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  #1  
Unread 02-17-2013, 04:08 PM
dwayne08 dwayne08 is offline
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Default Is it possible to lose muscle and get stronger?

I just completed a 4 month GBR bulk after doing UD 2.0. I was eating 3300-3500 cals with about 200 grams of protein throughout. My bench got stronger, along with pretty much every other lift and I put on 10 lbs.

I had a DEXA scan done after the UD cut and just now after I got done bulking. The results are a bit confusing for lean mass for my trunk section - it says I lost 3.2 lbs of lean mass.

I don't really see how this is possible since I didn't get weaker. The technician said that they recently changed the software method so I'm thinking that could be one reason. Another thing that I'm leaning towards is that I didn't do deadlifts during the GBR along with perhaps the carb-load affecting my DEXA results.

What do yall think?
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  #2  
Unread 02-17-2013, 04:11 PM
unk unk is offline
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Yes
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  #3  
Unread 02-17-2013, 08:17 PM
Primalkid Primalkid is offline
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DEXA scans are accurate but can be influenced by hydration level, glycogen levels, etc.
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  #4  
Unread 02-18-2013, 09:24 AM
AlexH AlexH is offline
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Like primal said, glycogen depletion and how much water weight you are holding can screw DEXA's.

I would be surprised if you had lost the full 3lbs of lean mass, you may have dropped some of that and maintained strength.

One thing to consider - when you gain strength in a lift it normally doesnt mean just and increase in lean mass, it also means a simultaneous increase in neurological strength expression and lift-specific skill.

Neurological strength expression is the development of motor unit recruitment (EDIT - ignore that last point, i've since researched further and this is not the case, 80% loading will recruit 100% of motor units) as well as increased rate coding. Both dry as all hell to understand but they mean increased strength without an increase in lean mass.

Lifting with better technique puts you at a mechanical advantage over a load, which in real terms means you can lift more. When lean mass decreases the skill developed in a given lift doesnt necessarily retrograde either.

What im saying is that take all these things together and yes, you're not hallucinating or mis-loading every time you get under neath the bar, you've kept strength and lost fat.

Well done.

Last edited by AlexH : 02-18-2013 at 09:31 AM.
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  #5  
Unread 02-18-2013, 09:54 AM
BillSpeer BillSpeer is offline
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It's possible to lose that big amount of muscle without losing strength? Hope it is not, because I don't have other ways to measure my muscle maintenance during RFL
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  #6  
Unread 02-18-2013, 10:32 AM
Primalkid Primalkid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillSpeer View Post
It's possible to lose that big amount of muscle without losing strength? Hope it is not, because I don't have other ways to measure my muscle maintenance during RFL
To expand on what Alex said with regard to motor units and neural learning, here is an excerpt from an essay I'm writing. So yes, you could lose muscle and maintain strength, but it is very unlikely. Furthermore, motor unit learning is only really applicable when your a beginner or switching exercises, which is why Lyle recommends you make routine changes during the sub-maximal run-up.

Quote:
For starters, recall that muscles contract through the stimulation of motor units. Humans (that means you and me) cannot voluntarily stimulate every motor unit within any muscle, but our activation ability improves with resistance training (Dowling, et al. 1994). One possible explanation is that your motor units are stimulated more frequently. This results in neuron hypertrophy that allows for faster motor nerve conduction. Another explanation is motor unit synchronization (Milner-Brown, Stein and Lee 1975). Under pre-training conditions, your muscles contract through stimulation of multiple motor units at various times. With resistance training, your body activates motor units simultaneously, resulting in larger force production at any contraction intensity.

The agonist-antagonist interaction is a less well understood explanation for early strength gains (Griffin and Cafarelli 2005). Contraction of an agonist muscle results in limb movement in its direction. For instance, the biceps is the agonist in a biceps curl. The antagonist muscle opposes this movement, which would be the triceps during a biceps curl. Both muscles contract when you perform a biceps curl, but resistance training reduces the antagonist co-activation, allowing the agonist to contract against less resistance and, thus, produce more force. However, the purpose of the antagonist contraction is to provide joint stability during the movement, and stability exercises have shown increases in antagonist co-activation. Therefore, it is likely that your body compromises between force production and joint-integrity depending on the stability of the movement conditions.

CNS output is more of a mind-over-matter situation. Every muscle contraction you make is determined by your brain, so it is no surprise that mental training enhances neural output. More specifically, I am talking about motor imagery practicing a task without movement (i.e. imagining the movement), which activates more motor units and increases strength during the actual exercise (Ranganathan, et al. 2004). Integrate this easily into any routine by imagining yourself performing the exercise during the rest interval.
Dowling, J J, E Konert, P Ljucovic, and D M Andrews. "Are humans able to voluntarily elicit maximum muscle force?" Neuroscience Letters 179, no. 1-2 (September 1994): 25-28.

Milner-Brown, H S, R B Stein, and R G Lee. "Synchronization of human motor units: possible roles of exercise and supraspinal reflexes." Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology 38, no. 3 (March 1975): 245-254.

Griffin, L, and E Cafarelli. "Resistance training: cortical, spinal, and motor unit adaptations." Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology 30, no. 3 (June 2005): 328-340.

Ranganathan, V K, V Siemionow, J Z Liu, V Sahgal, and G H Yue. "From mental power to muscle power--gaining strength by using the mind." Neuropsychologia 42, no. 7 (2004): 944-956.
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  #7  
Unread 02-18-2013, 11:28 AM
dwayne08 dwayne08 is offline
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Just to clarify, I did the cut before the bulk.

So the DEXA stated that I lose 3.2 lbs AFTER my bulk...
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  #8  
Unread 02-18-2013, 01:00 PM
billb7581 billb7581 is offline
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Interesting... I have still been making progress with my lifts, but my scale weight seems to have stalled at 257 or so. I am wondering if I am now actually starting to build some muscle because I am still pretty fat still.
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  #9  
Unread 02-18-2013, 01:13 PM
atresia atresia is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billb7581 View Post
Interesting... I have still been making progress with my lifts, but my scale weight seems to have stalled at 257 or so. I am wondering if I am now actually starting to build some muscle because I am still pretty fat still.
Water retention is 10x more likely
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  #10  
Unread 02-18-2013, 01:59 PM
billb7581 billb7581 is offline
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I know you're really only adapting neurally in the beginning, but how long does linear progression typically last? 3 months now and I still get another rep or 5 lbs darn near every workout.
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