Enhance your Body Strength without Increasing Size

female taking part in exercise

Not all athletes and sportsmen wish to get a muscular physique

There are people like wrestlers, gymnasts, and athletes who make their own weight act as the primary resistance. For them, strength is very important while the additional muscular bulk can prove to be a hindrance. Every individual wishing to increase strength should know that strength is not a muscle property solely; instead, it is a property of our motor system.

Our body increases strength in two ways – firstly, by recruiting an increased number of muscle fibres in a specific muscle group, and secondly, by increasing the frequency of firing of the motor neurons. There are several ways in which you can increase your body strength, without increasing your size. This article illustrates a few of these ways.

Lift Heavy Weights:

Lifting heavy, i.e., over 90% 1RM would improve your strength by recruiting motor units of high–threshold. The muscle fibres connected with these motor units comprise the highest potential for heightening strength. However, these muscle fibres may fatigue quite fast. Maximal lifting is applicable to multijoint exercises in the best way.

These exercises include pulls, presses, deadlifts and squats. Although the weight is quite heavy, you should try to move it as quick as possible. Doing such would help your body recruit muscle fibres of fast-twitch type in as many numbers as possible.

Lift Explosively:

Speed lifts like speed dead, box squats and speed bench are great lifting styles for teaching power development and acceleration. Loads of about 60% 1RM should be employed and moved at the fastest possible speed. Accommodating resistance like chains and bands can be employed to challenge your ability to accelerate the load further. Some obvious exercises are Olympic lifts, such as snatch, jerk and clean.

Other exercises falling in this category are kettlebell swings and medicine ball throws.

Perform Plyometric:

Plyometric training is also called jump training, and it involves exercises of hop-and-jump type, which develop and train the stretch-shortening cycle. The stretch-shortening cycle helps the body to utilize the stored elastic energy in a better way to generate forceful and stronger contractions.

Weighted plyometric exercises can be performed like ‘continuous dumbbell jump squats’ or ‘consecutive body-weight jumps over hurdles’.

Reduce the Volume:

For building both size and strength, the common protocol is 5×5. However, this can be changed to 2-3 sets, for lowering the potential of muscle building. Focusing on the bar speed and reducing the volume would lead to better training effects in the improvement of explosive power and strength, rather than muscle expansion.

Furthermore, your training frequency would be dropping from 4-5 times per week, which is for bodybuilding, to 1-3 times per week, for strength training. The frequency also depends on the time of the year.


These are some effective ways in  which you can heighten your body strength, without increasing muscles.

Following these steps would help you significantly to achieve your goal of having increased body strength.

Such a workout would also improve your overall health and fitness.


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