Is muscle size equal to strength?


Muscle size and strength are related but not synonymous. Several experts on the topic have shared insights on this:

  1. Bigger Muscles Contract Harder:

    • explains that a larger muscle will generally contract harder than a smaller one. Therefore, if all other factors are equal, a person with bigger muscles will be stronger 1.
  2. Early Training Career:

    • According to , early in a person’s training career, an increase in strength is closely tied to muscle growth. As training progresses, the link between muscle size and strength can diminish but never fully disappears 2.
  3. Role of Neural Adaptation:

    • notes that initial strength gains are often due to neural adaptations, such as improved coordination and increased activation of motor neurons. Over time, increases in muscle size do contribute to strength but are not the sole factor 3.

      Muscle Size and Strength

      Sal and Justin discuss the relationship between muscle size and strength, emphasizing that a bigger muscle will contract harder than a smaller muscle. They also promote their free guides on building muscle and achieving a flat midsection, as well as their discounted RGB Super Bundle for expert exercise programming.

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  4. Variability Between Individuals:

    • There is variability in how muscle size and strength correlate among individuals. mentions that some individuals may experience significant muscle growth without corresponding increases in strength, and vice versa 4.
  5. Technical Skill and CNS:

    • Strength is also influenced by skill and technique as well as central nervous system (CNS) efficiency. For instance, someone highly skilled in a particular lift might outperform a more muscular person who lacks the same technique proficiency: 5.

In summary, while bigger muscles can contribute to greater strength, several other factors, including neural adaptations, technique, and CNS efficiency, play critical roles. The relationship between muscle size and strength is complex and multifaceted.