels, mitochondria (to convert food molecules to usable energy), etc.

    Because powerlifters are very hard on their myofibers, they develop more myofibers. This produces both strength and size, but emphasizes strength.

    Endurance athletes (like marathon runners) severely tax the 'supporting' stuff (blood vessels, etc.), so they get more of that 'stuff' (sarcoplasmic hypertrophy). This produces endurance and some size, but little additional strength.

    Bodybuilders, who worship size above all else, use a balanced aproach, challenging both strength (to produce growth of the myfibers) but also pressing their endurance limits (to promote growth of the supporting stuff as well.) The result is a compromise; less endurance than the marathon runner, less strength than the powerlifter, but more muscle SIZE than either.

    So, the reason powerlifters can have freaky strength without huge muscles is simply because their lifting routines produce a somewhat different muscle composition than a bodybuilding routine does, maximizing peak strength but compromising endurance and total size.

    CNS adaptation has little to do with it. Sure, increasing skill will raise your lift numbers...but not by that much.
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  14. #14
    Banned Arlecchino's Avatar
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    Actually my post was tremendously incomplete because I am working on a epic length post on the subject. Hence the skill and numerous other factors.

    Skill was also the catch-all for mechanical advantage caused by technique. Where the wider stance low bar technique favored by powerlifters can allow for significant increases in weight secondary to mechanical advantage.

    Discussing things such as the BB'ers ability to capitalize on things such as sacromplasmic hypertrophy vs. the PL'ers desire to avoid it (or the fact that they should desire to avoid it), as well as training routines which may or may not stress the different types of fibers (most notably MHC isoforms, etc.) will be the subject of a post that I will porbably complete tomorrow, as I wasted most of today on paperwork for work, when I should have been enjoying myself.

    Good post, btw.
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  15. #15
    Registered User GDA's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jude-o View Post
    Because powerlifters are very hard on their myofibers, they develop more myofibers.
    this is being debated by greater minds than ours.

    Endurance athletes (like marathon runners) severely tax the 'supporting' stuff (blood vessels, etc.), so they get more of that 'stuff' (sarcoplasmic hypertrophy). This produces endurance and some size, but little additional strength.
    no sir. due to their training, endurance atheletes will increase the amount of capillaries surrounding muscle fibers, and they will also increase the amount of mitochondria within them, which make for more efficient muscle metabolisim and endurance, but this is not sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. per joe defranco, "Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is an increase in the volume of the non-contractile muscle cell fluid, sarcoplasm. This fluid accounts for 25-30% of the muscle?s size. Although the cross sectional area of the muscle increases, the density of muscle fibers per unit area decreases, and there is no increase in muscular strength (2). This type of hypertrophy is mainly a result of high rep, ?bodybuilder-type? training"

    CNS adaptation has little to do with it. Sure, increasing skill will raise your lift numbers...but not by that much.
    skill and cns adaptation are not the same. your cns can adapt and make you stronger at a poorly performed lift.
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  16. #16
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    Reading this thread made smarter......


    Hopefully Ill get bigger and stronger now too
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  17. #17
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    Question

    Originally Posted by Arlecchino View Post
    .

    Discussing things such as the BB'ers ability to capitalize on things such as sacromplasmic hypertrophy vs. the PL'ers desire to avoid it (or the fact that they should desire to avoid it), .
    Powerlifters should avoid it? Why? I'd think it'd just add more leverage......
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  18. #18
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    Originally Posted by RU4A69 View Post
    Powerlifters should avoid it? Why? I'd think it'd just add more leverage......
    It will... but by the same token it will also drive your weight up, so it just depends on your individual goals.
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  19. #19
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    because low reps dont stimulate muscle growth as much as high reps. ull get stronger on lower reps at heavy weights though. which is why if u dont compete as a bodybuilder or powerlifter its good to have a mix of low rep and high rep workouts.

    cliffs:

    low reps and heavy weights=more strength, less muscle

    high reps and lighter weights=more muscle, less strength
    Last edited by jaketheburnout; 10-21-2007 at 12:09 AM.
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  20. #20
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    Does anybody agree that high volume produces high degree of muscle growth nevertheless? 8 singles vs 10*3 for example.
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    Originally Posted by Squinky View Post
    Does anybody agree that high volume produces high degree of muscle growth nevertheless? 8 singles vs 10*3 for example.
    Higher volume in the context of a properly designed program will likely be more conducive to size gains than lower volume, yes.

    That's not to say going in and doing twenty pump sets every time you workout is getting your 'volume' in the proper and effective fashioin.

    The following is a good example of a gross overgeneralization, unfortunately it also represents the depth of understanding of a loooot of the posters here.

    Originally Posted by jaketheburnout View Post
    low reps and heavy weights=more strength, less muscle

    high reps and lighter weights=more muscle, less strength
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    Registered User GDA's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by RU4A69 View Post
    Powerlifters should avoid it? Why? I'd think it'd just add more leverage......
    he gets into that a little in that article actually ...this immediately followed my other quote:

    http://www.strengthcats.com/JDallmusclesnotequal.htm
    One of the biggest problems I see with the training of power athletes (football players, baseball players, basketball players, wrestlers and even powerlifters) is too much emphasis on training in the 10 ? 15 rep range. This type of training has its place, yet should not be the focal point for these athletes. For example, most football lineman benefit from added bulk to prevent from getting pushed around on the field. ?Bodybuilding? methods, using these rep ranges, can be beneficial if incorporated during the season to prevent muscle mass loss, as well as after the season to add bulk, which may have been lost during the season. Also, there is some scientific evidence that states a bigger muscle may have a better chance of becoming a stronger muscle once maximal strength training methods are employed. The key to remember is that this type of hypertrophy has little to do with such explosive movements as hitting, running, throwing, jumping or performing a one-rep max. This is why professional bodybuilders, whose training mainly hypertrophies the Type IIA fibers and causes an increase in the non-contractile components of the muscle (sarcoplasmic volume, capillary density, and mitochondria proliferation) are not the fastest or even the strongest of all athletes. This is despite the fact that they generally have more muscle than any other class of athlete! I consider this type of hypertrophy to be form over function.
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    Originally Posted by Kiknskreem View Post
    Higher volume in the context of a properly designed program will likely be more conducive to size gains than lower volume, yes.

    That's not to say going in and doing twenty pump sets every time you workout is getting your 'volume' in the proper and effective fashioin.

    The following is a good example of a gross overgeneralization, unfortunately it also represents the depth of understanding of a loooot of the posters here.
    how is what i said not true, thats why bodybuilders have more muscle and powerlifters are stronger but not as muscular. low reps at heavy weights all the time-powerlifting training will produce strength but muscle wont grow as much as bodybuilding training-high reps at lower weights.
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    Registered User GDA's Avatar
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    he didnt say you were wrong, just that such statements are overgeneralizations. by definition a generalization holds truth value, but it only scratches the surface of the issue. what your saying isnt wrong, but at advanced levels there's a lot more to it that i admittedly know very little about. if you look at programs like smolov and sheiko, they play with volume and intensity in very distinct and particular ways to increase strength. 4 sets of 9 once a week is hardly low rep, but its an important part of smolov. also, sheiko may work with lots of tipples, but the intensity is relatively low, and the volume is ridiculous when you add it up. again ... im talking out of my ass a little here, but i believe this is the tip of the iceberg. if im off base may someone smack my ass down.
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    Keto FTMFW! Uriel_da_man's Avatar
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    It's myofibrils for the record.

    And powerlifters are generally stronger pound for pound because they have far more CNS conditioning (from training their lifts more often) and more fast twitch fiber size (type IIx), especially in their lift-specific muscles (lower and middle pecs and front delts, triceps, posterior chain).

    Bodybuilders are generally bigger for their maximal strength because they also have significant hypertrophy of slower twitching fibers from working in higher reps (which don't get as much carryover to maximal strength) and they have more sarcomasmic hypertrophy from working with more volume. Also bodybuilders "look" bigger than a powerlifter of the same size because of the different body proportions.
    It's UriEl btw

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    Originally Posted by jaketheburnout View Post
    how is what i said not true, thats why bodybuilders have more muscle and powerlifters are stronger but not as muscular. low reps at heavy weights all the time-powerlifting training will produce strength but muscle wont grow as much as bodybuilding training-high reps at lower weights.
    It is not untrue, but incomplete. Following your simplification, a lifter who does 1000 reps with an empty bar would end up with bigger legs than a lifter who does 10 reps with 300. So not incorrect, but incomplete.
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    Originally Posted by jude-o View Post
    Well, I hate to interrupt all the praising...but he's wrong.

    Powerlifters can have stronger, smaller muscles because the tiny protein myofibers that actually do the contracting (generate power) are only part of the contents of a muscle. The rest of the muscle consists of supporting 'stuff'...like glycogen (sugar) reserves, blood vessels, mitochondria (to convert food molecules to usable energy), etc.

    Because powerlifters are very hard on their myofibers, they develop more myofibers. This produces both strength and size, but emphasizes strength.

    Endurance athletes (like marathon runners) severely tax the 'supporting' stuff (blood vessels, etc.), so they get more of that 'stuff' (sarcoplasmic hypertrophy). This produces endurance and some size, but little additional strength.

    Bodybuilders, who worship size above all else, use a balanced aproach, challenging both strength (to produce growth of the myfibers) but also pressing their endurance limits (to promote growth of the supporting stuff as well.) The result is a compromise; less endurance than the marathon runner, less strength than the powerlifter, but more muscle SIZE than either.

    So, the reason powerlifters can have freaky strength without huge muscles is simply because their lifting routines produce a somewhat different muscle composition than a bodybuilding routine does, maximizing peak strength but compromising endurance and total size.

    CNS adaptation has little to do with it. Sure, increasing skill will raise your lift numbers...but not by that much.
    Look up "sarcoplasmic hypertrophy and try again.

    Originally Posted by GDA View Post
    this is being debated by greater minds than ours.



    no sir. due to their training, endurance atheletes will increase the amount of capillaries surrounding muscle fibers, and they will also increase the amount of mitochondria within them, which make for more efficient muscle metabolisim and endurance, but this is not sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. per joe defranco, "Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is an increase in the volume of the non-contractile muscle cell fluid, sarcoplasm. This fluid accounts for 25-30% of the muscle?s size. Although the cross sectional area of the muscle increases, the density of muscle fibers per unit area decreases, and there is no increase in muscular strength (2). This type of hypertrophy is mainly a result of high rep, ?bodybuilder-type? training"
    Actually, I would have to disagree with defranco. Sarcoplasm isn't just cell fluid. Cytosol is cell fluid. Sarcoplasm is the same as cytoplasm, wich includes cytosol and all cell organelles.
    So an increase in sarcoplasm also means an increase in, among others, mitochondria.
    It doesn't build strength, just more "fuel".
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    At the risk of sounding incredibly ignorant - would it be right to say powerlifters' muscles are generally more dense than bodybuilders'?

    e.g. would Scot Mendelson's pecs feel much harder than Ronnie Coleman's (assuming he got down to a similar bodyfat).
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    Originally Posted by big_jon View Post
    At the risk of sounding incredibly ignorant - would it be right to say powerlifters' muscles are generally more dense than bodybuilders'?

    e.g. would Scot Mendelson's pecs feel much harder than Ronnie Coleman's (assuming he got down to a similar bodyfat).
    I don't think it'd make a visual difference (other than Coleman's being bigger of course).

    In terms of "hardness", it's usually accepted that it's simply a matter of muscle tone (the more fibers you have flexed while at rest the harder your muscle), and muscle tone is directly correlated with slow twitch fibers hypertrophy (since only the lowest threshold fibers are flexed when the muscle is "relaxed") so while a powerlifter or an olympic lifter might have a higher myofibril/sarcoplasm hypertrophy ratio, he'll have less hypertrophy of slow twitch fibers and therefore less muscle tone, so things kind of even eachother out.
    It's UriEl btw

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    I just don't know anymore MoGeaYuglay's Avatar
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    let's not forget the influence of food here folks.

    maybe this guy wants to compete in a lower weight class so he has to really watch/reduce his caloric intake to keep himself there and neural adaption comes into play here anyways. small powerlifters who lift amazing poundages do this all the time.

    now, have that guy eat tons of protein, eat excess calories to gain size, and you're gonna get a big muscular guy if he's pushing heavier weights.

    food people, food.
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