How can a smaller muscle from strength-focused training generate more force than a would-be larger muscle through training that maximises hypertrophy?


To illustrate, it is my understanding that muscles will experience more hypertrophy within a certain rep range. They will increase in size, and so it makes sense how they would be able to lift more weight. However, lower rep ranges tend to increase strength more than they increase size. How can a smaller muscle generate more force than a would-be larger muscle through a different kind of training?

In: Biology

Muscle is made of lots of cells that all work together to pull in a certain direction. Having a higher muscle density means you can fit more of these cells in a given volume, so a muscle can get stronger without necessarily getting bigger.

muscle building or “hypertrophy” consists of two things: increasing size and number of muscle fibers, and increasing glycogen and water storage in the muscles to keep them ready to work. strength training typically involves increasing the size and amount of contractile fibers which are doing the actual work, whereas body building also aims at increasing the storage of glycogen and water in muscles for aesthetic reasons. the extra fluid and glycogen volume associated with low tension high rep work does not have any contractile capability, that is, doesn’t make you stronger – it’s there to fuel muscles for higher repetitions. strength athletes do fewer reps at higher tension, so their muscles tend not to adapt by adding more glycogen and water, meaning they are very strong but not especially puffy.