Weekly Fitness Tips

from Jerry Pitman

Bringing clarity to myths behind size and strength!

Size does not necessarily equate to strength. With that in mind, it’s important to realize that with the addition of new muscle to an individual body, strength will come. Strength will accompany adding more muscle fiber to anyone’s physique for that particular individual. In all honesty, it’s just as tough for many of us to add more muscle as it is to add new strength. For me, it’s always been tougher. I’m much more likely to get stronger with lifts than I am to grow in solid muscle. So, as you could imagine, with every pound of muscle I’ve managed to add, I’ve grown substantially in strength. It’s just a mistake to assume that because one person has more muscle mass than another, that equates to being stronger than the other person. This is certainly not the case.
As a trainer, I’ve had to train guys who were extremely intimidating from a physical standpoint. Well over 6 feet tall and anywhere from 235 lbs to 300 lbs. They sometimes tower over me at barely 5’10” with my shoes on! I’ll never forget one of those really big guys who could barely even lift 12-15 lb dumbbells for the lateral shoulder raise. Before we worked together, I thought I was going to have to struggle to help with his bench press and I was quite worried about it… but I quickly learned that I could pretty much curl with my arms what he pressed on bench. So, size most definitely does not mean strength. However, in combat (for my audience that is more self-defense minded), don’t mistakenly think that it is not one advantage. There are many varying advantages in self-defense and size is only one of them… but it can be a costly mistake to get yourself tangled up with someone who is much heavier and may be every bit as skilled on the ground, if not as fast, in today’s age. But, that’s another blog.
So, while one person is larger than another, whether muscle mass or not, that doesn’t mean they will be stronger by any means. However, for one person to have grown even a few lbs in muscle weight, let alone 10’s of lbs, that particular individual will be considerably stronger for themselves than when they began training. One cannot simply add muscle fiber to their body and not become stronger. That just does not happen. There is even a direct correlation between fat gain and strength!  The more actual muscle you add to your body, the stronger you will be. If for no other reason, the sheer amount of hard work and muscular contractions it takes to actually build new muscle requires the constant firing of neurons within the muscles themselves and that alone becomes much more proficient with time and is a major reason why we do become stronger over time.

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