How to get stronger without getting bigger?

30th November, -0001 Styrketrening

How to get stronger without getting bigger?

Many people have the misconception that the size of the muscles is the only factor that determines how strong you are, and since there are many people who do not want big muscles, they end up skipping strength training. The truth is that there are several factors that come into play when trying to gain strength, and it's possible to become stronger without developing large muscles. While many of us want to get stronger, and would indeed benefit from it, some will prefer to gain strength without the extra size. This is especially true for ladies. Before we go into how you can become stronger without getting bigger, it is important to emphasize that becoming very muscular as a woman, often requires a lot of exercise and a very strict diet. In addition to that, there are women who alter their hormones in an unnatural way to increase muscle mass further. There are only a very few ladies who naturally have enough testosterone to get very large muscles. We do not recommend anyone to go to the extreme, and if you follow our advice and listen to your body, strength training will initially only help you to shape and strengthen the body and be more healthy.

Starting with, or increasing the amount of strength training will generally increase the size of the muscles, especially if you are a beginner. Right after exercise, you may notice that your muscles look bigger than you prefer, depending on what your goal is. But, there is little reason to despair or cheer. This is due to increased blood circulation(pump) and water retention in the muscles which causes them to "swell up". This usually decreases after 60-90 minutes. If you want to become stronger, while minimizing muscle volume, both diet and the way you exercise are crucial. You may therefore want to do some research before you start ...

In this article, we answer the question "Can you get stronger without getting bigger?" and provides expert advice on how to get stronger with minimal increase in muscle volume.

Eat healthy

Your diet is an important factor in gaining strength without a lot of extra muscle mass. In addition to exercising properly, it will be beneficial to avoid a lot of fatty foods and unnecessary carbohydrates.

If your goal is to get stronger without getting bigger, you also need to be careful about your diet and avoid skipping meals. This diet should be rich in protein, moderate in healthy fats and lower in carbohydrates. You should also be careful about your intake of vegetables. (1) Breakfast should be eaten within one hour after waking up, and then you should eat a meal about every three to four hours throughout the day.

Drink plenty of water

Although it is easy to think that exercise and diet are the most important factors when it comes to strength training, muscle growth and performance, water is the crucial factor. Water is extremely important to ensure strength gain through exercise. Muscle tissue consists of about 70-75% water - and even with minimal dehydration, 2-3%, muscle strength is reduced. (1, 2) Research has also shown that when muscle cells lose water, protein production decreases while the breakdown of protein in the cells increases. Although more research is required in the field, it may seem that this makes it more difficult to build muscle cells after exercise. (3,4,5) In order to get the maximum effect from the strength training, it is therefore important to remember the water bottle both before, during and after the training. By drinking enough water, you ensure that protein is not broken down as a result of dehydration. What is enough water for you is determined by many factors such as activity level, intensity of exercise, whether you sweat a lot, what you eat, height, age, etc. We only get the feeling of being thirsty when we are already dehydrated. We therefore recommend not waiting to drink until you are thirsty, but rather make it a habit and drink evenly throughout the day.

A balanced diet and enough water intake will replenish electrolytes, which can help with muscle growth. (6) Enough water will also improve health in general, and is all in all very important to us. So, always have a bottle of water available!

Lots of rest

Having good rest, both between exercise and at night when you sleep, will benefit muscle growth and overall health. Research has shown that sleep is absolutely crucial for performance and recovery when it comes to training in general, and thus also strength training. If you don't get enough sleep, this will weaken your muscle strength. (8)

It has also been proven that when training with heavy weights, rest between exercise sets is important. This can restore the glycogen stores in the muscle so that they perform better for the next set. To get stronger muscles when lifting heavy, you should wait between 2-5 minutes between sets. Longer rest periods mean you can lift the same heavy weights, with the same number of reps several times. It also helps to recover the muscles and minimize fatigue, making you ready for your next exercise. In addition, rest between sets is important to prevent injury. (9)

Remember that muscle strength will increase over time, not during workouts. During the workouts, you actually break down the muscles. Enough rest, combined with the right nutrition and enough water will provide the best conditions for your muscles to get stronger. 

Lift heavy

When you set a goal to become stronger, you have to push some boundaries. This means that you have to choose heavier weights over light ones while making sure to focus on doing every repetition with proper form. By gradually increasing your maximum capacity, you will become stronger and reach new milestones for your strength training.

Lifting heavy is important to increase strength, but always lift within your limits. What "heavy" means depends on the person. So lift what you feel is heavy, but not beyond the limits of what you can do with good technique, as this can be dangerous. Heavy weight training has been shown to slowly but surely increase muscle strength, in addition to providing good calorie burning, which means you will stay in shape while maintaining good strength.

If you want to get stronger, but want to avoid getting bigger, you can burn calories through low-intensity cardio sessions after weight training. By having a high protein intake compared to carbohydrates combined with cardio sessions after exercise, you will more easily stay lean while you can become stronger due to continued progression with weight training.

Improve muscle strength

It is possible to maximize strength while minimizing muscle growth with the steps above. We also offer a membership where you get a training plan tailored to your needs and body type.

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