Eli5: square cube law and gaining weight for strength


I’m trying to build my jump height and have been told repeatedly to stay the same weight and just build strength, even though I could comfortably lose a stone and still be a healthy weight. I recently heard of the square cube law and wondered how this relates to strength training.

Why do people want to gain weight to get stronger when the square cube law seems to indicate being smaller gives you more strength potential pound for pound?

In: 1

Your looking at general sports advice. For things like pole vaulting, jumping, your right. For things like wrestling and football, you want to build up weight and muscle

Because youre still stronger in absolute terms.

Also the only way to efficiently add muscle is to gain weight, so even if you want to ultimately weigh less than you do now but have more muscle mass (which would make you stronger both relatively and absolutely) the the best way to achieve that is through a series of bulk/cut cycles where you will at some points be heavier than you were.

Pound for pound isn’t the only form of strength that matters.

It also doesn’t always work that way – if you’re really light, you are often carrying so little muscle mass that adding weight actually improves your pound for pound strength.

The third reason is that it’s a shit of a thing to try and build muscle without gaining weight (and adding some fat is also nearly inevitable when adding a significant amount of muscle), so what people will do is go up in size then strip off the fat to end up at their original bodyweight but leaner.

It is broadly true – little guys have better pound for pound strength than big guys which can easily be seen by looking at weight class records – but the comparisons are between people who’re carrying decent muscle mass. It doesn’t really work in practice for people that don’t already have a decent base of physical fitness, and there’s a lot of situations where strength relative to bodyweight is less important than absolute strength or there’s a minimum amount of absolute strength required before better relative strength really helps you.