When you head into the resistance-training portion of your workout routine, do you do so with long- term goals in mind? If you’re lifting for maintenance or just trying to keep your body healthy, that’s great. But if you’re working your way toward specific goals, these goals should play a strong role in your approach to lifting, including your weight, reps, diet, and technique.
Mass and Strength: What are the Benefits One versus The Other?
Lifting for mass means building the size of your arms and legs without worrying much about making them stronger or improving your athletic performance. Big muscles are like a fashion accessory—They stand out, they change the way your clothes fit, and they can help you gain an edge in competitive body building. If you want a muscular look, you can definitely get it, but you won’t get there very fast if you choose moves and techniques that are designed for strength.
On the other hand, strength and performance don’t always translate into huge bulky muscles. In fact, the opposite may be true depending on your unique physiology. Choose this path if you want powerful muscles and are fine with a look that’s lean and toned.
To build strength in your chosen area, the first move will be finding the right guide. A knowledgeable coach or mentor can keep your training regimen—which may be complex—on track. Don’t just throw yourself into new moves on your own. Consult the internet or talk to someone who excels in your chosen sport.
Meanwhile, you’ll be lifting with a focus on reps and technique, not weight. You’ll usually be lifting lighter and longer than your bulked-out counterparts. Avoid questionable supplements, and eat plenty of chicken, fish, leafy green vegetables, and plant proteins like nuts and legumes.
To build volume and mass, use heavier weights and lower reps. Have your coach or mentor walk you through the drop-down or burn-down method, which will mean lifting until you experience muscle failure. This will contribute to the hypertrophy, or miniscule tissue damage, that builds volume. Be safe—lifting for mass often means lifting weights outside your comfort zone, so make sure you lift with a spotter.