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Couch potatoes and the general public might use the terms “muscle building ” and “strength training” interchangeably, but they are two very different kinds of exercise programs and sports. Actually, you probably have some idea of how they’re different. Picture the big Russian weight lifters you see in the Olympics. The guys with huge bellies, tree trunk legs who jerk those mammoth barbells off the floor, and grunt as they lift them over their heads for a second, before dropping them.
Those are men who have done strength training. Then think of the guys and gals- up on a stage, oiling their bodies and posing , flexing away in a riot of different ego satisfying positions. These are body builders. As big and defined as they are, they couldn’t compete with the guys jerking those weights in terms of strength. Body builders slave away in the gym for big, well-defined muscles, not god-like strength.
Not surprisingly, the two different kinds of bodies are acquired through very different exercises and diet regimens. The muscle shirt crowd goes to the gym and works on every muscle during the course of week’s time. Strength training focuses on the core areas of the body. This is not to say that all of the strength training exercises are different.
Both body builders and those doing strength training do, for instance, bench presses and squats. For the body builder, however, the goal is to exhaust the muscle so that it breaks down and rebuilds even bigger. They do a higher number of rep during a set. But those doing strength training lift heavier weights.
Bodybuilders typically spend 5 or 6 days a week in the gym, working different muscle groups on alternate days. They also have to watch their diets carefully, optimizing them for protein intake and fat reduction.
Strength training can be limited to a series of 5 or 6 exercises, all of which are performed on the two or three days a week he trains. Unlike a body builder, those engaged in building their strength will be perform sets of fewer reps, but will increase the amount they lift from set to set.
In fact, a striking thing is to watch a guy with a definite gut walk over to the bench press and lift much more than some bulky and cut bodybuilder. The fellow who’s into strength training doesn’t concern himself with trimming away practically every sliver of body fat so that his muscles will show more.
If you’re weighing whether to spend your time body building or doing strength training, assess what your needs and interests are. If you’re a athlete, strength training offers much, regardless of the sport you play. If, however, you want to achieve a set of big and well defined muscles, if want a well balanced body on which every muscle stands out so much that it could be labeled for an anatomy textbook, then you’ll want to invest your efforts in the exercise routines and nutritional lifestyle of bodybuilding.
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