Weight training, unanswered questions (Sorry)



MintID

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Sep 22, 2006
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I know this topic has been discussed A LOT!

But I have some thoughts, that I haven't seen discussed anywhere else, so here goes.

  1. It's important to have a high mitochondrial/capillary density - Is it possible that increasing the CSA/size of a muscle leaves more room for more total mitochondria? I know this wont improve the density, but wouldn't this allow for a higher number of total mitochondria?
  2. So if a rider wasn't too concerned about his power to weight ratio but more concerned about his total watts (time trialist) Wouldn't a bigger muscle allow this rider to build more total mitochondria/capillaries, even though the density would be worse?
  3. We often talk about BIG riders having a bigger absolute Vo2max (liters/minute) than smaller riders. or even muscular riders vs. skinny riders of the same height. if this doesn't have to do with muscle size, then why is it?
  4. When someone is talking about losing weight, they often say they don't want to lose too much since losing muscle will worsen power - if muscle size has nothing to do with power, and it's only the density of the muscle that's important - why are we worrying about this aspect when losing weight? I may be wrong, but wouldn't a muscle with a certain density, have the same density if that muscle had 20% of it's mass removed?



Sorry to stir this topic up again, but this is something that has been in my mind for a long time.
 

daveryanwyoming

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Oct 3, 2006
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1. No, Google 'mitochondrial dilution' which discusses why muscles fibers with bigger cross sectional area just don't 'fill up' with additional mitochondria and there appear to be limits to total mitochondria which penalizes larger muscle fibers from an endurance standpoint.

2. First you've got the answer above, bigger muscles typically can't be trained to the same mitochondrial densities, secondly even time trialists and sprinters reach a point where the extra aerodynamic penalty they pay for moving larger bodies through the atmosphere aren't worth the bigger muscles. It might be if those bigger muscles increased power rapidly enough relative to their increased frontal area but at some point bigger isn't better.

3. Heart stroke volume is a big part of VO2 Max, it's true that larger athletes tend to deliver more blood and with it more O2 per unit time as they have to support those larger bodies 24/7. So yes, get bigger and stay bigger for long enough and your body should adapt to the increased O2 demand at least to a point. But that's not necessarily because the working muscles themselves are more efficient at utilizing that excess O2 especially when you consider that type I and IIa muscle fibers are the big contributors to aerobic power production but type IIb fibers are those most readily developed through strength training.

4. Catabolizing efficient working muscles with high mitochondrial density isn't going to make you faster but that doesn't imply the inverse that developing larger cross sectional muscle fibers with lower mitochondrial density and potentially a higher percentage of type IIb fibers will necessarily make you faster at least in an endurance sense. Sure you can lose too much of your highly adapted muscle mass and lose power and speed as a result and some athletes are likely below their optimal performance weight but in general for those that haven't pushed the weight loss too far bigger muscles won't necessarily lead to better performance.

-Dave
 
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Chapeau!

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Jul 31, 2010
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Originally Posted by daveryanwyoming .
2. First you've got the answer above, bigger muscles typically can't be trained to the same mitochondrial densities, [SIZE= 18px]secondly even time trialists and sprinters reach a point where the extra aerodynamic penalty they pay for moving larger bodies through the atmosphere aren't worth the bigger muscles.[/SIZE] It might be if those bigger muscles increased power rapidly enough relative to their increased frontal area but at some point bigger isn't better.
-Dave

Weight training means bigger muscles?. News to me.

Why would you want to train hypertrophy/mass?.

Why not use weight training for just CNS stimulation?.
 

JoelTGM

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Oct 21, 2010
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Originally Posted by daveryanwyoming .


2. First you've got the answer above, bigger muscles typically can't be trained to the same mitochondrial densities, secondly even time trialists and sprinters reach a point where the extra aerodynamic penalty they pay for moving larger bodies through the atmosphere aren't worth the bigger muscles. It might be if those bigger muscles increased power rapidly enough relative to their increased frontal area but at some point bigger isn't better.

I have a hard time believing this. If we're just talking leg muscles here, and not overall body size, how could any aerodynamic penalty from wider legs totally cancel out the added power those muscles offer? This is from someone who has no idea about anything here, but I'm just curious how that could happen. Like I could understand if you have hulk on a bike, he'll be slowed down by his overall weight and size, but if it's a slim rider with wide legs, how could they not translate to more power? Wind drag can't pull on the sides of your legs THAT much.
 

fergie

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Apr 10, 2004
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That is exactly why Chris Hoy wishes his size 66cm thighs were a little smaller as he hurtles round the track (at surprisingly low forces compared to strength and power based sports) at 70kph.
 

Chapeau!

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Jul 31, 2010
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Originally Posted by fergie .

That is exactly why Chris Hoy wishes his size 66cm thighs were a little smaller as he hurtles round the track (at surprisingly low forces compared to strength and power based sports) at 70kph.

Train the CNS, forget mass.

Originally Posted by JoelTGM .
I have a hard time believing this. If we're just talking leg muscles here, and not overall body size, how could any aerodynamic penalty from wider legs totally cancel out the added power those muscles offer?. Wind drag can't pull on the sides of your legs THAT much.
+1.
 

Chapeau!

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Jul 31, 2010
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Originally Posted by Alex Simmons .

Don't feed the troll.

Pardon?.

We ermmmmm... rivalling Chris Hoy on the track or Fabian Cancellara on the road are we Alex?.

Lance supplemented his cycling with lifting way back in '99.

You'll figure it out (down in Cat.3).

Push bigger gears, you need greater & greater strength levels to achieve it.

Fabian has the ability to push larger gears, nothing more, nothing less.

You need strength to push gears (the force you apply to the pedals). The greater the force, the faster one goes, the greater one hits, throws, jumps, the faster one runs (if mass doesn't affect overall power).

Basic athletic development.

Kindergarten stuff.
 

dhk2

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Aug 8, 2006
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Originally Posted by JoelTGM .



Quote: Originally Posted by daveryanwyoming .


2. First you've got the answer above, bigger muscles typically can't be trained to the same mitochondrial densities, secondly even time trialists and sprinters reach a point where the extra aerodynamic penalty they pay for moving larger bodies through the atmosphere aren't worth the bigger muscles. It might be if those bigger muscles increased power rapidly enough relative to their increased frontal area but at some point bigger isn't better.

I have a hard time believing this. If we're just talking leg muscles here, and not overall body size, how could any aerodynamic penalty from wider legs totally cancel out the added power those muscles offer? This is from someone who has no idea about anything here, but I'm just curious how that could happen. Like I could understand if you have hulk on a bike, he'll be slowed down by his overall weight and size, but if it's a slim rider with wide legs, how could they not translate to more power? Wind drag can't pull on the sides of your legs THAT much.

It may be your assumption that bigger leg muscles offer added power is the problem. My understanding is that aerobic (sustainable) power comes from the heart/lungs/liver, and the specifically-developed cardiovascular system that gets the fuel and 02 in and the metabolic products out of the cycling-specific muscle fibers. More/bigger muscles don't help because the limitation is the central cardio system.....ie, on a hard hill climb our performance is limited by hitting max HR and "running out of breath", not by the size of our leg muscles. This is why VO2 max is a good predictor of sustainable power output and cycling performance, while the ability to squat with heavy weights means basically nothing. As a former college powerlifter, I wish it wasn't so, but it is.