Strength VS Size: Do You Have to Be Big to Be Strong?

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Are size and strength mutually exclusive or is there a difference between these fitness goals? Most gymgoers work out to either increase muscles, become stronger or both.

Most fitness experts agree that size and strength are similar, but they are not identical. Most people think the most muscular individuals in the room are the strongest. But that’s not a fact. That said, building muscles require progressive overload. You won’t gain muscles if you don’t build strength over time. Simply put, you cannot get one without the other.

Strength and Size by Definition

Strength is not a result of the muscle size. It’s produced by neutral impulses by the brain. If the brain is able to generate larger electrical impulses to the muscles, more muscle fibers are activated. And the increase in muscle activation will affect your strength output. On the other hand, muscle size is dependent on the amount of muscle tissues generated by the body. This can be done through weight training and proper diet.

No matter how strong muscles are, if the brain is unable to generate larger electrical impulses, the muscles will remain weak. That’s because the muscles are controlled by the brain. So if you want to build strength, you have to believe that you can lift a certain weight. Flexing the muscles allow it to generate enough force. Force is what powers the muscles. The same thing cannot be said for muscle size. It takes more than positive thinking to build mass.

Fitness Tips and Tricks to Increase Mass

Protein Rich Diet

If you’re trying to bulk up, you have to stick to a low-calorie, protein-rich diet. Start by boosting your consumption of cold-water fish like salmon or herring. Cold-water fish is the best source of omega-3 fatty acids. These essential oils make the muscles more sensitive to insulin. This triggers the entry of amino acids into the muscles to preserve glutamine stores.

Weight Training

To develop muscles, you have to continuously tone and define your shape. You can do that through weight training. When lifting weight, focus on the concentric phase of a lift. This occurs when the muscles contract and lengthen. Maintain the tension in the muscles to cause muscle hypertrophy. muscle hypertrophy helps increase muscle mass.

Do Less Aerobic Exercises

You don’t have to completely eliminate aerobic exercises from your fitness routine but minimize it. Aerobic exercises have detrimental effects on the muscles.

Fitness Tips and Tricks to Increase Strength


Powerlifting is the best method to try if you’re shooting for accelerating strength. Powerlifting requires low reps, which builds strength (and size, though very slightly). Focus on the tension of the muscles as you lift. The stronger the tension, the stronger the muscles grow.

Less Cardio

When it comes to building strength, focus less on cardiovascular conditioning only to build stamina. You want to minimize cardio and perform it in conjunction with strength training.

Protein Rich Diet

You will also benefit from a low-calorie, protein-rich diet. Start your day with a pre-workout protein shake. You want to increase the amino acid level in the body to produce more muscle tissues. This will give you enough muscles to gain strength. Then, boost your consumption of poultry, lean meat, oily fish, grains, and nuts. These foods are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial in developing and strengthening the muscles.

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