Chances are you’ve noticed different types of “muscular” guys out there. The ones who have that hard, dense muscle look while others who look big but soft.
The type of training you do, as well as your diet and genetics will play a role in determining just how you end up. Given that most guys probably want the dense look rather than the soft look we will aim to help you train to achieve that.
This type of growth involves increasing the volume of fluids within the actual cells of the muscle. Training for this type of growth is certainly fast and effective however given that the actual fluid can’t contract you won’t get that dense look.
This is often why you see really big guys who can’t lift as much as a smaller powerlifter.
Basically, this type of training makes you look bigger but also gives you a softer look particularly when you are at higher body fat levels. If you want to grow this way you will want to train in the 10-20+ rep range.
The problem with this type of growth is that it is temporary. If you stop lifting weights for a few days your muscles can essentially “deflate” and look smaller.
The best way to picture this is to look at how your muscle changes as it goes from being pumped after a workout to being cold a few hours later.
This type of growth actually involves your muscle fibers getting bigger. Since these fibers are able to contract it tends to lead to large improvements in strength.
Although you won’t always look as big, your muscles will appear very strong and hard. As a result you will look more defined and lean. To get this type of growth you want to keep your training in the 1-8 rep range.
Myofibrillar muscle growth also has the advantage of not “deflating” should you take a few days off from the gym.
HOW TO CHOOSE WHICH ONE TO FOCUS ON
For natural lifters your best bet is to focus on myofibrillar growth at first so that you can build yourself a solid foundation of muscle. Aim for some sarcoplasmic growth later on to help round out your physique particularly on lagging areas.