T Nation

Are Strength Ratios Important?

Ok, over the yrs I’ve been tracking my lifts I’ve always noticed this odd unbalance. Not exactly sure why, but I just can’t seem to train out the imbalance.

Stats:
6’4", 270lb body fat per calipers is 20%
Wingspan matches height, floor to waist though is long, 44". Long legs, wonder if this is some of the issue.

I’ll list the working weights, reps of 5 vs 1rpm as I haven’t actually checked those in a long time.

Squat: 375
Bench press flat: 325
Bench press incline: 295
Military press: 205
Deadlift: 405
Bent over row: 295
Calf raises: 375x15
Bulgarian split squat: 215

Upper body strength is ok, and oddly I really don’t focus on it over lower. I don’t think I look like I spend a lot of time in the gym, sure I’m big but my chest is not defined at all. I’ll admit my arms are big, don’t do any isolated arm routines though.

Upper legs tape at 26", too me they don’t look big, then again I’m tall. I’ve got a long history of mountain bike riding, 30yrs and counting… I try and ride at least 15 miles a week. I hate running, but do like interval sprinting, I can sprint like a mofo for 10secs…

So what gives, I honestly struggle with adding weight to the squat and dead. I thought single leg squats would help pick up the slack… not really, nice changeup, really hits the glutes.

Should I really be bothered by it? Am I being too picky? Deadlift bugs me, if the bar was, oh… another 6" off the ground then I can really up the weight. Pulling from pins I can do 600lb. I get that the dead can be problematic depending on limb length, but the squat?

Strength ratios do not matter.

If you could bench 1000lbs raw but could also “only” squat and deadlift 1000lbs raw, your ratios would be all jacked up and the only consolation you would have on the matter is that you are the strongest human on earth.

Just get as strong as your body can.

7 Likes

Did some more reading, found that the squat is also affected by Anthromoporhic traits, long femur, short femur, torso etc… in my case having long femurs and a short torso causes me to adjust differently from what is considered STD. Now it’s something I’ve just done naturally to get to parallel, going atg is really difficult unless I fold up and take a sumo stance. Now why this particular length ratio would limit force production, that I’m not fully getting, sure going too heavy puts more strain on the lower back, but so does the dead lift, esp the straight leg version. Maybe that’s the limiting factor.
Back in my 20’s the best I could manage was a 500lb squat, limiting factor was my lower back, really felt it there more, then in the legs. Maybe my form was worse then too, but I find that squats simply don’t tax my legs unless I go very high volume at lower weight, back still takes the brunt though.

Proof that being tall kinda sucks for the big lifts.

1 Like

Considering the World’s Strongest Man title has been traded off between a 6’8 and 6’9 dude until very recently, the pros most likely outweigh the cons.

6 Likes

I should clarify, limb length ratios have more impact then most realize. It doesn’t or shouldn’t exclude lifts, just that it will place limitations on them that have to be adjusted for. What I’m trying to figure out is if that also limits the amount of force production. Deadlift for example, long legs, short arms… Yeah that makes that lift suck something fierce, but by raising the bar a couple inches so that I’m not folded over I can another 200lbs to the lift.

I genuinely thinking you’re getting too in your own head over this.

Here is me deadlifting

Note at how, at lockout, my hands are about at the top of my kneecaps, primarily because I have monkey arms.

Here are those same monkey arms pressing my bodyweight overhead for 12 reps

Again, just get as strong as you possibly can with the body you have.

3 Likes

Another t-shirt. Do you find that the wider grip helped your overhead press? Mine is abhorrent but then I have a much more narrow grip. I have similar leverages to you.

Ya know, I keep hearing people say I have a wide grip on overhead press, but all it seems to me is that people have a super narrow grip on overhead press for some reason. I’m just using the grip that is comfortable for me, which is still narrower than my bench grip.

My grip width is primarily determined by the fact I rack the bar across my collarbone/chest out of the rack. If I were to hold it narrower, the bar would “float” in my hands rather than across my body.

My OHP grip is wider than my bench grip, is that not normal?

Bench grip for me is wider then the ohp. I tore out my left shoulder when I was 18 and found that the wider grip is not comfortable, shoulder width takes the stress and places it a touch more on the triceps. The Delta here is roughly 1.5" not much but enough to make a difference.

I’m definitely not a person you should be asking with regards to what is and is not normal…

1 Like

Everyone is a bit different. I use to OHP really narrow (first thumb line on the beginning on the knurling) and it worked but my elbows would ALWAYS kill me. Now I went out maybe 1 inch on each side and no elbow pain at all. Have to play around with it a bit to see what works for you.

1 Like

are you suggesting you can literally add 200 lbs to your max deadlift by raising the starting height by 2 inches? I’ve never seen anything CLOSE to that. And I’ve seen a whoooole lot of deadlifting.

2 Likes

More then 2" closer to 4"… but yeah. The problem with lifting from STD hight is that I’m folded over funny, really restricts getting off the ground. My ratios are such that I’m lifting from a deficit just standing at the bar.
Bar sits at call it 9", at lockout for me the bar is 36" off the ground. Looong legs… Short arms in relation. Bar travel is 27" roughly… I think that’s longer then most. I’ve tried sumo, don’t like it.

Not to hijack the thread, but since tomorrow is press day…

One of the tips you gave me on my log is to possibly try a wider grip and as soon as I read it I thought it could work.

However, how do you feel about the general advice of gripping the bar at a width such that your forearms are perpendicular to the ground in the rack position? That’s what I’ve been using for my own press.

I remember the first one I learned that from was Mark Rippetoe when I first started lifting. The theory should be that if you “stack” your joints, you’ll be in a stronger and more stable position.

I kinda have a feeling it’ll feel super weird to grip the bar wider. Also, should I flare my elbows out to keep the forearms vertical? I can picture in my mind that gripping the bar wider but keeping the elbows to my sides will bring to a weird position where the forearms are oblique.

(Edit: nvm the last question, your video answers it)

1 Like

Mark Tippytoe is great for teaching a beginner the BASICS of form on the 4 major lifts.

You are no longer a beginner, and should figure out what works for your individual body type; in an ideal world, with ideal body proportions, all strict form conventions would happily apply to everyone. But, this is not the world we live in.

I barely passed geometry, so I don’t tend to rely on it in training. Forarm position is never something I troubled with on the press: I just usef a grio that felt good.

I’m tall too. Some parts of lifting sound like they might suck more for us. If the fact that it might suck more is discouraging you from doing it, that’s a problem. Also, having extra weight is super helpful, and you’re 270, so you have that going for you.

It’s funny, I like squats, deads I’m meh with due to the difficulty of getting the right setup. I’ve just always found it frustratingly odd that those lower body lifts are low in proportion to the upper body lifts.

I’m trying to get my weight back down to 240~235, it’s creeped up over the last couple yrs. Getting older sucks, strength and stamina are not the same as when I was in my 20’s … 20yrs changes things.

1 Like

If it’s just for fun/strength/general well being, there’s no reason you can’t or shouldn’t pull from blocks or something.

You aren’t training to comp standards, so why adhere to something like that?