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#428250 - 07/12/10 05:10 PM Strength and not bulk
Squirtle Offline

Registered: 08/19/07
Posts: 7
I'm wondering if there is a certain way you lift or any other kind of workout to do if you want to build strength and get as little bulk as possible. I want to be strong but not gain as much muscle mass anymore. Thanks

#428265 - 07/13/10 09:36 AM Re: Strength and not bulk [Re: Squirtle]
sstefan Offline

Registered: 06/26/10
Posts: 22
well its simple, bulking workouts have a small number of repetitions (between 8 and 12 reps) and using 8-12RM weights. For strength training you need to do 20+ repetitions with a weight that is 30-35% of your bodyweight.
In case of bodyweight training the best way is this: do a max repetition set and then calculate the 70% of the max set and do 3-5 sets at 70%.
The harder you train, the harder it is to surrender.

#428267 - 07/13/10 12:43 PM Re: Strength and not bulk [Re: sstefan]
Squirtle Offline

Registered: 08/19/07
Posts: 7
What are 8-12RM weights? When I use dumbells should I just use 20's or 25's? And also, how many sets should I do of the 20+ repetitions. Thanks for the help, much appreciated.

#428278 - 07/13/10 08:26 PM Re: Strength and not bulk [Re: Squirtle]
SocratesTheBeast Offline
The Powerlifting Beast

Registered: 07/13/10
Posts: 10
Loc: Brooklyn (Fort Greene)
What exercises you wanna do? What you wanna get strong in? I started lifting SERIOUSLY June 1st, I went from a 185 bench to 225, and I started out deadlifting 280 and the highest weight I hit was 170, it all depends on your diet/activities.

I can give you some good exercises and a good bench program, with my bench program I go up 5-7 pounds every week.
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#428304 - 07/14/10 12:21 PM Re: Strength and not bulk [Re: Squirtle]
Kathryn Offline

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 262
Loc: Washington, DC

I understand what you are getting at, because I became musclebound in the shoulder area from power lifting and it interfered with my weapons training.

Definitely using the smaller weight/higher rep technique will help.

One method I switched to for strength is body-weight exercises, which would include your basic pullups and pushups, or using resistance bands. You can build strength that way without a lot of bulk.

Be nice, until it's time to not be nice.

#428307 - 07/14/10 02:21 PM Re: Strength and not bulk [Re: Kathryn]
MattJ Offline
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Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
Powerlifting will *not* make anyone 'musclebound'. That comes from poor training form, sorry. High reps over long time (even body weight stuff) can cause over-training injuries which are painful and permanent - trust me on this. frown

As to the OP, strength training will cause muscle growth, no way around it. The amount can vary by genes, diet, and training type and amount. You would need to be much more specific about for what purpose you are trying to gain strength.
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

#428311 - 07/14/10 04:09 PM Re: Strength and not bulk [Re: MattJ]
Supremor Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/22/04
Posts: 2510
Loc: UK
If you are trying to limit muscular hypertrophy and increase strength, then you are best off doing a low rep, low volume, high weight workout. The thing is, if you are starting weight training for the first time, then it is simply not a good idea to start off with such a workout.

When you start lifting, muscle growth is pretty unavoidable, and simple workouts are probably just as effective (if not more so) than complicated or specific ones. If you are looking to get stronger but not put on weight, then you probably are setting out with a wrong-headed notion of what more muscle means.

As Matt said, getting more muscular does not mean you should get slower, less flexible or anything of the sort. If that was the case, how could olympic gymnasts do what they do, since many of them are definitely muscle-bound. The point is, weight training just like any other sport requires you to work simultaneously on your flexibility (particularly your joint mobility), and your quickness. If you play football then you stretch properly, and you should do the same when lifting. If you don't then evidently you are going to do yourself damage in the long term.

If you want to weight train, and I highly recommend it for people looking to get better at their sport, then you should seek appropriate instructors and knowledgeable people who you can trust. I would also recommend you try to train at a gym, and not at home, where you can get advice and guidance on proper form, and maybe even meet others who have similar goals and will push you to do better.

#428312 - 07/14/10 04:18 PM Re: Strength and not bulk [Re: Supremor]
Prizewriter Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2573
I had a shoulder injury from Oly weightlifting days. I never really stretched at all.

I eased of the lifting after a leg injury. Took up yoga and both injuries cleared up. Started back in to lifting and kept the yoga up, and have been injury free for the past year.

I am shifting simialr weight now but have a far greater range of motion and overall flexibiity than I've had since well, I was crawling round in nappies (diapers, if you will).

Pilates coach and author Daniel Lyons credits Pilates for clearing up long standing BJJ and Powerlifting injuries he carried.

Just as the guys have said stretching properly is essential if you are going to do strength training.
"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" Hippocrates.

#428317 - 07/14/10 08:28 PM Re: Strength and not bulk [Re: Prizewriter]
Stormdragon Offline
Who Dares Wins
Professional Poster

Registered: 08/05/04
Posts: 3409
Loc: Salem, OR
20 reps or ore will not make you very strong. It has benefits and done right will not, in my experience anyway, cause any real overuse injuries but strength isn't something you'll get that way. 8-12 reps to failure for 3-4 sets and over a couple exercises per workout per uscle group usually puts on size fastest but that has more to do with genes and diet. Low resps (3-5), not to failure and for many sets will give you more raw strength with as little bulk as possible. But as several have said here bulk will happen somewhat at least.
And like others have said muscle DOES NOT have to make you inflexible though it can (and for me it has but that's an issue of not stretching enough).
an 8-12 RM means whatever weight you can do for no more than 8-12 reps (i.e 8, 10, 12, or whatever you're concerned with) without stopping using a maximum effort (to failure).
And as has also been stated, DEFINITELY get some classes or at least books on the subject before you hit the iron pile. Injuries are the biggest problem with young athletes who use weights. I've seen guys tear pecs before (in high school), it's not pretty.
Member of DaJoGen MMA school under Dave Hagen and Team Chaos fight team under Denver Mangiyatan and Chris Toquero, ran out of Zanshin Martial Arts in Salem Oregon:,

#428343 - 07/15/10 08:41 PM Re: Strength and not bulk [Re: SocratesTheBeast]
Squirtle Offline

Registered: 08/19/07
Posts: 7
Sure, I'd like to know your bench workout

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