Size doesn't always mean strength

March 11th, 2016 5:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

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Fitness with Paudie O’Donovan, Neuromuscular Physical Therapist

LIKE the old saying goes ‘If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.’ For a long time I thought this was specifically in reference to your brain and mental capacity or something to do with practicing a skill or sport, but it can definitely refer to your muscles as well.

Luckily, by creating movement we get to use most of the muscles in our bodies. But what about the ones that we neglect? Now you don’t have to go searching through all the planes of movement to see what muscles aren’t functioning properly because of weakness. I’m just taking about the basic bending, reaching and rotating that we do everyday. Perform these movements and see do you find yourself saying ‘I can’t believe I can’t do that’. If you do, and you’re shocked by the fact, then It’s time to start building strength into those weak muscles again.

Now don’t get me wrong here. I’m talking about muscle weakness, not muscle size. Just because you have ‘small’ muscles, don’t mean that you have weak muscles. I know guys who are only 70-75 kgs and are the strongest guys you’d meet. Look at cyclist and jockeys for example – no huge muscles, no body fat, but incredibly strong.

Muscle size is all to do with muscle fibres and myofibrils and it takes ages to build these. It is these myofibrils that waste away and muscle weakness sets in. It’s simple really, muscles adapt to the pressures that you put them under. If you don’t put them under pressure every now and then then you will lose them. So for the final time, do a strength check on yourself. See how many squats, lunges, pull-ups, press-ups, dips, and how long you can hold the plank for and go about eliminating your weak spots.


Paudie O’Donovan is a qualified  neuromuscular physical

therapist specialising in pain relief and improvement of

mobility/flexibility He is masseur to the Cork senior

football team and runs a sports injury clinic at

Quarryvale, Coolnagrane, Skibbereen.

(Fully registered with Laya and Aviva)

Contact: 086-2339618 or follow him on Facebook. 

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