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  1. #1
    Registered User new_trainer's Avatar
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    Hard Muscle v Soft Muscle

    Hi

    Some of my friends have hard bicep muscles (hard to the touch ... typically these guys like to go round pointing at their biceps saying "feel that ... see ... like a rock") and there are guys who can press their finger into their bicep because it is a lot softer. Yet, often there seems to be no strength difference between the two. Both can lift very similar weights in bicep curls etc ... and both seem to have very similar bodyfat levels.

    Is it possible to build hard muscle ... or to harden existing muscle?

    I don't think it has to do with removing fat as the muscle tissue itself is in question here, regardless of how much fat is surrounding it. For instance, I suspect sumo wrestlers have very hard and dense quads underneath all those layers of fatty tissue whereas many guys with low skin-fat have marshmallow where the muscle should be.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by new_trainer; 11-30-2005 at 10:36 AM.
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  2. #2
    Registered User new_trainer's Avatar
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    *bump*
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  3. #3
    Registered User cunniff81's Avatar
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    Would like to know this also.

    There was a thread started a while ago but nothing actually was answered, so common give us an answer.
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  4. #4
    it's a joke, really all_hail_islam's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by new_trainer
    Hi

    Some of my friends have hard bicep muscles (hard to the touch ... typically these guys like to go round pointing at their biceps saying "feel that ... see ... like a rock") and there are guys who can press their finger into their bicep because it is a lot softer. Yet, often there seems to be no strength difference between the two. Both can lift very similar weights in bicep curls etc ... and both seem to have very similar bodyfat levels.

    Is it possible to build hard muscle ... or to harden existing muscle?

    I don't think it has to do with removing fat as the muscle tissue itself is in question here, regardless of how much fat is surrounding it. For instance, I suspect sumo wrestlers have very hard and dense quads underneath all those layers of fatty tissue whereas many guys with low skin-fat have marshmallow where the muscle should be.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks.
    imo, to get harder biceps you must do high reps to tone it, plus lots and lots of cardio to cut the overall fat level down
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  5. #5
    Registered User cunniff81's Avatar
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    He is basically asking how he can increase his muscle density.
    High reps is for muscle endurance, and there isn't such thing as tone.
    I can only think that it has something to do with doing 1-5reps. Cause a person can lift for power and get stronger but not really get bigger. But inturn to lift heavier and heavier something has to happen to your muscle for it to get stronger, and the only thing I can think that if it doesn't grow it must become more dense.

    Is this plausable?
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  6. #6
    Knee deep in oats image101's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by cunniff81
    He is basically asking how he can increase his muscle density.
    High reps is for muscle endurance, and there isn't such thing as tone.
    I can only think that it has something to do with doing 1-5reps. Cause a person can lift for power and get stronger but not really get bigger. But inturn to lift heavier and heavier something has to happen to your muscle for it to get stronger, and the only thing I can think that if it doesn't grow it must become more dense.

    Is this plausable?
    I never really thought about that idea, but I suppose it might make sense.
    In my experience, the difference between "hard" and "soft" muscle is the amount of intramuscular matter inside them: glycogen and water being the two main ones. Ever reduced your carb intake? Or taken sesathin? Both reduce intramuscular glycogen, resulting in soft muscles. Ever do a carb load? Result: harder muscles, as they are full of glycogen. Every gram of carbohydrate in the muscle also requires H20 (4 grams, I believe), so more carbs+more water=full muscles.
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  7. #7
    Registered User cunniff81's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by image101
    I never really thought about that idea, but I suppose it might make sense.
    In my experience, the difference between "hard" and "soft" muscle is the amount of intramuscular matter inside them: glycogen and water being the two main ones. Ever reduced your carb intake? Or taken sesathin? Both reduce intramuscular glycogen, resulting in soft muscles. Ever do a carb load? Result: harder muscles, as they are full of glycogen. Every gram of carbohydrate in the muscle also requires H20 (4 grams, I believe), so more carbs+more water=full muscles.
    This sounds a lot more scientific than my response. Sounds quite good too.
    I will have to check this out when I am off my cutting diet and start to bulk again.
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  8. #8
    it's a joke, really all_hail_islam's Avatar
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    hmm...no one seems to listen to me. k yo, me and my friend started out with the EXACT same body types last year. i trained for mass which consisted mostly of 6-8 reps, while he did pyramid sets (ex. 12-10-8-6) with a VERY controlled and slow handle on the weight. im MUCH bigger than him now but this guys muscle is so fking ripped that his whole body is rock hard. im telling you through experience, these are the ways how you gain hard and soft muscle. if you dont want to listen and listen to all these scientific facts people are giving you, go ahead. im just saying that this is my experience.
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  9. #9
    nurse nick skinnyme's Avatar
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    vitamin C intake could play a very important part in the hardness of a muscle. Vit C is used as collagen, which is the substance that connects your muscle fibers together, kindof like a cement or something. Muscle fibers may grow, but you need to increase the amount of collagen too. Muscle fibers are only hard when contracted.
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  10. #10
    crunk 404gb30044's Avatar
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    vitamin c? wow.
    "diet today kicked ass.. had steak and oatmeal for breakfast lol..." - Twisted Steal

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  11. #11
    Banned Blue Merle's Avatar
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    if you work out for a long time and don't supplement correctly, you may get stronger and more dense, then, if you add protein and calories you will start to grow...that is what my experiences have shown
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  12. #12
    Put It Overhead Mr Lee's Avatar
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    Heres a simple explanation. There are to types of muscle growth. Myofibrillar hypertrophy and Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. Myofibrillar (enlargement of the muscle fibre) is dense, strong muscle obtained from lifting heavy weights. Sarcoplasmic(increase in the volume of the muscle cell fluid) is bloated, soft muscle obtained from light weight, high rep training.
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  13. #13
    gotta can VanKid's Avatar
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    It has something to do with ur training. i always thought hard muscles r stronger as they r tougher. like my chest is still soft and my pecs will be sore after a hardcore workout but my arms, rock hard dont get sore ever. so harder muscles r exactly what they seem to be: stronger
    Im a nutbag and have a screw loose but im sstill not as bad as you
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  14. #14
    Registered User dohste's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Mr Lee View Post
    Heres a simple explanation. There are to types of muscle growth. Myofibrillar hypertrophy and Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. Myofibrillar (enlargement of the muscle fibre) is dense, strong muscle obtained from lifting heavy weights. Sarcoplasmic(increase in the volume of the muscle cell fluid) is bloated, soft muscle obtained from light weight, high rep training.
    I was going to say pretty much the same thing.

    So basically if you want hard, dense muscle then heavy weight low reps (I've read 5reps and lower, but I'm sure this also changes a bit person to person). And if you're looking purely for size then I think the 8ish rep range is normally recommended.

    I'd suggest a combination of both. This is why @all_hail_islam I expect you're friend had the type results you mentioned. He got in both myofibrillar hypertrophy and sarcoplasmic as well, whilst you stayed in the sarcoplasmic range.

    I'm presently doing a full body routine 3 times a week and I basically start with reps of about 10 and increase the weight and decrease the reps as needed every session. I continue this till I get down to 4/5 reps and then do that for 2 weeks (so 6 sessions), increasing the weight if I can. Then deload for 2 weeks and start over. But there are many programs out there that try getting both in, the pyramid style is another nice one...
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    Originally Posted by Mr Lee View Post
    Heres a simple explanation. There are to types of muscle growth. Myofibrillar hypertrophy and Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. Myofibrillar (enlargement of the muscle fibre) is dense, strong muscle obtained from lifting heavy weights. Sarcoplasmic(increase in the volume of the muscle cell fluid) is bloated, soft muscle obtained from light weight, high rep training.
    Thanks for that
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    Registered User Tpalm42's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Mr Lee View Post
    Heres a simple explanation. There are to types of muscle growth. Myofibrillar hypertrophy and Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. Myofibrillar (enlargement of the muscle fibre) is dense, strong muscle obtained from lifting heavy weights. Sarcoplasmic(increase in the volume of the muscle cell fluid) is bloated, soft muscle obtained from light weight, high rep training.
    what you said has to be baclwards, im a skinny guy so i train low reps lifting as heavy as possible always. never go above 8 usually stay under 6 reps. and my muscles are soft. it actually makes sense that training dexterity would cause rock hard muscles, because they are not growing in size, just getting dense as **** and gaining strength.
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