Most athletes and people want to develop size with the strength and performance to back it up.
A great, powerful look with real word strength, speed and conditioning.
In addition, having tons of energy and feeling great all the time is something everyone wants.
Unless you are strictly a physique athlete and your goal is to become a professional bodybuilder or physique competitor.
Now, you might be asking yourself what the difference is. There is actually a huge difference between just looking great and looking great with the performance to back up your look.
I would first like to preface this post by saying I respect the hell out of any physique athlete. What they do takes a ton of hard work and discipline.
This post is not intended to “knock’ them in the slightest bit. If your goal is to be a pro bodybuilder then by all means, keep doing what you’re doing.
But at my facility, we train mainly athletes and people that want to look great but also need and want to perform at a high level.
So with that said, let’s get into the differences.
GET STRONG BABY!
Getting strong means training with heavy weights for sets between 1-5 or 6-8reps. When you train for strength you will be targeting more of the fast twitched muscle fibers.
Fast twitched fibers are the muscle fibers responsible for strength, speed and power.
When you train mainly to target these fibers with heavy weights in the rep ranges listed above, you will stimulate what is called myofibrillar hypertrophy.
Myofibrillar hypertrophy is the growth of the actual muscle fibers.
So when you train with heavier weights in lower rep ranges, you will get stronger while simultaneously developing the size of the actual muscle.
If you are a natural, drug-free lifter, this is the number one way to get jacked.
ALL SHOW NO GO
Now if you’re training with lighter weights for higher rep sets of 10-20, you are emphasizing more of what’s known as sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.
Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is the production of sarcoplasm within the muscles.
This is a gel like substance that serves no purpose for strength or performance, but will however help increase the size of the muscle.
The size you develop with this type of hypertrophy is not nearly as sustainable as myofibrillar hypertrophy due to the fact that the actual muscle has not gotten bigger. You have just produced more fluid within the muscle that could eventually subside.
That’s why there are guys half the size of bodybuilders lifting twice the weight.
Look at Olympic lifters for instance. They are not as big as bodybuilders but look incredible and are exceedingly stronger than the world’s biggest physique competitors.
Bodybuilders and other physique athletes prefer training in this manner simply due to the fact that their primary focus is their look.
TYING THE TWO TOGETHER
I will say that there is a time and a place for both.
If you have been training for more than 2 years it is important to emphasize the slow twitched muscle fibers that are responsible for conditioning.
The best way to target the slow twitched fibers is by training with lighter weight for higher reps.
Still, the primary focus of your training should be getting stronger on big compound movements like squats and deadlifts, it’s important to throw in some back off sets (sets where you reduce weight and go for more reps) of 10-15.
With that, you can train some of the smaller musculature for higher reps as well like the rear delts.
If you are still in your first year or two of training, just stick with heavier weights for lower reps.
We all want to look great with our shirts off, and the best way to do that is to train with the intention of getting stronger and more powerful.
If you are an athlete, sarcoplasm is just as useless for performance as body fat.
Since there is no functional purpose, it can actually slow you down due to the extra weight you gained.
With that, training for higher reps with lighter weight will actually make you sorer, and will lead to more systemic fatigue.
I don’t know about you but I sure as hell don’t want to be sore and tired every day.
And for athletes that can greatly impede your performance in your sport.
I hope this post helps you see the difference.
If you are an athlete, police officer, firefighter or anyone that just wants to look great and still be able to play pick-up basketball on the weekend with your friends, training for strength is what you want to do.
Train hard my friends.
I’ll catch you guys next week.