Differences in training for mass and strength

Differences in training for mass and strength

In this article, we tried to collect information that characterizes the main tactical and strategic differences in training for muscle gain and strength. It should be noted that there are different types of muscle hypertrophy: sarcoplasmic hypertrophy and myofibrillar hypertrophy.

Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is the growth of muscle cells due to a predominant increase in the volume of sarcoplasm, that is, the non-contractile part of the fibers. Hypertrophy of this type occurs due to an increase in the content of non-contractile (in particular, mitochondrial) proteins and metabolic reserves of muscle cells: glycogen , creatine phosphate, myoglobin, etc. Thickening of the capillary network as a result of training can also cause a slight increase in muscle volume.

Myofibrillar hypertrophy is associated with an increase in the number and volume of myofibrils, that is, the actual contractile apparatus of muscle cells. At the same time, the density of myofibrils in the muscle fiber increases. This type of muscle fiber hypertrophy leads to a significant increase in muscle strength. The absolute strength of the muscle also increases significantly.When working on hypertrophy of the first type, the strength also increases, but much more slowly. Apparently, fast muscle fibers are most prone to myofibrillar hypertrophy . It is not difficult to guess that bodybuilders strive for the first type, powerlifters strive for the second type.

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Many authors (for example, V. Protasenko in his book ” Think! Or ‘Super training’ without delusions “) reasonably believe that differences in training do not play a special role, since muscle strength is directly proportional to its cross-sectional area and any power load, regardless of variation parameters lead to muscle hypertrophy of both types equally.

Below is a table based on data obtained from Paul Rogers’ scientific articles “General Principles of Muscle Building – What the Science Says About Muscle Building Practices” and “General Principles of Strength Training” (2009). These articles include the most up-to-date, scientifically proven, collective information on strength training approaches.

Parameter Weight training Strength training
Food Diet for gaining muscle mass A standard muscle-building diet may not be suitable if you need to stay in the same weight class.
Sports nutrition (by degree of importance) Protein , BCAA , gainer , creatine, pre-workout complex, testosterone boosters Creatine , pre-workout complex , protein, gainer, BCAA, stimulants
Exercises Basic and isolation exercises ( workout program ) The program mainly includes basic exercises
Rest between sets 1-3 minutes (short, to maintain a high intensity level) 3-5 minutes (required for complete recovery of creatine phosphate depot)
The speed of muscle contraction during exercise Slow and Medium (needs to be changed) Medium and high (it is necessary to change the speed from one workout to another to prevent the development of adaptation)
The number of repetitions in the set 6-12 (to be specified depending on the predominant type of muscle fibers – determination test ), the frequency can and should vary from one training session to another in order to prevent the development of muscle adaptation. 1-6 – Frequency varies, just like weight training
Optimal training frequency 1-5 per week depending on the program 3-5 per week depending on the program
Duration of workout More often than not, it is not recommended to train for more than 1 hour. Up to 2 hours. The workout is longer due to the longer rest periods between sets.
Aerobic exercise Often included in the program Rarely used

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