T Nation

Anybody Not Pay Attention to Your Weight Class?


#1

For the guys that have been competing for many years here, were there any of you who never really cared about weight classes? You just ate, progressed and competed where the weight fell.

I know some guys are concerned about body composition, but the guys I talked to said they made their best strength gains when they literally said fuck it and just ate everything in sight.

What is your opinion on this?


#2

In my experience, the vast majority of guys who are concerned with body comp and making a specific weight class aren’t even close to optimally filling out their frame for powerlifting-specific performance. I think too many guys see these genetic outliers like John Haack and think that they can keep progressing in powerlifting while looking like a physique competitor (Haack’s frame/build makes no sense for the weight he moves, drugs or not).

Case in point, Haack and Gibbs next to each other. These guys are roughly the same weight and similar totals, but holy hell look how much taller Haack is! Gibbs, in my mind, represents a more typical powerlifter build, and Haack is just a freak.

A while back I came across something I think was published by Shieko, a table of optimal weight class based on a lifter’s height.

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Most guys I’ve met who are fairly lean (under 20% BF) are quite a ways off from these targets. However, everyone is sold this dream of “lean gains” that promise you can get big and jacked without ever losing your 6-pack. So they’ll gain a bit of weight, lifts will go up, then they “cut” back down, lifts go down, and 2 years later they’re still 30 lbs under their ideal body weight and have barely made any improvements to their totals. But hey, they still have that 6-pack!

If anyone is in doubt of how gaining weight affects your performance, try this simple experiment. Test your maxes, calculate your Wilks. Then spend 6-months eating like an asshole, with the goal of trying to gain AT LEAST 15-20 lbs. Test again and see how much your Wilks went up. I damn near guarantee that unless you’re starting at a higher body fat % (above 20%) your Wilks will have make a significant improvement.

I know Wilks is not perfect, but for an individual and sub-50 lbs weight difference I think it’s a valid tool for making relative strength comparisons.

Sorry I know this is all sort of rambling/ranting… it just pisses me off how many guys short themselves on performance for the sake of body composition.


#3

You should be concerned about body composition, becoming a fat slob is not better than getting bigger and stronger with a reasonable amount of body fat. Unless you are already incredibly strong for your size (or you are a fat slob) you should aim to gain weight (muscle), but gradually.


#4

This is a good point and very true. To clarify from my post… That’s directed towards the guys that are significantly under their ideal height/weight ratio. I think most guys in this category don’t appreciate just how much you have to eat to get the scale to go up, especially if you’re training hard. But yes if you’re able to gain weight at an alarming rate and are putting on excessive fat, you probably want to dial things down.