So many bodybuilders hit the gym with one goal—to get stronger. A stronger muscle is a bigger muscle, right? To a degree, yes.
Training a muscle to exert more force over time will thicken the myofibrils, the actin and myosin strands in the muscle fibers, but they’re not the only hypertrophic constituent. There’s also the sarcoplasm, the muscles’ energy fluid. More on that later. First, let’s talk about the idea of heavy training.
You Create Exceptional Size-building Power By Putting A Muscle Into A Full Stretch Against Challenging Resistance.
Attacking a muscle with heavy weights is important, but “heavy” is relative to you—and dependent on muscle fatigue. For example, you may struggle with 20 pounds on a certain exercise at the end of a bodypart workout, so 20 pounds is “heavy” for you on that exercise at that moment—and it maximally taxes your muscle strength.
Perhaps a better way to put it is that the weights you use must be “challenging” rather than “heavy.” And, yes, you should strive to increase them when possible, which may not be very often. If adding weight to exercises was easy and possible at every workout, everyone in the gym would be bench-pressing 800 pounds after a year of consistent workouts.
Also, let’s not forget that many big-bench pressers don’t have big, muscular pecs. There’s a lot more to building maximum mass than just getting stronger.
Heavy low-rep training primarily thickens the myofibrils, the force-generating strands in the fibers. Powerlifters target the myofibrils, as well as nerve force, with low-rep sets to increase strength. As mentioned, the thickening of those strands does accounts for some growth, but a lot of the major muscular hypertrophy occurs in the sarcoplasm, the energy fluid surrounding them. [story continues…]
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