Thread: Question about building muscle
10-13-2002, 09:27 AM #1Member
- Join Date
- Mar 2002
- New York
Question about building muscle
You only make gain when you do more weight then your accustomed to doing right... so does that mean all the reps you do in between that are useless??
Say for example i am doing a dumbell should press
-1- I do 60 pounds on each hand say 10 times and the last 2 i struggle on
-2- I do 85 pounds on each hand say only 4 times but all i strugle on all 4
Tecnically i would figure the the second option is more beneficial to gain muscle.
Now if my routine consists of sets similar to the first option im just doing more work then i have to or am i ... doing more work must lead to more caloire burning BUT if im struggling on more reps like in option 2 then aint i burning more calories while im pushing harder ???
Bottom line is should i switch my routine to lower heavier reps, like 4-6 reps for each set?
Now i know when you work a muscle to failure which would happen quicker with the second option that also means the time to heal takes longer and if that happens then my next work out might suffer in gains and i would need more rest.
It all about the happy medium and finding it aint it lol
10-13-2002, 01:17 PM #2
Hi again bro,
Great question, and I like your reasoning!
The body adapts to overload with hyper-adaptation. In an ideal world the body would react to our weight training by making us not just strong enough to deal with what we subjected it to, but to actually make us stronger than required so that the load upon the body by the same weights would not be significant.
Unfortunately (back to the real world with a bump, ouch!) things aren't so easy. The body will attempt to react to any overload we put on our muscles. This is the key point - overload. It's not just the weight that you lift that is important but how heavily taxed a muscle is and just how this overload was created.
Low reps to failure trigger a slightly different hyper-adaptation response than higher rep sets to failure do.
Low reps - hypertrophy + significant neurological adaptations
High reps - hypertrophy + insignificant neurological adaptations (once past initial encounters with a new exercise).
The difference is because at lower reps there is a greater requirement for force output from the muscles because of the heavier weight (obvious) - the body can attempt to improve the neuromuscular pathways to the muscles involved so that next time they can be forced to contract harder and hence hopefully make the same set less of a burden.
At higher reps ultimate force output of the muscle isn't a factor and so the existing neuromuscular pathways are satisfactory so little or no adaption is wasted here. Instead the adaptation response focuses upon the muscles as making the muscles 'stronger' (myofibrils increase in thickness) would mean that next time the set is performed the load would be less demanding.
To get to a point (any point, please!) even though the set for 4 reps may make you stronger than the set for 10 reps you would probably gain more size from the set to 10 reps (and you would struggle for an equal or higher number of reps on the higher rep set in reality too).
10-14-2002, 07:03 AM #3
man good read DAZ
10-14-2002, 07:32 AM #4
Heh, thanks bro!
10-14-2002, 08:35 AM #5Member
- Join Date
- Mar 2002
- New York
Whats up daz, i see your name all of over now and you give great thought out answers... keep it up and im sure they ask if you want to be a mod.
I just have a question about hypertrophy, what is it exactly i see the word thrown all over the place but i dont know what it is.
If i stuck with doing 10 reps per set i would gain muscle
if i did lower reps at higher weight i would be gaing more strenght?
if this correct? If so, wont i gain muscle if im gaining actually strenght??
Because with more streght ill be able to lift more and thats where the size should come in.
I know eating is another important part of this process but im concered more about the actual working out at the gym part.
I might struggle more on a set of 10 cause its more repetitus and the weight isnt that drastically differnt ... i dont know what i should do lol i want to switch up my routine a little bit.
10-14-2002, 09:11 AM #6
Yo bro - you are asking great questions dude. Don't know how long you've been lifting but keep going - the key to getting big is longevity and consistency...
Hypertrophy comes from the latin hyper (above, over, excessive) and troph(y) - nurishment. Basically it means muscle growth - your muscle fibres getting thicker and hence stronger).
There's some controversy whether muscle fibrils can split - hyperplasia, though it is a general consensus that in adults hypertrophy occurs from muscle fibres becoming thicker and not from an increase in the number of cells.
A great site you might want to visit is:
As for the rep range - do some experimenting, only time and practice and investigation will help you find rep ranges that you are happy with.
IMO the most important thing is to overload your muscles in the most efficient and safe manner possible and then get the hell out of the gym!! You grow when you are out of the gym, not whilst you are in it.
So Dazla's theory of muscle growth:
1. Get in the gym and f**k up your targeted muscles in the most expedient and safe manner possible.
2. Drink lots of water all day long
3. Eat 1g + protein per pound per day
4. Get in enough calories to be consistently gaining weight
5. Get lots of rest and sleep
Repeat ad infinitum and get BIG, VERY BIG!!
10-15-2002, 02:38 AM #7
Muscle size isn't the best way to determin muscle strength. yes, there is a correlation between cross-sectional size of a muscle and strength but it's not always right. Look at a body builder and they're freakin huge and should be able to flip a car over. Now look at a power lifter, they have very different body shapes but they can lift more than bodybuilders.
So back to your question: "won't i gain muscle if i'm gaining strength?" The short answer is yes but if you want to gain the most muscle size you can then answer is no. If you're wondering how you can gain strength but not a whole lot of size is b/c it goes back to neuroadaptation. Have you ever heard of those freak scenes where a 10 yr old kid lifts the fallen car up cuz his dad is caught underneath? That's cuz every muscle in your body can produce a lot more power than you can volunteerily make them do. (it has to do with the timing/sequence of firing for each muscle fiber) Now the kid has probably never lifted a dumbell before so it's not cuz he had a lot more muscle mass, he changed the message from his brain to his muscle (under extreme motivation). So what you're really working on when doing low reps is neuromuscular such as recruiting more motor units.
10-15-2002, 06:18 AM #8Member
- Join Date
- Mar 2002
- New York
After reading this i find my self more confused on which approach i should take lol.
10-15-2002, 06:24 AM #9
Read my first post again xplicit! Basically - lower reps equals more focus on strength than higher reps though both will cause hypertrophy with higher reps being slightly better for muscle growth overall.
For me 12 - 20 reps works best for legs and 8 - 20 for upper body.
10-15-2002, 10:48 AM #10
thanks for that link, daz! my own Alma Mater and I had no idea they were doing this research ... 'course I was an Enginerd so at the time I didn't care much for the life/bio-sciences
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