Is It Good To Train For Mass (Hypertrophy)?

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Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
What the fitness industry would not dare to admit and you may not like what I have to say….

This is a good blog post by Ori Hofmekler discussing hypertrophy and the biological liability.
Good? How?

Everyone in their right mind knows that bodybuilding is not healthy. The bodybuilders think the same. Nothing new about it. They make a value decision in their lives. Just like we all do, all the time. They just pick differently when it comes to this issue. Luckily, there are such an endless amount of issues when it comes to living to an old age, that a bodybuilder can typically reach the same age as his peers by the virtue of his other decisions.

So why do we get click-bait articles that condemn hypertrophy, when the issue is actually bodybuilding and not strength sports or actually any kind of physical work? Nobody becomes the next Ronnie Coleman by accident. No casual, recreational strength trainee needs to worry about becoming obscenely huge.
 

Mark Kidd

Level 5 Valued Member
Obscenely huge through chemicals. There is a world of difference between what @Fabio Zonin did and what Coleman does. And let's not forget the fat burners some of these guys down by the handful. Most of those are unregulated. I think a lot of anti hypertropy people forget all the pharmaceutical methods that some body builders use could be a huge part of the problem.
 

jef

I am a student of strength.
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Kettlebelephant said:
***It's just the specific case with Read where you shouldn't focus on every little detail. Not to give him a free-card, but my experience with his statements shows me that the big message behind them is valuable 99% of the time, even though he has problems conveying it because of his attitude.
My problem with the specifically cited article is not about details, but major flaws.
He has an opinion and expresses it, which is all right, but presents it as proven facts, which is not.
His "demonstration" is based on a misinterpretation of BMI, that he wrongly presents as years of experience and observations (it is not).
He finishes with two anecdotes of competitive unhealthy athletes (anecdotes are just anecdotes, not proofs).

In a study that is really about years of observation (Change in Body Mass Index Associated With Lowest Mortality in Denmark, 1976-2013), the least mortality in the last decade 2003-2013 is found at an over weighted BMI (26). More interestingly, the observed optimal BMI has changed over time: "Among 3 Danish cohorts, the BMI associated with the lowest all-cause mortality increased by 3.3 from cohorts enrolled from 1976-1978 through 2003-2013. Further investigation is needed to understand the reason for this change and its implications." Of course, it is correlation, not causality.
For me, it mainly shows that BMI is not a reliable health indicator, and argument for or against hypertrophy based on it have no scientific value. Waist to hip ratio seem better, although not perfect either.

That written, I understand your point.
I even agree that too much muscle is not always better. I do not think I would be healthier at a lean 90kg. But if I was playing rugby professionally, I would strive to weight a lean 90kg during my career, and I would program my training to gain strength AND mass.

We kind of derailed in this thread in talking about excessive hypertrophy, competitive bodybuilders and so, but not hypertrophy for the general population...
 

Mark Kidd

Level 5 Valued Member
@jef

Not really. Because modern pharmaceuticalled up bodybuilders are what people think of sadly. And it's funny how accepted it is.

I was on Instagram yesterday looking at a suggestion. It seemed to be a typical female trainer on there. All abs and glutes the size of basketballs (and a chest to match too.) She was selling both exercise and nutrition plans to get a body like hers (which would not appeal to me due to the lack of proportion.) Then further down her feed, she is talking about a secret weapon which is her fat burners. I couldn't believe the amount of people who were like "totally awesome". I'm thinking total sham. Her genetics make her very fine boned and you can tell she is naturally skinny and probably had some abs without trying. You can tell her chest is probably fake (I also wonder about her glutes).

The point of this rant....the fat burners weren't for fat....that was her awesome nutrition plan and exercise routine. Nope...the fat burners were to keep her from getting too bulky. I'm also sure we have seen the abundance of male versions of this that went from skinny to jacked in 6 months.

I give up. Pharmaceuticals have completely distorted people's realities along with dishonest bodybuilders, trainers, actors and other charlatans.

I'm afraid to say I'm not sure what is natural anymore.

So yes, in this climate I can see why hypertropy might be seen as a scary or downright dangerous thing. I remember being in college for fire Protection and guys were 18 and 19 and using roids. More than a few just looked weird. More than a few just looked skinny fat. More than a few had serious issues.
 
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Steve Freides

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Good? How?

Everyone in their right mind knows that bodybuilding is not healthy. The bodybuilders think the same.
Back in the day, some of the same people would win lifting and BB competitions. The ideas of improving what you look like and looking like you're strong don't have to be unhealthy.

-S-
 

Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
Back in the day, some of the same people would win lifting and BB competitions. The ideas of improving what you look like and looking like you're strong don't have to be unhealthy.

-S-
On the first page of this thread, in my first post in this thread, I mentioned Tommy Kono as an example of well-done training of both athletics and hypertrophy which supported each other.

When I last referred to bodybuilding like mentioned in the linked articles, I meant the modern kind, which is why I used Coleman as an example. I believe the authors of these articles were also thinking about bodybuilding as it has come to be.
 

Maine-ah KB

Level 7 Valued Member
modern bodybuilding to me is one of there worst persuits you can do for your health and apperiance. you have extreme amount of mass that isn't remotely useful, and there is no skill involved. old school BBers had function, Tommy Kono was a great American Olympic lifter and athlete and going back further Eugen Sandow was very muscular and could do amazing feats of strength. I would love to see Ronnie Coleman (or other modern BBer) do anything close to those two.
My opinion of course, but if you only look like you can perform but can't actually do anything but pose whats the point?
 

Steve Freides

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On the first page of this thread, in my first post in this thread, I mentioned Tommy Kono as an example of well-done training of both athletics and hypertrophy which supported each other.

When I last referred to bodybuilding like mentioned in the linked articles, I meant the modern kind, which is why I used Coleman as an example. I believe the authors of these articles were also thinking about bodybuilding as it has come to be.
I am not doing a good job of following your posts in this thread in their intended context.

-S-
 

North Coast Miller

Level 7 Valued Member
modern bodybuilding to me is one of there worst persuits you can do for your health and apperiance. you have extreme amount of mass that isn't remotely useful, and there is no skill involved. old school BBers had function, Tommy Kono was a great American Olympic lifter and athlete and going back further Eugen Sandow was very muscular and could do amazing feats of strength. I would love to see Ronnie Coleman (or other modern BBer) do anything close to those two.
My opinion of course, but if you only look like you can perform but can't actually do anything but pose whats the point?
IDK about pound for pound, but Coleman has moved some serious weight for reps. 800lb squat, 800lb DL, IIRC 600lb front squat.

PEDs aside, the science of nutrition and periodizing has come a long way, entirely possible Tommy Kono or Sandow would have looked every bit as freaky as Coleman if they'd had the tools and know-how to do so.

Do not take this as an endorsement of BBing at that level, some physique is great - "positive visual feedback". When you look like a funhouse mirror maybe not so appealing anymore. Still a tremendous achievement and you aren't going to get there without being strong.
 

Maine-ah KB

Level 7 Valued Member
@North Coast Miller i didn't know that about ronnie Coleman. I see your point but still seems backwards to me. The training to look a certain way rather then training to do something. Like elite gymnasts who specialize in rings are jacked, but every ounce of muscle is for a purpose. Bodybuilders training to be bigger and that's it. Yeah guess there strong but it's more of a side effect.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 7 Valued Member
@North Coast Miller i didn't know that about ronnie Coleman. I see your point but still seems backwards to me. The training to look a certain way rather then training to do something. Like elite gymnasts who specialize in rings are jacked, but every ounce of muscle is for a purpose. Bodybuilders training to be bigger and that's it. Yeah guess there strong but it's more of a side effect.
I with you most of the way. Even when I was into BB type training I was always looking to move up my weights and stay loose enough to kickbox. If I'd stayed with it who knows?

No pics of me from back then, pre-digital/cellphone camera, but I still have the faded stretch marks around my armpits and inside edge of my legs from really pushing it. Back then when I looked down I couldn't see my feet for the size of my pecs - it's an addictive feeling. Walk into a club with a dress code wearing a spotless white tanktop tucked into Silvertabs with holes (yes, I was THAT guy) and the doorman takes a step back...:D
 

Mark Kidd

Level 5 Valued Member
Sorry about my little rants there, but I really feel like all this dishonesty is just hurting everyone and detering people from getting strong when they don't get anywhere near the same results despite working hard and following "the plan".
 

krg

Level 5 Valued Member
Back to BMI - current science is pretty contradictory and simply does not support some of the current health advice - in the same way as low fat diets are not supported by science.

Association of All-Cause Mortality With Overweight and Obesity Using Standard Body Mass Index CategoriesA Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Note that being 'overweight' is associated with lower mortality until you get to high levels of obesity...

....and being underweight is actually pretty bad for you

thanks to @Bill Been for originally posting this.
 

Bill Been

Level 6 Valued Member
Mr. Read is never shy about expressing his hit-driving opinions. I take them with a grain of salt. One about the size of a salt lick one might encounter in a pasture or near a deer stand.

Sarcopenia and osteopenia and frailty in aging are real, kids. Muscle protein synthesis, protein uptake, and tolerance to the high volumes of training that are the most effective drivers of the hypertrophy that can counteract this maladaptive aging - are all blunted by....aging. Bummer.

By your late 40s it's time to get over your infatuation with fitting into skinny boy jeans and looking rather "fit" as long as you strip off enough clothing to allow people to be mirin' your leanness. Because by that point, if you are not actively training to add muscle to your frame, you are losing it at a rate of about 5% a year, getting worse every year. How anybody that knows that who also understands the importance of muscle for health and function yet still pats himself on the back for being skinny is beyond me, but it points to the pervasiveness of the "skinny = healthy" meme.
 

Steve Freides

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... by that point [your late 40s], if you are not actively training to add muscle to your frame, you are losing it at a rate of about 5% a year, getting worse every year.
This needn't be an either/or proposition. At age 62, I do not training to "actively ... add muscle," I train a few, low-rep sets of a few lifts most days. (My training log is online at We Ride Chickens for anyone wanting to see what I do.)

How anybody that knows that who also understands the importance of muscle for health and function yet still pats himself on the back for being skinny is beyond me, but it points to the pervasiveness of the "skinny = healthy" meme.
In my country at this writing in late 2017, 20% of children and 40% of adults are obese - I'll go with "skinny = healthy," thank you, and wish that more people did what's necessary to be healthy. I've got enough muscle to perform the lifts I train at the weights I want - why would I want to add muscle?

-S-
 

jef

I am a student of strength.
Certified Instructor
@Steve Freides
You are skinny, but you are strong.

I am with @Bill Been though.

We have a problem with too many overweighted and obese people (and with kids, even), true. I do not think that many people think that being overly fat is good, even fat people. Most of the time, overweighted people I know admit they should do something about it. They just feel they have other priorities in their life at that moment to do so (I often disagree, but I digress).

On the other hand, the skinny/weak people I know think it is healthy to be so, because of the sur-valorisation of skinny models in the past 50 years. Anorexia is unfortunately becoming an increasing issue among teenagers, and the skinny=healthy meme has a lot to do with it.
 

Steve Freides

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@jef, the skinny models are only a problem if you choose to look at and then pay attention to them. I do my best to avoid the former and pay no attention to what of them I do see whatsoever.

Anyone have statistics about how many overweight folks we have and by how much, comparing that to how many underweight folks we have and by how much?

Look, e.g., at video of any athletic competition from the 1970's - baseball, basketball, etc. That's a body composition I aspire to. Much of what I see on the field of sports today is overweight, too. IMHO, we in the US have a warped conception of what a normal body composition is.

My 2.5 x bodyweight deadlift is nothing to write home about, and the fact that it sets records is a shame. I'll go get those records, mind you, and be happy about it, but my point remains. I am not strong, just not weak. My level of strength should be what constitutes normal in most people's minds, not exceptional.

-S-
 

jef

I am a student of strength.
Certified Instructor
Steve, I don't think you are a teenager anymore. :)

How do you define skinny? Are you really skinny?
We met only once IRL (Prague Flexible steel - great memory, by the way). I remember you as thin, not skinny.

BMI is not a good marker, but still can be used as a starting point. Are you closer to the over-weighted limit or the under-weighted one? If you define yourself as skinny, I would expect you to be closer to the lower limit.

Let's take my example.
In Europe, you are considered under-weighted with a BMI under 18,5, and over-weighted with a BMI of 25.
I am 1,71 m.
At 54 kg, I would still be considered normal. I don't even remember when I weighted that little.
At 73,1kg, I would be considered overweighted.
If I have to choose between 54 and 73,1, I do not hesitate one single second.
My current BMI is 24,3. I am close to being over-weighted.
I am neither fat nor muscular.

I already wrote a few posts earlier that I am not an advocate of overly big muscles, especially for the general population. Most people would do well by working on strength and let hypertrophy be a side effect, in my opinion.

But when comes the choice between sightly over-weighted or under-weighted, my choice goes to the former. Always.
 
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