Is It Good To Train For Mass (Hypertrophy)?

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Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@jef

This says I'm almost overweight, like you. Using:

Adult Body Mass Index or BMI

For the information you entered:

Height: 5 feet, 7 inches

Weight: 153 pounds

Your BMI is 24, indicating your weight is in the Normal category for adults of your height.

For your height, a normal weight range would be from 118 to 159 pounds.


-S-
 

Kettlebelephant

Level 6 Valued Member
But when comes the choice between sightly over-weighted or under-weighted, my choice goes to the former. Always.
I think that is even supported by studies, right? IIRC older people who are slightly overweight (according to BMI) are at a lower risk of dying than lighter people.

Regarding "skinny".
I think everyone has a different perception of skinny.
For example Richard Sherman is 6'3, 197lbs (that's a 24.6 BMI).
On the field IMO he looks skinny compared to to the other players, but look at him when he stands next to regular people like reporters etc. Not skinny at all.
 

NoahMarek

Level 5 Valued Member
I also agreed with @Steve Freides . I think it is most important to strength train and be physical active than actively try to be muscle building. Muscle should be the byproduct. That being said, training for some hypertrophy isn’t a bad idea either. Bottom line: if you are doing proper resistance training and are physically active, you should have plenty of strong muscle on your frame.

*Oh, and add a nutritious diet and proper sleep to that!
 

jef

I am a student of strength.
Certified Instructor
@Steve Freides
I knew you were not that skinny. :)

@Kettlebelephant
Those studies show correlation, not causality. There is often a common cause to low BMI and death, like a long sickness. That said, I also think that slightly overweighted people have the reserve to fight sickness better than under-weighted people.

You're right. Context is important. I have seen skinny rugbymen on TV. Then I saw them IRL. Not so skinny...

@NoahMarek
I actually also agree with that and mostly treat hypertrophy as a side effect. Getting stronger usually does the trick.
Just to give an example, I currently train a young rugbyman. He is a novice, strength-wise, so we follow a novice barbell program to get him stronger. Four weeks in, he gained 2kg, without even trying. Nice side-effect.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
For my height, it's 118 lbs. on the low end. I don't know anyone my height who weighs 118 lbs. - at my least muscular and skinniest, I might make it to the next weight class, which is 132, but I can't imagine getting lighter than that.

No doubt that bone structure has at least some bearing on this, too.

-S-
 

Bill Been

Level 6 Valued Member
Steve do you think you're adding muscle, losing muscle to sarcopenia, or remaining steady?

Do you have reason to doubt the importance of muscle mass for health in aging?

You mentioned the increasing numbers of obese Americans and cite that as a rationale for your belief that "skinny = healthy". Do you regard population-level trends as prescriptive for individuals who strength train with a barbell?
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Steve do you think you're adding muscle, losing muscle to sarcopenia, or remaining steady?
I don't know. I don't pay much attention to this. My weight remains steady so "remaining steady" would be my guess.

Do you have reason to doubt the importance of muscle mass for health in aging?
No, but you said that one must actively train to add muscle, and I don't agree with you, and I don't do that.

You mentioned the increasing numbers of obese Americans and cite that as a rationale for your belief that "skinny = healthy". Do you regard population-level trends as prescriptive for individuals who strength train with a barbell?
No. I regard the average, popular, or whatever you want to call it image of "normal" in the US as skewed - we think we should be bigger than I think is necessary or good. We, on average, weighed less and should weigh less again. Strength training with a barbell doesn't have to mean significant weight gain, nor does it mean one should focus on that without good reason.

-S-
 

the hansenator

Level 6 Valued Member
@jef

This says I'm almost overweight, like you. Using:

Adult Body Mass Index or BMI

For the information you entered:

Height: 5 feet, 7 inches

Weight: 153 pounds

Your BMI is 24, indicating your weight is in the Normal category for adults of your height.

For your height, a normal weight range would be from 118 to 159 pounds.


-S-
Speaking of BMI - I just got the results back from my health and wellness screening at work. My waist measurement is an inch smaller than last year but my BMI went up. How does that work?
 

Kettlebelephant

Level 6 Valued Member
Speaking of BMI - I just got the results back from my health and wellness screening at work. My waist measurement is an inch smaller than last year but my BMI went up. How does that work?
Easy answer - muscle weighs more than fat.
You probably lost a couple of pounds of fat, but added even more pounds of muscle. Your waist measurement would decrease, but your weight and therefore BMI would increase.
Look at the picture below. The 2Kg of fat are ~3x the size of 2Kg of muscle. You could lose 2Kg of fat and add 6Kg of muscle and your size would stay the same while your total weight would have gone up by 4Kg.

fat-vs-muscles.jpg
 

jca17

Level 5 Valued Member
I feel like gaining strength without adding muscle is a special case for specific circumstances, rather than the optimal adaptation, (where adding muscle is treated like some sort of special case for limited circumstances).
Dan John talks about this quite a bit, the importance of hypertrophy training as we age. Pavel shared a deadlift program he had his dad on in senior age group that involved sets of 10 in the deadlift I believe, which I don't think he would program for a 25 year old.
The main reasons I can think of off the top of my head to avoid adding muscle are:
1. Weight class sports
2. You already have so much muscle that doctor has pointed out negative impact on joints or total body health
(guys and gals this big in a muscular sense are rare in the general public)
3. You prefer (or require) your current aesthetic (choosing not to add muscle can be more of an aesthetic decision than putting on muscle based on the person's preference)
4. Favorite activities favor lower body weight (like climbing, or maybe running, activities that involve manipulating your own bodyweight))

Except for these situations, I can't see why one would actively avoid adding muscle.
 
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StrongestXen

Admin
Staff member
I find it hard to believe this image:

upload_2017-10-18_9-22-3.png

My meat portions are nowhere near 2 kg :), but the portion size is, sometimes, similar to above. That looks like a 300 gr, maybe 400 gr, piece of meat. If that part is not right, why believe it at all?


Muscle density is 1.06 g/ml and fat density is (about) 0.9 g/ml.
One liter of muscle would weight 1.06 kg and one liter of fat would weight 0.9 kg.
Muscle is about 18% denser than fat.
For the above example. 2 kg of fat would be 2.22 liter, 2 kg of muscle 1.89 liter. Not that big a difference.

Densities of Different Body Matter

Anybody with another source on muscle, fat density?
 

Kettlebelephant

Level 6 Valued Member
@StrongestXen @Antti
You find pictures like that all over the place, but on a second thought I agree that my picture can't be true, because comparing the meat to the pen in no way that piece of meat is 2Kg.

A 18% difference in density is still not insignificant though. The principle that "muscle weighs more than fat" is still true, just not to the extreme extend I and others thought it was.

Additional (although very minimal) changes to weight and therefore BMI can happen as a result of more bone density, which can be a result of resistance training.

And let's not forget daily fluctuations. Waking up after not drinking and eating for 8-10 hours and then going for A+B on the toilette and I can weigh 0.5-1.5Kg less than in the afternoon the day before with something in my stomach, a full colon and a full bladder.
At my height and weight a 1Kg difference is a 0.25 difference in BMI.
Would be interesting to know by how much @the hansenator 's BMI increased between the measurings.
 

the hansenator

Level 6 Valued Member
At my height and weight a 1Kg difference is a 0.25 difference in BMI.
Would be interesting to know by how much @the hansenator 's BMI increased between the measurings.
It increased by about 1 point - from 24.6 last year to 25.5 this year. Turns out they only use weight and height to calculate it. Mass can be redistributed from your belly to your shoulders and the results would be the same. I've gotten stronger since a year ago so I suspect that has something to do with it.
 

Kettlebelephant

Level 6 Valued Member
Turns out they only use weight and height to calculate it.
Yes, those are the only two variables for BMI and then after that they add age to assess your result, because the "ideal BMI" score changes as you age.

Mass can be redistributed from your belly to your shoulders and the results would be the same. I've gotten stronger since a year ago so I suspect that has something to do with it.
That's what I mean. You most likely added muscle to other parts of your body (like the shoulders) and lost fat around the waist.
The term "redistribute" is often misleading IMO, because it's not the same tissues that "wanders around" in the body.
I'm not an expert in this field, but I think it is highly unlikely to lose fat at the waist and at the same time gain fat at other parts of the body. You either lose fat or you don't, but you don't lose it at X and simultaneously add it at Y.
Not that you wanted to say this, just clearing that up for other readers who might not know this.
 

Mark Kidd

Level 4 Valued Member
@Steve Freides

Not to be that guy, but you mentioned that your weight stays more or less the same. I would argue you are engaged in hypertropy, just not actively. Otherwise due to scaropinia, your weight should go down (I think you would notice fat gain to replace the missing weight).
 
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