T Nation

3 Months Off, No Loss in Strength?


I let my membership run out at the gym I was going, back in June. At the time I had worked up to a personal best of 40-45 lb dumbells for the overhead press with sets of 5. Today I went to a different gym with a friend and easily was using the 40s for sets of 5. I just felt it was kind of odd that I didn't lose any strength. Same thing happened with one-arm bent over rows. Maybe the dumbells were weighed/marked differently? This new gym totally sucked. Heaviest dumbells were 75s....WTF is that? It's pretty said that my skinny ass maxed out they had....

I've also lost about 3lbs, likely mostly muscle since June. Over the summer all I have been doing were sets of 30-40 pushups and pullups (personal best of 16), only about once a week, if that. Well, that's my "resistance" workout, I've always been into cycling and doing explosive sprints on the bike.

That brings me to another point: my maximum power outputs on the bike have gone up since I stopped the lower body lifting. Whether it's because I stopped lifting, or because of the consistent on the bike training, I don't know. Makes me wonder how beneficial lifting really is for highly trained athletes?


40lbs isn't equal to 45lbs mate, unless you did the 45's for sets of 5 you can't compare them.

The sets of 30-40push ups and sets of 16 pull ups would have helped you retain some strength for the db overhead presses also.

How do you know 'maximum power output' wasn't lower? Going by feel? Timed sprints on the bike? If so what distance? You could have been carrying general fatigue in to the bike sessions. I know that after heavy Oly sessions I wouldn't be able to make 3 strides between the hurdles, I'd be too fatigued to do so.

An athlete has to weigh up the pro's and cons of the weight room. If your not getting the most out of your actual skill/ sport training you may be over doing the weights and it is hampering your sport sessions. Always a tough call to judge imo.

A lot of guys work hard over the winter period in the weights and try to maintain in the athletics season so they can focus more on the skill aspect of their sport.

Also depending on your age you can get stronger by doing not much training. Guys that are 16-22 can get strong by doing very little training, sure sometimes it's not a lot stronger but they can still get stronger by doing very little.



The dumbbell press may be able to be attributed to the fact that when you stop training the body develops a type of emergency use fiber(I think it's a fast twitch- 2a perhaps, I'd have to re-read my Hatfield text) that is useful for power but is very vulnerable to cortisol. So basically, it's a one-time use fiber that the body's catabolics will destroy. Again, all this is just what I recall from a Fred Hatfield book. The real test will be to go back again within a regular lifting cycle and see if the strength stays the same or if it plummets.