The difference between muscle size and muscle strength... There seems to be some confusion for people when it comes to distinguishing between size and strength. Why are some people big but not so strong? And why are some people small but super strong? This comes down to strength being a neural quality. Without getting into all the science, basically... strength is dictated by your brains ability to send a signal down to your muscle and activate the muscle fibres. A stronger person can send a stronger signal to activate more muscle fibre, which means greater contraction and greater force production. Therefore, a bigger muscle is not always a stronger muscle. This might be confusing to some people as they think - “bigger muscle, more strength, right?” Wrong... You can have huge muscles, but if your brain can’t activate these muscles then it’s just extra weight that you have to move around the field / court / pitch. If you take a smaller person that can send a strong signal and activate most of their muscle available (let’s use an arbitrary % of 80%) and compare that to a larger person who can’t send the same signals to their muscles and can activate only 50% of the available muscle - the smaller person will be the stronger athlete, even though they have less muscle mass, they’re able to ‘use’ more of it.
However, a bigger muscle has the POTENTIAL to be a stronger muscle. How? As we said earlier, strength is neural (it comes from the brain and nervous system). If we take that scenario above comparing the small and large person and we give the large person some specific strength training for a few months. The large person will increase their ability to send signals and activate more muscle mass. If they increase the amount of muscle they can activate to the same 80% level of the smaller person, the bigger person has now become the strongest. They are both activating 80% of their muscle but the bigger person has more muscle available = stronger contraction = greater force production = greater strength. Tomorrow we’ll go over how to train specifically for strength! 👊🏼 #one22