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Building Muscle Vs Building Strength – What’s the Difference?


Many of us, especially us guys, decide to
take on the illustrious goal of physical self-betterment in the hopes of building muscle. In turn, building muscle has the added benefit
of making us stronger… or so we’ve been told. The adage, the dude with the biggest muscles
should be able to lift the biggest weights. Now, there is some truth to that. Being stronger do, to an extent, require more
muscle, and having more muscle generally means more strength. Especially beginners, it’s a guarantee that
you will get stronger and bigger once you start lifting, since any type of extensive
muscle stimulation will invoke some degree of muscle hypertrophy and strength gains just
from the novelty of training itself. However, although it is unlikely to increase
one completely without the other, it is possible train specifically for one. Doing so would indeed improve one more than
the other due to some physiological differences in which will be discussing in this video. But before we do that, I want to give a quick
shoutout to my Patreon community. They were the ones that voted for this very
video topic to be made so thank you for the awesome suggestion. Also, if you haven’t checked out my Patreon
before, then this would be the perfect time to do so since I’ve essentially revamped
all of the rewards I’m offering. Now, along with voting and suggesting video
topics, everyone pledging just a dollar or more can get full access to hang out and ask
me questions in our Patreon discord channels. I’m even offering drawing rewards where
your very own PictureFit-style avatar will be used in my videos. AND, on top of that, I’m adding rewards
I’ll personally ship TO you, like stickers and even PictureFit t-shirts I hand-crafted
myself. I’m really going to put a lot more effort
into making your pledge worthwhile in not only helping me continue to make content,
but also show my appreciation as best as I can. Once again, please come support PictureFit
through Patreon, if not for the new rewards, then at least to help me to continue delivering
you honest and objective health and fitness content, which unfortunately is too rare these
days on the internet. If anything, you simply sticking around and
watching my content already means a lot. So, thank you. Anyway, back to the topic. First, let’s dig a bit into strength adaptations. Strength gains derive heavily through the
creation of additional contractile protein, actin and myosi n, which increases total contraction. This is achieved through a sufficient training
stimulus, like lifting weights, and sufficient nutrient intake, like eating more protein. Strength can also dramatically increase, especially
in beginners, through simple practice. As all of us know, starting any new physical
skill isn’t easy and we often exert much more effort and energy to start out. Lifting weights is no different. As you become more efficient with your technique
and form in something like the squat, then you’ll be able to effectively squat much
heavier weights. There are also neuromuscular strength adaptations,
like increasing motor unit recruitment and rate coding, or the ability and rate in which
your nervous system signal your muscles to voluntarily contract. Consistent training can improve this as well. And lastly, there’s a matter of biomechanics,
which we won’t be able to fully analyze since it takes quite a bit of explanation
far past the scope of this topic. In short, there might be a biomechanical advantage
based on your body structure which influences things like moment arms and levers that can
impact the amount of force placed on any given load. Now, about muscle growth. Similar to strength gains, increasing contractile
proteins will also increase muscle size. This is known as myofibrillar hypertrophy. Another hypertrophy concept exists, however,
that supposedly benefit muscle size more so than strength. This is called sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, a
prevailing theory in which other non-contractile protein components, like fluids, glucose and
sarcoplasmic organelles, create a swelling effect that lead to larger muscles beyond
that of myofibrillar hypertrophy. Now, we don’t exactly know how sarcoplasmic
hypertrophy works and much of the current literature is quite convoluted. That being said, I would kindly refer you
to Greg Nuckols’ article on this matter, which I’ll link in the description, if you’re
interested in a more detailed analysis. But in short, specific training MIGHT, but
not for sure, increase sarcoplasmic hypertrophy and specific changes to the fiber itself,
like fiber diameter, thickness, and energy preference, which could impact muscle size
relative to strength. But again, a great deal of uncertainty exists
on this matter. But the one thing that is much more certain
is which training method suits which goal best. For muscle growth, undoubtedly the biggest
training focus will be total work volume. In the most basic sense, total work volume
is the amount of sets times the amount of reps time intensity, or the amount of weight
you lift. The goal would be to accumulate as much volume
as you reasonably can, and continue to increase volume session by session, week by week, and
so on. You can do so by adding more sets, more reps,
more intensity, or adjustments of all three. Typically, bodybuilders shoot for 3 to 5 sets
of 8 to 12 reps with a moderate intensity since it’s kind of a “sweet spot” for
accumulating volume at a relatively short amount of time. However, studies have shown that doing as
many as 100 reps per set or even just 2 to 5 reps per set, can indeed achieve similar
muscle gains as long as total volume was the same. Strength, however, relies on volume much less. By far the most important piece of the strength
puzzle, outside of practice, is simply intensity. In the same studies showing 100 reps achieving
similar muscle growth as 5-rep sets, the researchers also found that, in the case of strength,
the lower rep group, which worked with much higher intensities, achieved by far the highest
strength gains. One study also found that similar strength
gains in the squat and bench press can be achieved with just doing 1 single set compared
to doing 5 sets when both groups employed the same intensity. Simply put, if you want to be able to lift
heavier weights, then you have to train heavy. There’s really no way around it. Common strength programs would have you working
within het 85 to 100% 1-RM, with 1-RM being the maximum weight you can lift just once. Now, of course, most of us probably want to
get stronger and build muscle simultaneously. That’s where a solid and balanced program
comes in handy. Typically, that means finding a middle ground,
such as working with moderately heavy intensities while shooting for more volume, or splitting
your program to focus on one aspect at a time. If you need help figuring out what works best
for you, then please come check out our PictureFit discord community where many of our great
minds can help you out. Other than that, that’s about it as far
as differences of building strength versus building muscle. Ultimately, there are notable difference in
physiological sense, and in training, it comes down to intensity versus volume. Once again, shout-out to my Patreon members
for supporting me and voting for this topic. Also, a big specific shout-out to Encho Mishinev
for your generous pledge of $15 per month. Huge, huge thank you to you bud. Anyway, let me know your thoughts on building
strength versus building muscle in the comments below. If you enjoyed this video, then please give
it an intense thumbs up and share it with your volume-loving friends! As always, thank you for watching and GET
YOUR PROTEIN!

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