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Are Bodybuilders Bigger but Weaker?

Are Bodybuilders Bigger but Weaker?

“All you have inside your arms, is water. And water doesn’t make you strong” This is what a girl once told me, after touching my biceps.

At that time I was training nearly every day per week. This sentence from a girl is the last thing that you want to hear when you spend most of your free-time training in a fitness center. It turned out that the girl was extremely body conscious and unhappy in her own skin. She was speaking out of envy.

Increased muscle size is not due to water, but mainly due to an increased amount of muscle cells. The amount of muscle cells in your body is a crucial factor in determining physical strength, but surprisingly not the only one.

Physical Strength Comes In Multiple Forms

Before I explain what physical strength is, we first have to define the term properly. For one person, strong is defined as doing 100 push ups; for another person, it is bench pressing 225 pounds.

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While all these different definitions may be part of being strong, According to the dictionary, strength is the organisms capability of exerting force on physical objects.

    The Factors Of Strength

    One of the factors to physical strength, are how many muscle cells you possess in your body.

    The muscle cells contain elements that shorten on command. The shortening of the elements creates a shortening of the entire muscle, which creates a movement in the joint. If you have bigger muscles due to your training, you’re increasing the amount of your muscle cells. You’re having more elements that are able to shorten on command. Due to having more elements, there will be more force that can be applied to the joints. Therefore technically, more physical strength.

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      But muscle cells are not the only things that are important for physical strength. I previously stated that muscle cells contain elements, that shorten on command. The command comes from nerve cells. Generally neurons, this is a fancy word for nerve cells, adapt fast to your workout schedule. The adaptation of your nervous system is responsible for most of your strength gains within the first few months of training, where your brain is simply learning to activate your muscle cells more efficiently. Strength is limited by your neural activation.

        Another part that can limit your physical strength is your nutrition. If your muscles don’t have the right energy to create the force, they won’t be able to shorten on command properly.

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          The House Building Analogy

          An easy way to understand the muscle cells relation with strength, is the house building analogy. Imagine that you were trying to build a house. For that endeavor, you’re hiring a company with construction workers, which will be working at your construction site full time. The construction workers are your muscle cells.

          Naturally you want to finish the house building process as soon as possible. The house building process is your strength. The faster you build a house, according to this analogy, the more strength you have in your body. Increasing the number of the construction workers might speed up the process, but it’s not the only factor.

          If the construction workers don’t have the right manager, the manager is your brain, they will slack off during work and play angry birds. If the construction workers don’t have the right tools, the tools being your nutrients, you will never finish the house.

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          Physical strength is a combination of these factors. Muscle cells are not solely responsible for creating physical strength, yet they play a crucial part.

            Strength Are What Muscles Are For

            If you have a lot of muscles, you can also expect to be strong. As we’ve seen the amount of your muscle cells are not the only factor in determining your strength, yet they’re a crucial one.

            Generally your body will adapt all factors due to weightlifting. It will increase the amount of muscle cells, the neural connections and the nutrient uptake. One of the best ways to even get muscular, is building extreme strength.

            When you’re training in the gym: try to increase the weight of your work-set. Keep the repetitions between 6-12 most of the time. This way your body will adapt all it’s structures to increase your physical strength.

            You can watch an animated video about this topic by clicking here.

            More by this author

            Florian Wüest

            Qualified and experienced fitness trainer and online coach.

            Why You Should Keep a Fitness Journal to Jumpstart Weight Loss The Truth Behind Rapid Weight Loss and the Best Way to Shed Pounds How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle and Increase Fat Loss? How Vegan Bodybuilding Diet Keeps Hunger at Bay While Plant Based The Biggest Myth Debunked: The More Protein You Eat, the Faster You Build Muscles?

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            Last Updated on March 25, 2020

            How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

            How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

            When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

            So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

            1. Exercise

            It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

            2. Drink in Moderation

            I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

            3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

            Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

            4. Watch Less Television

            A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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            Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

            5. Eat Less Red Meat

            Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

            If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

            6. Don’t Smoke

            This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

            7. Socialize

            Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

            8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

            Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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            9. Be Optimistic

            Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

            10. Own a Pet

            Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

            11. Drink Coffee

            Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

            12. Eat Less

            Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

            13. Meditate

            Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

            Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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            How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

            14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

            Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

            15. Laugh Often

            Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

            16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

            Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

            17. Cook Your Own Food

            When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

            Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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            18. Eat Mushrooms

            Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

            19. Floss

            Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

            20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

            Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

            Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

            21. Have Sex

            Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

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            Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

            Reference

            [1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
            [2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
            [3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
            [4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
            [5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
            [6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
            [7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
            [8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
            [9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
            [10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
            [11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
            [12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
            [13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
            [14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
            [15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
            [16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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