T Nation

An Ideal Weight

I know this isn’t exactly the proper forum to post this in, but it’s about as close as I can get.

I’m a baseball player first and foremost. Weight training is merely a secondary action used to further my performance on the field. As such, I’ve gone through a number of weight fluctuations. I’ve gotten as high as 210 and as low as 182. I’ve found that I’m at my peak when I sit around 190-195. Does anyone else find that they compete best at a certain weight level?

I know in most strength sports the bigger you are, the more you’ll lift (I know that’s a large generalization, but it holds true for the most part), which is why I was reluctant to post it in this section. However, I was hoping for some other people’s opinion on this.

I haven’t reached the point where I’ve weighed ‘too much’ to hinder athletics to any real degree. When I weigh the most is during the off-season. I do think though, that I play better when I’m around 180-182. I feel light enough to juke and cut well, but still have enough mass to move the pile if I have to.

I have been thinking of this issue a lot lately. I was actually going to start a thread in the T-Cell, but I guess we can keep the discussion here for now. I haven’t come to a firm enough conclusion to adequately answer your question, but I’ll throw out some of my opinions.

First of all though, it is very important to consider your body fat when discussing this topic. It goes without saying that your athletic performance would suffer if the extra 15-20 lbs were all fat. It can be very difficult to gauge your own bf%, so it is tough to be honest with yourself on this topic. In your case (at 6’3"), I find it hard to believe that your athleticism goes down from 195-210 if your bf stays the same.

This leads into another point. When gaining muscle, fat is frequently also gained. The muscle:fat gain ratio depends on a number of variables, but one thing for sure is that the more muscle you have gained over the years, the more fat you will gain when adding additional muscle. I think you have to have gained quite a substantial amount of muscle before the muscle becomes a hinderance, but the added fat will quickly slow you down. So in the case of an athlete (exluding sports and positions where any weight is good) I firmly believe a clean bulk is far and away the best route.

In other words, it’s not fair to compare your athletic performance at 210 lbs and 15% bf with it at 190 lbs and 10% bf.

You also asked for personal experience, and my experience is why I have been thinking about this lately. I’m 5’10" and almost certainly would not weigh over 160 lbs had I never lifted weights or actively tried to gain weight. At one point I thought I was my most athletic at 185 lbs. When I got relatively lean at 195 I realized I was wrong.

I’m at 210 today, and my endurance, speed, and athletic ability is definitely suffering. The last 10 lbs has probably been half fat. Part of me wants to hit 220 before cutting back to 8%, but part of me is ready to lean up now. Sprinting has always been a passion of mine, and I would like to start competing in amateur meets again. Even at 195, a 400m is out of the question. However, with my added strength, I am much faster and stronger than I have ever been, and if I had my endurance back I could still run a pretty respectable 200m.

The other issue I have is that it is extremely hard to maintain muscle and remain flexible. I can just about gaurantee that I would hurt myself if I went out to the track and ran a dead sprint. It is an akward situation knowing that I am stronger than I have ever been, but I am unable to use the strength in any sort of speed-strength situation due to the near certainty of injury. To get back in the shape where I can go out and run without worrying about injury would definitely require sacrificing some muscle mass.

Depends on you position to I think. If I were a catcher or dh, (your profile says you are 6’3, so assuming that is true)I would probably bulk up to around 215-225ish maybe even heavier. As an outfielder you would definetly want to be lighter. Eric Cressey who writes a lot here trains a lot of baseball players and he could probably give you a better answer. Just my 2 cents

[quote]tedro wrote:

The other issue I have is that it is extremely hard to maintain muscle and remain flexible. I can just about gaurantee that I would hurt myself if I went out to the track and ran a dead sprint. It is an akward situation knowing that I am stronger than I have ever been, but I am unable to use the strength in any sort of speed-strength situation due to the near certainty of injury. To get back in the shape where I can go out and run without worrying about injury would definitely require sacrificing some muscle mass.[/quote]

I can’t really agree with this last statement, though the rest sounds good. I think it’s a stigma that one can’t be strong/big and flexible at the same time. 99.99% of people would much rather just lift than stretch, but both are important and both have their place.

This winter I gained about 15 pounds on an experimental ‘mini-bulk’, and I managed to remain and even become more flexible and improve upon my range of motion. Being too flexible, though, is dangerous, but I doubt most people should have to worry too much about that. Just my opinion.

[quote]Kulturkampf wrote:
tedro wrote:

The other issue I have is that it is extremely hard to maintain muscle and remain flexible. I can just about gaurantee that I would hurt myself if I went out to the track and ran a dead sprint. It is an akward situation knowing that I am stronger than I have ever been, but I am unable to use the strength in any sort of speed-strength situation due to the near certainty of injury. To get back in the shape where I can go out and run without worrying about injury would definitely require sacrificing some muscle mass.

I can’t really agree with this last statement, though the rest sounds good. I think it’s a stigma that one can’t be strong/big and flexible at the same time. 99.99% of people would much rather just lift than stretch, but both are important and both have their place.

This winter I gained about 15 pounds on an experimental ‘mini-bulk’, and I managed to remain and even become more flexible and improve upon my range of motion. Being too flexible, though, is dangerous, but I doubt most people should have to worry too much about that. Just my opinion.[/quote]

I think you may have misunderstood me a bit. First, I should have made it more clear that I have a very difficult time remaining flexible. Second, it is not the addition of muscle that causes this. The simple act of lifting weights causes muscles to tighten. The difficulty is lifting weights often enough to not lose any muscle or strength, but not so often that stretching becomes futile.

You also must remember that we are at very different periods in our training history. Your body likely still has some maturing to do, your ability to gain muscle and your muscle gain pattern will change greatly over the next few years (your profile says you’re in high school). Regardless, it is very individualistic.

Finally, there is a big difference between just being flexible enough for general athleticism, and being flexible enough to run track. For a skilled runner, the margin of error is very low. Most people don’t realize this as they simply don’t have the quickness to seriously injure themselves while running. A 200 lb. fatty running at full speed just isn’t exerting enough force to pull a hammy. A skilled sprinter exerts an enormous amount of force, and even the slightest problem in flexibility, muscle recruitment, or technique can easily lead to a muscle pull. It’s not much different than a pro pitcher throwing a ball at 96 mph and a high schooler throwing 76 mph. The likelihood for injury is much higher for the pro.

I’ve found that power and Olympic lifting has always helped with my flexibility rather than hinder it. I used to play rugby and I’ve competed at a high level in judo/grappling, all sports which are very tough on your body and require a high degree of flexibility, and I strongly feel that my training prevented a lot of injuries.

Of course top level sprinting is going to put a much different type of strain on your body so I can’t really make any comment on that. We used to do a lot of sprintwork as part of our conditioning and again I felt my lifting helped me there too. However I know there is a huge difference between a guy running sub-12 100 metre times for training and a guy who is running fast 100,200&400 metre times in competition.