In news that could send dumbbells across the country crashing to the floor in shock, a new study is claiming that bodybuilders may actually be less powerful than those who have done no weight training at all.
The revelation is part of a new study from Manchester Metropolitan University, which revealed that a gram of the average bodybuilders’ muscle is less powerful than the same amount of tissue from your average man at the gym.
According to the study, while bodybuilders boast larger muscle fibres capable of generating above-average forces, when it came to comparing smaller samples, they lacked the same muscle quality.
Professor Hans Degens, who led the study, offered up a pretty good explanation:
It appears that excessive muscle growth may have detrimental effects on the quality of the muscle, and one may well be better off with normal-sized muscles than with metabolically expensive large muscles. We had no indication that the proteins generating force – muscle motor proteins – work less in bodybuilders, but it could be that they have fewer motor proteins per gram muscle. It would be interesting to see what aspect in the training of bodybuilders causes this decrease in muscle quality.
The study also outlined that bodybuilders are only stronger than most normal folk because they have so much more muscle mass. This additional mass allows them to compensate for the weakness of their muscles – as well as for a few other things of course.
The study was conducted using small muscle samples from the thighs of 12 male body builders along with six power athletes. They were then compared with samples from 14 physically active men who did not engage in weight training.
Scientists then isolated individual muscle fibres that were tested to see how fast and powerfully they contracted in test conditions.
The research also revealed that while power athletes like runners enjoyed improved muscle quality, it was the exact opposite for bodybuilders.
At least that answers the question of who would win in a fight between Usain Bolt and The Rock.