Bigger muscles grow slower or faster?

Discussion in 'Basic Training Principles and Methods' started by jsraaf, May 8, 2003.

  1. jsraaf

    jsraaf New Member

    OK, here's a really stupid question:

    Does a larger muscle/muscle group - like pecs, quad, back, etc. - tend to grow more quickly or more slowly than smaller muscles such as bicep/tricep, etc.?

    Or is there no real relationship between muscle group size & potential rate of growth - does it merely depend on the effectiveness of the exercises being used?

    Thanks for indulging my ignorance on this!
  2. BIZ

    BIZ New Member

    I'll attempt to address your question to the best of my knowledge. A muscles size can impact the rate at which it can grow or APPEAR to grow, but it is relative to the muscle you are looking at. Of course the upper leg can grow more than say, the biceps, due to the higher number of muscle fibers and the grouping of different muscle groups. Some muscle tend to take up nutrients better as well such as creatine. I believe the quads are one of the more effecient in this matter.

    Genetics, of course, play a role in how fast a muscle can grow being it is primarily genetics that determine whether or not a particular muscle group is composed of more fast twitch, slow twitch, or a perfect mix, how many mitochondria are in a muscle group, etc...

    If a muscle is bigger due to training then the rate at which it can grow will be slower than that of a begginers muscle dependent on how close you are to the "natural-ceiling".
  3. micmic

    micmic New Member

    If we impose the same workload on them, I don't think there will be any significant difference. If it takes 1 year for the biceps to grow by 10%, it should also take the quads 1 year for a 10% increase. I base this on my observation that most bodybuilders tend to retain their analogies when they grow, unless they focus on a specific bodypart or unless they have a genetically weak or strong bodypart.
  4. BIZ

    BIZ New Member

    I somewhat agree with what you say. In theory, if you progress the load at an equal rate, then two differetn muscles should grow at the same rate. Unfortunately, this is not true in practice due to several possible reasons. The main one being genetics of course, as in the slow twitch to fast twitch ratio, tendon length, etc... The best example would be calves compared to any other body part. We hear all the time of people who just cannot get their calves to grow, no matter what they do, but their quads grow like weeds.
  5. Kate

    Kate New Member

    The ankle is a different class lever than most of the joints in our body so this is partly a matter of physics and load distribution.

    Still, the wisest thing to do for great calves is to pick the right parents ;)

  6. Bryan Haycock

    Bryan Haycock Administrator Staff Member

    Not really much to add here. But as far as calves go, they are probably the hardest worked muscle we have in terms of absolute load and volume. So consider what would happen if they (your calves) grew as easily as a muscle like your quads or your butt? You would get HYUGE calves probably to the point of musculoskeltal disfunction. So, whether you think in terms of type-I/type-II, fast/slow twitch, red/white, or even MHCs, you can also think of it in terms of evolution/function. It simply would make sense to have the calves overly sensitive to loading.

    kate is right on of course, if you want big calves pick the right parents. But this just testifies of the genetic component determining which muscle groups hypertrophy more easily than others.

    And of course the "relative" growth as a function of the total number of fibers in a muscle contributing to the actual change in girth.

    Ok, I'm rambling...

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