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Display Name Post: Strength per pound        (Topic#36998)
Chris Rice
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Total Posts: 446
12-02-19 02:16 PM - Post#890943    



A topic not covered as often is how to keep gaining strength without increasing size or body weight. It's easy in the beginning but gets harder as one goes on.
 
Browser
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Total Posts: 322
Strength per pound
12-02-19 02:36 PM - Post#890944    



I've found that getting stronger is much easier, and sometimes only possible, when eating in a surplus (eating more calories than you're burning). Not necessarily the same thing as gaining weight, though one will lead to the other if you don't balance with hypo-caloric days. You can absolutely get stronger without gaining weight. It's just much harder, especially (as you said) after you've exhausted your beginner gains. It also probably matters just how much stronger you're talking, how strong you are now, and your current height/weight.
"The trouble about always trying to preserve the health of the body is that it is so difficult to do without destroying the health of the mind."~GK Chesterton




Edited by Browser on 12-02-19 02:37 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.
 
BrianBinVA
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Total Posts: 3683
12-02-19 03:01 PM - Post#890945    



This works better for some lifts than others. BW stuff obviously is the easiest to get stronger at without gaining weight. DL is the easiest barbell lift, in my experience. Squat is the hardest. KB swings are also easier than average to get stronger at without gaining weight, for obvious reasons...
"You are not good enough to be disappointed."

-- Dan John

"I play real sports, not trying to be the best at exercising."

-- Kenny Powers


 
jamej
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Total Posts: 464
12-02-19 03:04 PM - Post#890947    



To avoid weight gain, when you dead lift don't lower the bar slowly just drop it if you can. In the squat crawl under the bar and stand up. Use isometrics, e.g., skaters pose in the belt squat.
If you're getting stronger and your weight is increasing and you can jump on a higher box then your relative strength has increased more than your weight.
Good luck with this topic. Everybody who competes in a weight division is interested in your question. I hope we have a robust discussion.
Sincerely,
Jim
 
Browser
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Total Posts: 322
Strength per pound
12-02-19 03:19 PM - Post#890948    



Anecdotally, just thinking of several drug tested elite powerlifters who've improved consistently over several years, the only ones who haven't moved up a weight class started at the bottom of their current class. And every single one of them gained weight as they got stronger. Moving up a weight class usually happens when the weight cuts become too difficult. Now this is powerlifting of course. You could probably find more examples of elite weightlifters who stayed around the same weight as they got stronger. And if we're talking about strength measures that don't involve a barbell then bodyweight might be less of a factor.

IT DEPENDS also applies here, as to everything. An already 120kg 5'10" powerlifter has already maxed out his frame and gaining weight won't necessarily help, though improving body comp might. Someone weighing 70kg at the same height almost certainly needs to gain weight to get stronger if he's been training for more than a year or two.
"The trouble about always trying to preserve the health of the body is that it is so difficult to do without destroying the health of the mind."~GK Chesterton




Edited by Browser on 12-02-19 03:26 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.
 
Justin Jordan
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Total Posts: 542
12-02-19 07:12 PM - Post#890951    



Generally, a lot of relatively heavy (5rm) reps performed often without fatigue while keeping your diet in check seems to be the way.

So, Easy Strength but more so.
 
Neander
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Total Posts: 7238
Strength per pound
12-02-19 09:16 PM - Post#890956    



It's especially crazy when you're older, in your 60's and such. Your whole system, being worn out in so many ways, just can't assimilate food the same as when you were a pup. It sure does get good at storing fat, though.

Anyhow . . . forget the old farts . . . for my money, I'd experiment with the minimal food intake needed to maintain both your current bodyweight AND the demands of your training layout.

I'd set up a routine that uses singles. I wouldn't do too many sets, just the minimal warmups to get to the singles. and not too many singles once I got there. Very few actually, but at a high intensity. Basically, try to limit the total volume (weight x sets x reps) as much as possible while still moving up your poundages on the singles. You're trying NOT to gain muscle but still gain strength. Also, leaning out can help. If you're carrying a considerable amount of body fat, you can shed that, harden up, get stronger on your chosen lifts and still put on some muscle without changing your scale weight. A lot of experimenting with your diet as well as your lifting approach. but yeah, the singles, and not too many of 'em. At all costs, if you're trying to avoid gaining weight, avoid any form of pump sets, grease the groove stuff, all of that. Avoid the pump as much as possible. There's not gonna be many sets of singles, so take good long rests between each of the few intense singles you're doing. You might want to split up your lifts so that you're lifting a few more times a week too. Not more sets, just more lifting sessions, quite small ones so you can have the energy needed to make poundage increases without eating too much.

People tend to go overboard when trying to get stronger, and wind up doing too many sets at too low an intensity, in my view. It doesn't take many sets, if they're intense enough, to trigger what's needed to gain strength.



Everybody . . . every body is different, though, and the one thing they have in common is that they're always, ALWAYS changing and varying back and forth over time.
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.





Edited by Neander on 12-02-19 09:38 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.
 
Dan Christensen
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Total Posts: 78
Strength per pound
12-02-19 10:10 PM - Post#890959    



Plus one for 'it depends'.

Stronger at what?

I'd guess both 'farmer strong' (grip, hips, abs, ability to move odd objects) and 'gymnast strong' don't necessarily require extra bodyweight to get stronger.

Obviously, if you have a glaring weakness (grip, setting up for lifts...) fixing that might be a good way to get stronger without changing your weight.

Edited by Dan Christensen on 12-02-19 10:14 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.
 
Neander
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Total Posts: 7238
Strength per pound
12-02-19 11:10 PM - Post#890960    



There's the technique development consideration too. Very few people can use 100% of their strength owing to less than perfect technique, and technique in any form of lifting anything in or out of the gym can be improved without adding bodyweight.

I figure, if you're going to attempt to avoid adding muscle as much as possible, you could practice technique, study technique, find and develop your own best technique without using weights that cause much muscle development or pump in the muscles.

But then again. we've all seen guys who, after their initial beginner "free" gains eat like birds and get stronger without really getting much bigger. Limiting your food, I think, is the biggest factor in this equation. Not to the point of injuring yourself once you have the willpower developed to push yourself, no, not that!

But we do have to remember that, aside from honing the techniques needed to express the strength we've already developed, there can be a lot of mental training of use in expressing strength. Training the mind to believe what the body is capable of and all that.
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.





Edited by Neander on 12-02-19 11:13 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.
 
iPood
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Total Posts: 1743
Re: Strength per pound
12-03-19 05:12 AM - Post#890965    



  • Chris Rice Said:
A topic not covered as often is how to keep gaining strength without increasing size or body weight. It's easy in the beginning but gets harder as one goes on.



This is what I've found that works... for me.

PttP/ES program, using a 3x3 scheme... and lots of patience.
"I think we often spend too much time focusing on max fitness
and not nearly enough on maintaining our minimums.
It seems we need to think sustainable rather than obtainable.
Meaning whatever we do today, we can do it again tomorrow.
Never taking so much from ourselves that we can't."

Dan Martin


 
Jordan D
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Total Posts: 150
Re: Strength per pound
12-03-19 07:41 AM - Post#890970    



  • iPood Said:
  • Chris Rice Said:
A topic not covered as often is how to keep gaining strength without increasing size or body weight. It's easy in the beginning but gets harder as one goes on.



This is what I've found that works... for me.

PttP/ES program, using a 3x3 scheme... and lots of patience.



I second this. Enthusiastically. Though I’m not sure how well it works beyond the hazy novice gains period.

It’s a troublesome question, with largely arbitrary self-imposed limitations. I can’t think of a legitimate, real life scenario where an extra 5lbs of lean muscle would hurt someone.

 
Chris Rice
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Total Posts: 446
Re: Strength per pound
12-03-19 08:48 AM - Post#890973    



  • Jordan D Said:
  • iPood Said:
  • Chris Rice Said:
A topic not covered as often is how to keep gaining strength without increasing size or body weight. It's easy in the beginning but gets harder as one goes on.



This is what I've found that works... for me.

PttP/ES program, using a 3x3 scheme... and lots of patience.



I second this. Enthusiastically. Though I’m not sure how well it works beyond the hazy novice gains period.

It’s a troublesome question, with largely arbitrary self-imposed limitations. I can’t think of a legitimate, real life scenario where an extra 5lbs of lean muscle would hurt someone.





Ask any rock climber what 5# can mean to their climbing. Nearly any weight class athlete already near the limit of their class already carrying a few years worth of hard earned muscle who doesn't want to move up. Runners - lots of people don't want to become "any" bigger than they are but do want to be stronger. One of the most common ways to gain strength is to "eat" your way to greater strength. It's actually really hard to lift for decades and not get bigger. Especially as you get some years on you.
 
DanMartin
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Total Posts: 20080
Strength per pound
12-03-19 10:36 AM - Post#890975    



Having lifted in four different weight classes all I can say is that if you are pushing yourself to get stronger, it's hard work. It's even harder on a restricted calorie diet.

All of that said, I believe a Keto-esque diet is the way to go. Along with a focus on only a few carefully selected major movements.
Practice what you suck at.


 
Walter J.
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Total Posts: 1535
12-03-19 02:44 PM - Post#890986    



There are a handful of methods that work well for gaining strength without gaining weight. that said, some people really need to gain weight.

Generally, if such a person embarks on some strength training routine trying to gain strength without gaining body weight, and they find they are gaining muscle weight, it is because they are actually growing into their natural strength bodyweight and were actually UNDERWEIGHT to begin with for their anthropometrics.

Some persons, due to trying to fit into weight classes or in trying to stay as lightweight as possible for a better power-to-weight ratio (like rock climbers) are willing to forgo increases in strength so they can stay in a certain weight class or perform at a certain level in their chosen sport/activity.

However, those are actually unnatural restrictions or man-made restrictions imposed on people and contrary to what the body is trying to do if left to it’s own devices, lol.

I believe it is in the first Russian Kettlebell Challenge book where Pavel says KB training will help those overweight to reduce body-fat and those underweight to gain the muscle they should have had to begin with. It’s interesting to me that hard physical jobs performed for several years actually do much the same: i.e. place your body mass/strength/work-capaci ty at a natural level.

Ok, moving on:

Single rep training can develop strength without adding bulk. But, as with all things training related, diet plays a role. I’m not going to go there at this time. The issue with something like deadlifts is that as a person gets stronger (and this applies to many forms of competition) the body will naturally begin gaining weight as added BW can help a person counter-balance the weights they are lifting and throwing for example.

Technique comes into play. If you can zero in and develop better technique you can lift heavier, get stronger and not gain much, if any added BW.

BW exercises (and that’s all rock climbing is, an exercise in moving the body) are great for developing added strength without adding a ton of added BW. So here we actually have exercises done for medium to high reps. Hmmm, seems contrary to single heavy reps with a barbell as being good for developing strength without bulk.

It really comes down to learning and mastering your ability to leverage objects (of which your body is the object if you do BW exercises or rock climb). You learn to create tension, to contract and co-contract various muscles and limbs to demonstrate strength.

It’s interesting to me that when people pick somebody else up and the person stands normally they are easy to pick up. Yet if the person tenses his body up and tries to root himself to the ground, it’s way harder to lift the person. Why?

It’s not some mystical energy field, lol. IT’s because the person doing the lifting will grab a normal standing person and bend them back over themselves and thus can leverage themselves into lifting the person more readily. If the person goes all tense on them it’s harder to lean the person back and lever into them to lift them.

So, we also have this ability to leverage or wedge ourselves into an object. You can climb up two parallel walls if you wedge your body and limbs between the two walls. You’ll never climb up between those tow walls if you slack in some area. It’s a co-ordinated effort.

OK, so what have we got? Learning to leverage, learning how to wedge, learning how to create tension, learning how to position the body. It’s very similar to doing isometrics, lol. And really, it’s all that is going on with BW exercises. Learn how to coordinate the tension in your body and you can gradually go from doing a clutch-flag on a pole to doing the full human flag on a pole. You have to get the sequence right, the tension and relaxation right. Slow is smooth smooth is fast. Develop the skill slowly, tweak it, engrain it, practice it so it’s super smooooth! Then you can start working on exploding the movement. Stay smooth and you’ll get fast. Know when to be tight and when to relax in sequence and do so smoothly and you’re a dancing tiger.

If you have ever wrestled you know what I’m talking about. You get stronger by trying to manipulate a person who doesn’t want to be moved. But you don’t really gain much BW at all as you get stronger. You will gain some weight but generally the body becomes more dense rather than bulky. You learn how to transition between tension and controlled toned relaxation in a flash. That’s part of why I like sledgehammer work on a tire. It’s the the zig to the zag of KB ballistics. Do sledge hits back-to-back with KB cleans, swings or snatches and you’ll pick up on this quicker.

I’d say use KBs, cleans, presses, goblet squats, snatches, etc. If really concerned about added BW use single KBs rather than double KB movements.

I’d use BW exercises and work toward the tougher movements. Though I wouldn’t shy away from higher rep BW movements either.

I’d incorporate huge body tension while moving heavy weights for few reps/sets.

I’d explore using things like off-set grips on a barbell so I really had to root the entire body to lift the barbell as it sticks off to one side of my body. It’s a leverage lift and if you are weak anywhere you will NOT lift much if any weight at all on the end of that bar. Some will not even be able to lift an empty 45 pound Olympic barbell this way. Yeah, if this is you you can gain a LOT of useable strength without gaining an ounce of BW.

I’d play around with stretch bands attached to a pole. Try doing pushups or squats with the band attached to a pole and then attached to a belt around your waist. Try BW squats or pushups this way as the tension of the band tries to pull you sideways, backwards or forwards (depending on the direction you are facing toward or away from the bands attachment on the pole). You’ll have to recruit more muscular tension to lock the body in and not collapse as you do the BW exercise.

I’d also explore various ways of training with bands pushing, pulling etc. It’s a lot like wrestling.
You are not only learning techniques, leveraging, wedging, rooting, push-pull movements at the same time which all build that lean tough muscle but also builds tougher connective tissue.

A lot of people get hurt when they lift something and it falls out of (or they can’t keep it in) the groove they have honed through skills practice.

If you want to survive and thrive outside the norm you have to gradually expose yourself to things outside the norm and build and expound from there. Old dad strength (which isn’t such a normal thing anymore due to the prevalence of desk jockeys) was built by good old fashioned hard work at physical jobs. It gave men the ability to express strength in all sorts of odd ways because they were constantly manipulating objects as a matter of course throughout their workday.

Training in the right way sort of condenses (and makes it safer) to apply workman type movements to the body in an hour or less per day rather than work 8-10 hour shifts at a hard physical job. Barbell lifting really does the same thing but it is too narrow in it’s focus to develop great all-around expressive strength without added BW.

Of course, then we have odd object lifting and carries which force you to learn how to recruit the entire body in order to manipulate the object. Stones, kegs, sandbags, slosh-pipes, etc.

This is an excellent roadway to follow if you want great strength that will surprise many people if they work with you or compete against you or try to mess with you. You’ll develop strength from every angle.

Anyway, that’s just a little glimpse into ways to develop great strength without a lot of added BW or bulk. Of course if you eat enough and push certain things the right way you can also get big and strong.

But this is just how I look at it and I could be all wrong, lol.

 
Chris Rice
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Total Posts: 446
12-03-19 02:52 PM - Post#890988    



Thanks Walter - good stuff as usual
 
Walter J.
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Total Posts: 1535
12-03-19 03:10 PM - Post#890989    



Thanks Chris, I pop in here every now and then just to throw my n=1 observations into the mix, lol. Not that it means much but it’s fun.
 
Chris Rice
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Total Posts: 446
12-03-19 04:17 PM - Post#890991    



  • Walter J. Said:
Thanks Chris, I pop in here every now and then just to throw my n=1 observations into the mix, lol. Not that it means much but it’s fun.



My problem is I enjoy a sport I'm not really designed for. At 6'2" and 195 to 200# I'm a skinny lifter but a huge rock climber. I've been lifting since 1959 so I'm fairly well over the newbie years :) but still out there trying to do both.
 
Browser
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Total Posts: 322
Strength per pound
12-03-19 06:20 PM - Post#890994    



I know that struggle well. We are the same height and I forced myself to stay under 200 pounds in high school to play basketball when I should’ve been gaining weight and focusing on throwing and lifting, both of which I had much more of an aptitude for. When I got to college and just lifted and ate I gained 50 pounds my lifts exploded. I would guess that with 60 years of experience you’re going to have to pick one or the other or be satisfied with where you are now.

But the keyword you used is ‘enjoy’. If you like climbing more than lifting it would be silly to should yourself into getting stronger at the expense of climbing. But, if like many of us, you have caught the iron bug it might be time to hang up the hiking shoes. Pursuing something you don’t enjoy just because you have an aptitude for it, especially at the recreational level, seems kinda silly. Do what you like.
"The trouble about always trying to preserve the health of the body is that it is so difficult to do without destroying the health of the mind."~GK Chesterton




Edited by Browser on 12-03-19 06:29 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.
 
Neander
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Total Posts: 7238
12-03-19 08:37 PM - Post#890998    



  • Walter J. Said:
Not that it means much but it’s fun.



It's definitely fun, and I'd be willing to bet it means a lot to some of the people who read it.

Thank You!
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.



 
Dan Christensen
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Total Posts: 78
12-04-19 01:50 AM - Post#891011    



  • Chris Rice Said:

My problem is I enjoy a sport I'm not really designed for. At 6'2" and 195 to 200# I'm a skinny lifter but a huge rock climber. I've been lifting since 1959 so I'm fairly well over the newbie years :) but still out there trying to do both.





To go back to the beginning, is your objective to get stronger at climbing AND lifting without gaining weight then?

OR is this more a general curiousity? It's led to an excellent discussion regardless.
 
iPood
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Total Posts: 1743
12-04-19 04:47 AM - Post#891016    



Come to think of it... a mix of girevoy sport, calisthenics, loaded carries over a long distance and Maffetone running can make you stupidly strong while avoiding bulking.
"I think we often spend too much time focusing on max fitness
and not nearly enough on maintaining our minimums.
It seems we need to think sustainable rather than obtainable.
Meaning whatever we do today, we can do it again tomorrow.
Never taking so much from ourselves that we can't."

Dan Martin


 
Chris Rice
*
Total Posts: 446
12-04-19 08:23 AM - Post#891018    



  • Dan Christensen Said:
  • Chris Rice Said:

My problem is I enjoy a sport I'm not really designed for. At 6'2" and 195 to 200# I'm a skinny lifter but a huge rock climber. I've been lifting since 1959 so I'm fairly well over the newbie years :) but still out there trying to do both.





To go back to the beginning, is your objective to get stronger at climbing AND lifting without gaining weight then?

OR is this more a general curiousity? It's led to an excellent discussion regardless.



Yes - the same things that leads to better general knowledge will help me with my personal goals as well. A valuable discussion for sure.
 
Chris Rice
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Total Posts: 446
12-04-19 08:25 AM - Post#891019    



  • Dan Christensen Said:
  • Chris Rice Said:

My problem is I enjoy a sport I'm not really designed for. At 6'2" and 195 to 200# I'm a skinny lifter but a huge rock climber. I've been lifting since 1959 so I'm fairly well over the newbie years :) but still out there trying to do both.





To go back to the beginning, is your objective to get stronger at climbing AND lifting without gaining weight then?

OR is this more a general curiousity? It's led to an excellent discussion regardless.



Yes - the same things that leads to better general knowledge will help me with my personal goals as well. A valuable discussion for sure.
 
iPood
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Total Posts: 1743
Strength per pound
12-04-19 08:52 AM - Post#891021    



  • Chris Rice Said:
Yes - the same things that leads to better general knowledge will help me with my personal goals as well. A valuable discussion for sure.



Thing is, Chris, you've been doing this quite probably way longer than any of us on this forum, and your very wide array of accomplishments is beyond most of us anyway.

So, yes, the question is rather interesting and is worth exploring deeper, but it's you who should tell us what's what.
"I think we often spend too much time focusing on max fitness
and not nearly enough on maintaining our minimums.
It seems we need to think sustainable rather than obtainable.
Meaning whatever we do today, we can do it again tomorrow.
Never taking so much from ourselves that we can't."

Dan Martin




Edited by iPood on 12-04-19 09:48 AM. Reason for edit: No reason given.
 
BntLgr
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Total Posts: 279
Strength per pound
12-05-19 03:11 PM - Post#891064    



As mentioned, and if were talking single maxes, the best way I know, is to hit triples/doubles/singles in maybe the 90%-95% area for some multi sets maybe. 3x3, 2x2, 3x1(singles) type stuff.
Heavy singles are okay too, but can burn you up quick if you are too near maxes over 95%-98%. I did well on 3x3 and 2x2 in 88%-92%
Also, maybe negs, but you have to be careful with those. I used to do neg deads ala Peoples, for a few reps, but they can also rip you up.
Be yourself. Everyone else is taken




Edited by BntLgr on 12-05-19 03:14 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.
 
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