Thanks, that was a great reply. I am finding myself more interested in looks vs. strength but I have a lot to learn.When training specifically for development (cosmetics) I could care less how much I lift. My only guideline is if its challenging in whatever rep range I do. I haven't focused on how much I lift since I use to compete in powerlifting. Most don't do 20 or 30 rep squats because they are soo demanding and obviously you have to put less weight on the bar and a lot of peoples ego gets in the way.
There is nothing wrong with increasing strength, but the problems is when people in the industry say the only way to grow or increase muscle mass is to get stronger or add more and more weight to the bar, this just isn't true.
There is a ceiling effect to max strength so what happens when you cant lift more does that mean you can't grow? Of course not. Your muscle only knows how much stress its under not how much weight you are lifting and yes there is a difference. Training the muscle and not the movement is one way to activate more muscle fiber and to target what your trying to develope.
Also training in different ranges and planes of motion outside of traditional lifts will stimulate more muscle activation as well which will induce growth. Learning how to properly lift a weight for a desired effect is what is missing with most when training for muscle development.
Another thing is if you just focus on training intensely and properly stimulating the muscle strength will come overtime. Once I started training the way I train now, after I stopped powerlifting, I gained twice the size I ever did when training just for strength.
Now I'm not saying you should never do low reps as I still surf the strength curve, but if size is your main goal you should mainly stay in the 6-20 rep range and incorporate functional moves as well. Proper program design tailored to the individual is very important.