Exercise Tips

Can I Train for Strength and Size At The Same Time?

This article is mainly for guys out there who want to get bigger and stronger at the same time. If you ask any male at the gym why they are working out the majority of them will say to get bigger or to get stronger, and a lot of them will say to get bigger and stronger.

Bodybuilders don’t care about strength much and power lifters don’t care about size much, but the majority of guys in the gym who aren’t training specifically for shows or contests are looking to get bigger and stronger.

So the question is can you train for both strength and size at the same time?

The answer is yes you can train for both size and strength at the same time, but you can’t train to maximum potential for both at the same time.

What I mean by that is if you were to focus on training only for strength you can increase your strength a lot quicker than if you want to focus on size at the same time. And if you were to train only for size you could increase your muscle mass a lot faster than if you want to get stronger at the same time as well.

Someone who wants to train for purely strength should be performing about 1-3 repetitions for maximal gains. At about 4-8 reps you will still get a lot of strength gains, but to the higher end of that scale and above you really start to drop off on your potential strength gains.

Someone who wants to train purely for size would want to be performing around 13-20 reps. This will mostly be working on “Sacroplasmic hypertrophy” which is the increase of sacroplasmic fluid in the muscle cell with no accompanying increase in muscular strength. The other type of hypertrophy is called “Myofibrillar” and this leads to a small increase in the size of the muscle and more in muscular strength.

So how can you train for both size and strength? You will need to pick a happy medium between the two. I recommend somewhere between 6-12 reps for your training of most exercises. This will still work on your strength, and it fits in the rep range to have effective hypertrophy training as well.

You can also split your week into workouts focused a little more on strength and workouts focused a little more on strength. For example lets say you do Chest/Back twice per week on Monday and Friday. On Monday you could be doing 4 sets of 6 reps for bench press, and then on Friday you could be doing 3 sets of 12 reps for bench press.

Most of the workouts I do focus on both strength and size at the same time, because I’m not overly worried about either. I want to stay strong because I still play a number of sports, and I also want to have some size to me as I like the looks of it. If you were to look through my workout log you’d see that about 85% of my exercises fall into the 6-12 reps range. I rarely ever go under 6 reps anymore, but sometimes I will go over 12 reps for certain exercises.

Just to recap: If you could care less about the size of your muscles you should be training with low reps, heavy weights. If you could care less about strength you will want to be training at about 10-20 reps with lighter weights and more focus on squeezing your muscles. And if you are like me and a lot of guys out there and want to train for both size and strength stick to reps in the 6-12 range for the most part.

OK on to my personal workout log for the past two days…

My Workout Log

So I left off with a post on Saturday which was my last day lifting for the week. I got back into things with a late night workout last night (I was feeling a little off during the day so I decided to wait until night time). Last night it was a Chest/Arms workout for size/strength – the 6-12 rep range we talked about above.

If you remember how my workouts are going – I’m doing a three day split with each group twice per week. The first of the week is a size/strength workout, and then the second is the 10 sets of 10 and more high reps and low rest to really get my heart going.

Last night I threw some new exercises into my workouts as I was getting in a routine again where I was performing a lot of the same exercises. I switched up my triceps bar press down, this time putting my palms facing up instead the normal palms down that 90% of people do. I also switched the angle of my bicep curls, leaning back on an incline bench press and doing lighter weight curls from that angle (hitting the long head of the bicep more).

Overall a good workout and a had a really nice pump when it was done. My eating yesterday was pretty good, including a greens juice from my new juicer.

Today I just got back from the gym not too long ago. I did my lower body and core workout with some stairmaster cardio added at the end of the workout. I was working pretty hard today, even doing some burpees in a superset with front squats which I haven’t done in a while.

Anyways I’m off to eat some chicken and maybe make something in the juicer and then off to the grocery store for a nice healthy shop.

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