T Nation

All show and no go?

I was reading antiliberal’s thread on overhead squats and several people offered the opinion that OH squats aren’t needed for the bodybuilder, but are geared more for the athlete.

While I understand that point of view, it leads me to ask, what’s the point of being “all show and no go?” Or in other words, we spend all this time tuning our body, shouldn’t we atleast be striving for a little performance as well?

I realize my sports days are long behind me, but there is a certain amount of pride in knowing I have more strength, speed and agility than the average joe.

Sure I want to look good, but I want my muscles to translate into real world strength.


I agree, what’s the use of muscles if you can’t use 'em?
Bodybuilding is for two main purposes: aesthetics and athletics.
But I think the overhead squat is really an exercise of personal preference. If you are like Coach Davies and like exercising power, speed and flexibility all in one it’s great.
If you prefer to autonomize training each of these then it probably shouldn’t be at the forefront of your program.

i agree with you. however, you have to also respect that some people bodybuild simply because they want to look good. i dont see anyhting wrong with that.

My main goal is to have a musccular and lean physique. I’m just not that concerned with how much weight I can lift.

That being said, I relaize to get bigger, you need to get stronger. So, I do do strength training for part of the year.

Avert your eyes/Lower your gaze…a serious opinion from Cupcake is coming through…

As a horrible narcissist, I do not care about tonnage past what it will do for my physique.




Yes, yes, yes.

But I am honest about it.

Yeah, I know, unattractive personality traits to be sure but I try to balance them out with some of that “not so sucking” stuff like Kindness, Generosity and not slapping snotnosed kids at the mall when their parents refuse to control them.

Yeah, stuff like that.

“A narcissist is someone better looking than you are”

~ Gore Vidal

I agree, I would rather have an athletic physique then a bodybuilder’s physique anyday.

Its, better to move faster, be stronger, have more flexiblity and balance, and spiritually. It sounds like Coach D’s Wheel of Conditioning. But, I as a personal trainer I feel that is how everyone should train and too many people don’t train that way.

All, they all focus on the bodybuilding type of work-out which is flat out wrong!

Just, think if you train like an athlete isn’t your by-product looking good anyways? So, so whats better someone that looks good with something to show for, or someone who looks good w/ nothing to show for.

In Health,

Silas C.

All show and no go? Are you kidding?

In what way does overhead squatting approximate ANY ‘real world’ movement?

How excellent this exercise must be! Let’s take the body part most likely to be injured lifting, prop it up in biomechanically awkward position, and throw in absurdly heavy loading, all for the sake of purported stability.

What a crock.

I’m sorry, I don’t think this has anything to do with functional strength. Rather, I think most of you revel in rediscovering unnecessary movements, and then snubbing your noses at those who don’t bother doing them. Prior examples include deadlifting, this forum’s catch-all panacea for every back lacking in anything at all.

The best bodybuilder isn’t the 250 lb 25 year old that benches 500 lbs; it’s the fit guy who, at 50, can still throw a baseball without grimacing from injuries sustained doing unnecessarily dangerous movements 20 years earlier.


Knight you’re kinda misunderstanding and kinda hitting on what I’m talking about, albeit indirectly.

I’m not advocating OH squats, it was just that the OH thread made me ponder the topic of “functional strength” or as I’m dubbing some forms of bodybuilding, “all show and no go” based on several responses saying OH squats weren’t necessary for a bodybuilder.

I could care less about OH squats. I’m talking about being able to do things with your body, like as you mention, being able to throw a baseball at age 50 or for that matter any physical activity in the real world where we don’t have the luxury of straps or barbells or padded benches.

I don’t really have a training philosophy, and I’m not a preacher of old time lifts or a certain style be it renegade or westside.

I just wonder if there is a point where we should expect some benefit from training besides just a pretty tricep.

Knight not to take your statement out of context. But, an overhead squat is not what we are trying to get a cross people’s head. Purpose of this thread is to have people train more like an athlete so that they could move better, feel better, and more intune with thier body.

The other thing is that overhead squat is very benifital in the “real world” ever put a heavy box on top of a cabniet or something. You have to lift the box up and proper lifting techique is squating and then lift it over your head to put the box in the cabniet.


Inevitably, pretty triceps double as a powerful triceps.

Nearly all serious bodybuilders possess a great degree of functional strength. It comes with the territory; the strain associated with lifting is beneficial in more than size alone. Lord knows what John Roman could accomplish if you handed him a hockey stick and a pair of CCMs.

I apologize for the semi-rant format. It wasn’t directed at you in particular.



Athletic training is, by definition, contest specific. Like bodybuilding, much of it has a positive effect on overall fitness, but perhaps not in the areas most would like to excel.

To ‘move, feel, and become more in tune’ is a hugely vague goal. Dedicated lifters will, however, declare success in all of the above.

We haven’t defined functional, or ‘real-world’, strength. My family recently returned from a out of state visit laden with souvenirs. I lifting two overloaded suitcases into my Suburban, at the same time, without so much as a loud exhalation. Paltry by some standards, but 3 years ago prior to bodybuilding, I didn’t have the shoulder strength to attempt it.


Well I myself don’t lift for the only purpose of show, heck i’m not planning on being in shows anyway. I’m not nearly dedicated enough nor do I have that much time to do all that prep.

I don’t lift strictly for numbers either, I mainly do it to stay in shape and also for some strength gains, and just overall health/condition.

Which is why i’m trying to mix in several different types of lifts, especially ones that use my core. I don’t want to be that 50 year old guy who can’t play with grandkids because i’m all worn out and has to rent a cart to golf…

The idea of seeking physical development without care for increase in strength disturbs the hell out of me.

I don’t see how someone can be STRONGER than the average joe but not be BIGGER than the average Joe. Personally, I keep changing my mind back and forth between whether I want to lift a lot or have bigger muscles …usually being stronger wins :slight_smile:

I lift because it’s fun and I enjoy it …like most other things in life, I believe when it stops being fun one should stop doing it. I look at it all as a learning experience …fat is like jello, it takes the shape of the container it’s in, muscle is like clay, it can be moulded and manipulated into any shape you want. That’s where the fun and the learning comes in for me.

Does that make any sense to anyone??

When i first began BB, I thought that I was becoming a stronger, improved athlete; besides improving the physique. I think many a person believes this too, when taking up BB.

Of course, since my humble beginnings I realize this is not the case. And I also believe that by improving your functional strength doesn’t mean you also won’t be improving the looks of your physique.

I also believe that the longer your train, your philosophy will change. As I have gotten older, it’s more important to me to be functionally strong. There’s a bit of vanity, too. And yes, I do desire to look strong (and good), but it’s more important to be able to back that look up with the ability.

Regarding whether or not someone can be stronger than the average Joe without being bigger than the average Joe, look into the lives of Maxick and Joseph L. Greenstein. If I am not mistaken, both men were around 5’4" and 145 lbs. but were incredibly strong. Olympic weight lifters like Halil Mutlu and Naim Suleymanoglu are also small men but can put up over 300lbs. overhead

AngeloM - point taken, and I certainly don’t mean to take away from the accomplishments of these so-called “little” guys …I still say if you take this particular man who weighs 145lbs and put him shirtless beside an “average” 145lb man, there would be quite a difference. I was on Westside barbell’s site the other day with my mouth hanging open looking at the BP, DL and squat numbers for some of these “little” men.

I tend to be of the same school of thought as Patricia when it comes to the “philosophy” of training. In the Army they tend to base one’s level of fitness on how fast they can run …we have a saying - “while some can run like a gazelle, others would prefer to stay and fight”. And as my good buddy always says “you can’t flex cardio”.

If I’m starting to hijack this post I apologize, I’ll stop now.

Great responses everyone, I think this is an interesting topic and one I struggle with during my training. I admire the bodybuilders for their physique, but I always wish I can lift heavier weights in the gym like a strongman. This contradiction often leads me to reconsider my goals which brought about this thread in the first place. Yes, I want to look good, but I want my muscles to be an actual reflection of my strength, otherwise they might as well be as useful as silicon implants.

To quote issue #1 of T-mag, Charles Poliquein writes, “I’m utterly convinced that one of the reasons bodybuilders fail to achieve their growth potential is that they’re simply too weak for their cross-sectional muscle area.” He then goes on to outline his Maximal Weights program. Well, that’s exactly what I want to avoid, being too weak for my cross sectional muscle area. Basically having a lot of muscle but not having the real world strength to go with it.

I was in FL last week and met up with one of my brother’s friends who I hadn’t seen in a couple years. he’s about 5’7 and 225-230 I’m guessing. a big boy. he has been competing in BB comps for a couple years. I’m 5’11 and 175-180, and race and train to race(triathlons, mtn bike racing etc). of course vanity plays into it too.

anyway, we got into the topic of training and surprisingly in terms of weight training we followed similar programs. I sure the poundages are different, but we both use the same core group of exercises and rep schemes, of course we both use some periodization too. where we differed was, I do explosive movements like plyometrics etc, in addition to running, swimming and biking. he does some light cardio but not to the degree of intensity that I like to do.

when I said jokingly, after a few beers, I don’t know Adam you’re getting a little too big…he said “never”.

so they are out there. he is not interested in athletics, only aesthetics. after hanging out at the pool with all kinds of VERY out of shape people though…I respect anyone that gets off their ass and does ‘something’.

On the other hand, someone who is all go and no show isn’t that great either. I know one person who easily benches 400 pounds but looks like a fat out of shape couch potato. People in the gym don’t laugh at him but I imagine people on the street may. You CAN live in both worlds if you have the desire and the discipline.