Big things come in small packages. A wise lesson learned from the opponents to those of Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris. Their small stature hides the powerful force of right hooks and roundhouse kicks that defeat the enemy. On the contrary, the size of Giant Silva and Alexandru Lungu are more intimidating, to say the least. All men have one thing in common, amazing abdominal muscles. The question is, do bigger abs make a better fighter?
Core strength is a fundamental aspect of any great fighter, but does ab size really matter? Size doesn’t always correlate to strength. Instead, let’s look beyond muscle mass and pay tribute to the aspects that truly play a role in becoming a great fighter.
In order to gain strength our muscle fibres must grow. Basic physiology teaches us this fact. This description leads us to believe bigger equals stronger. While our body composition will most definitely change as we gain strength, it doesn’t explain why David will beat Goliath time and time again. Programming for hypertrophy versus strength can be completely different. The main goal of hypertrophy is to grow in mass, which is achieved by high volume sets. The focus of true strength training has no other goal but to be able to increase the amount of external load. Strength programming tends to be focused on weighted, fundamental exercises with longer rest and shorter reps. If training is focused only on hypertrophy one might completely miss gains of strength.
Simply said, “specific tension is the max force divided by the cross-sectional area.”. Although the strength of the actual muscle fibre might increase as the fibre grows, specific strength can still decrease. In summary, the muscle fibre itself gets stronger but, with the gain in size, the overall strength output is lowered. This is seen between bodybuilders and powerlifters; bodybuilders have less specific strength but more mass.
Power with strength:
The peak difference of a good fighter and the winner is knowing the difference between power and strength. Power is a combination of force and speed; striking with as much strength in the quickest way possible. Strength is required to gain great feats of power, but mostly perfected through functional movements and full body exertion. Being able to harness any amount of strength with a fierce timing to strike is the mark of a great fighter.
“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.” Mark Twain spouts wisdom even if his word weren’t intended to reference physical attributes. The size of our abdominals might not dictate the strength behind our abilities but our training does.
Please Note: Before following exercise routines or changing your fitness regime, please consult a certified fitness professional. Always talk with a medical practitioner before following dietary advice or taking supplements.