How much muscle mass is ideal?

Kettlebelephant

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I don't have a link but from professionalisation in the mid '90s rugby players got bigger, a lot bigger, and noticeably more muscular, but the pace of the game increased, perhaps as a consequence of fitter and stronger players, so that process started reversing and players these days are, on average, smaller than they were, say, a decade ago. But the key metric seems to have been the pace of the game. The really big guys struggle to keep up and so I would bet that as a consequence of the pace of the modern game average body fat percentage of rugby players would have declined. Sad news for big fat props!
You have to go by the demands of the sport.
In the last 15-20 years soccer player got beefier out of neccessity. Experts say it's because the game got faster.
Faster means higher impacts which means you need more "armour".
Look up pics of Messi and Ronaldo at the beginning of their career and now. Both packed on a good amount of muscle. That's the usual thing right now for soccer players - they start out as 16-18 years old scrawny kids and turn into underwear models by the age of 22-23.
Sure soccer comes nowhere near rugby or football when it comes to physicality, but there's still a noticeable change from the 90s to now.
 

Kettlebelephant

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@pet'
A lot of them are still within the "height minus 100 +-5" range or close to it.
None of them have "more cm than lbs".

Rich Froning - 178cm (70')/86Kg (190lbs) - difference 8
Graham Holmberg - 180cm (71')/84Kg (185lbs) - difference 4
Tommy Hackenbruck - 185cm (73')/90Kg (200lbs) - difference 5
James Hobart - 173cm (68')/80Kg (177lbs) - difference 7

All of them are former champions in either solo or team competition (or both).

Strength and full contact sports require more muscle in relation to height (Btw I consider Crossfit a strengthsport), but in the grand picture of things these sports are minorities.
Again, for the majority of athletic endeavours "height minus 100" is a good guideline.
 

North Coast Miller

More than 2500 posts
You have to go by the demands of the sport.
In the last 15-20 years soccer player got beefier out of neccessity. Experts say it's because the game got faster.
Faster means higher impacts which means you need more "armour".
Look up pics of Messi and Ronaldo at the beginning of their career and now. Both packed on a good amount of muscle. That's the usual thing right now for soccer players - they start out as 16-18 years old scrawny kids and turn into underwear models by the age of 22-23.
Sure soccer comes nowhere near rugby or football when it comes to physicality, but there's still a noticeable change from the 90s to now.
Hockey as well. It would be tough to find any sort of contact sport where average weight and height hasn't gone up at the pro level.

At the semi-pro and farm league, not so much.

And then is the added mass allowing them to perform better or does it simply make them more durable.
 

Steve W.

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
I don't have a link but from professionalisation in the mid '90s rugby players got bigger, a lot bigger, and noticeably more muscular, but the pace of the game increased, perhaps as a consequence of fitter and stronger players, so that process started reversing and players these days are, on average, smaller than they were, say, a decade ago. But the key metric seems to have been the pace of the game. The really big guys struggle to keep up and so I would bet that as a consequence of the pace of the modern game average body fat percentage of rugby players would have declined. Sad news for big fat props!
Hockey as well. It would be tough to find any sort of contact sport where average weight and height hasn't gone up at the pro level.
Basketball has followed the smaller trend. With the game evolving to better exploit the three point shot, changes in defensive rules, and the pace of play increasing, players need to be more mobile. The current style is even referred to as "small ball" (or "pace and space"). Teams are playing smaller lineups and exploiting bigger slower players who can't guard effectively on the perimeter. A smaller more mobile player who can shoot is now an advantageous matchup against a bigger slower player, whereas in the past big against small was looked at as an advantage. So teams are building rosters around smaller players and playing smaller lineups, and a lot of bigger players are slimming down to try to stay relevant.

It's still a physical contact sport so a certain degree of strength and muscular armor is helpful. A player like LeBron James is dominant in terms of skill and basketball intelligence, but also because of a unique combination of size (6'8", 260lbs), power and mobility/agility. Even Steph Curry, who is often thought of as a little guy who is athletically limited is 6'3", 190lbs and can reportedly trap bar DL over 400lbs. However, the "bigger the better, mo' muscle, mo' muscle" period is over.
 

wespom9

More than 500 posts
Certified Instructor
This thread got really interesting really quickly. I'm really fascinated by the height in cm - 100 = bw in kg theory. Makes sense that for certain sports this goes out the window - I'd imagine its more like height - 90 or so for full on collision sports. I'd be interested in knowing the body fat % of most sports, but 9-13% is a good guess

Is Lebron really considered "big" for an NBA player? I haven't followed basketball in years, but I do know guys like Curry, Durant, Westbrook, etc. are overly big. Cool thought.\

@Steve W. I imagine a 2x BW deadlift is almost a prerequisite in most sport endeavors these days. Being from a baseball background, that powerful hip extension has great transferability to throwing power.
And speaking of baseball, I think it may be one (team) sport where the 9-13% body fat goes out the window, especially for pitchers. Football as well depending on position.

EDIT: I of course meant to say "aren't" overly big
 
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wespom9

More than 500 posts
Certified Instructor
Here's a wonderful thought - let's take that height (cm) - 100 = bw (kg) and make it 105. Push the body fat a bit, say ~15% (10-20 usually recommended for a healthy, low risk male). I don't know how the numbers work out and I wish I had time before work here to delve into it more, but that would be an interesting health ideal
 

Steve W.

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@Steve W. I imagine a 2x BW deadlift is almost a prerequisite in most sport endeavors these days
There are lots of basketball players that can jump out of the gym who have barely touched a weight and have nowhere near a 2 x BW DL although most high school and college basketball programs have extensive strength and conditioning programs for the players. In the article where I read that Curry had a 400lb TBDL, I believe it also stated that that was the second highest on the team.

Is Lebron really considered "big" for an NBA player? I haven't followed basketball in years, but I do know guys like Curry, Durant, Westbrook, etc. are overly big.
LeBron is most often listed at 6'8" and 260lbs. That's big by just about any standard. Curry and Durant are fairly slim (one of Durant's nicknames is the "Slim Reaper"). At the testing combine before he was drafted out of college Durant famously could not get a single bench press rep with 185lbs. AFAIK, the bench press is no longer a test at the combine because it is pretty irrelevant to basketball. However, there are several timed agility drills. Wesbrook is usually listed as 6'3", 200lbs, the same height as Curry, but 10lbs heavier.
 

wespom9

More than 500 posts
Certified Instructor
There are lots of basketball players that can jump out of the gym who have barely touched a weight and have nowhere near a 2 x BW DL although most high school and college basketball programs have extensive strength and conditioning programs for the players. In the article where I read that Curry had a 400lb TBDL, I believe it also stated that that was the second highest on the team.
Wow, that's actually pretty surprising to me. I know some teams might not do bilateral training/testing, but I would imagine those guys would have pretty good relative strength. If anyone has further info on that it would be cool to read about


At the testing combine before he was drafted out of college Durant famously could not get a single bench press rep with 185lbs.
I do recall this now that you mentioned it
 

kenaces

Triple-Digit Post Count
Interesting thread but my twist is - How much muscle is ideal for general health / fitness / longevity?

I ask this as someone who is creeping up on 50 and thinking about how to best train to build/maintain muscle and strength through out life? My general thought is as much as I can get without doing anything extreme(drugs, waking up in middle of night to have protein shake, smolov squat program, overeating and getting fat in process)????
 

jca17

More than 300 posts
In the article where I read that Curry had a 400lb TBDL, I believe it also stated that that was the second highest on the team.
Which means Curry's TBDL is more than Draymond Green or Iguodala. That really surprised me when I read the article.
 

Steve W.

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Which means Curry's TBDL is more than Draymond Green or Iguodala. That really surprised me when I read the article.
Yes--if I recall correctly, Festus Ezeli, who is no longer on the team, was the only one higher.
 
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Kettlebelephant

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My general thought is as much as I can get without doing anything extreme(drugs, waking up in middle of night to have protein shake, smolov squat program, overeating and getting fat in process)
That's the best recommendation for the "how much muscle?"-question I've heard so far, especially the part in the brackets.
 

Oscar

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That's the best recommendation for the "how much muscle?"-question I've heard so far, especially the part in the brackets.
The guidelines by @kenaces are sensible without a doubt, but I think that , even following those guidelines, we can chose how much muscle and bodyweight we carry. To a certain extent at least.

If you squat heavy and drink a lot of milk you will probably be heavier. If you eat less and deadlift instead of squat, you will probably be lighter.
 

Maine-ah KB

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This is real interesting concept. would you say Foot ball (American) would be an outlier?
For example Gronkowski is 198 cm and 120kg JJ Watt is 195cm and 131kg. (roughly a 70 difference) they may need the extra mass for the nature of there sport. does that make them a more specialized athlete? rather then a more traditional athlete like soccer/Tennis/Basketball? thoughts?
 

Maine-ah KB

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indeed there very large athletes, hence my musings. It's interesting that Rugby players who are also playing a full contact sport (correct?) are lighter. my guess would be that rugby has longer plays, were as football is a more start and stop. my thought is for these athletes the extra muscle size helps with the burst of intense plays. were rugby player need to be faster for longer (I don't know rugby that well, so sorry if I sound ignorant)
 
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