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Bodybuilders Are Weak

There has been countless debates on these forums about bodybuilders being weak. When I was younger I remember hearing that. “Body builders may be big but they’re weak as hell.” Where did this stereotype come from? Was it something that carried over from before Pumping Iron? I watched it yesterday and didn’t understand how someone could think bodybuilders were weak. They are throwing around some serious shit in that movie. Was it because of the “stage freaks” sometimes use of props for their feats of strength during the traveling roadshow days??

Difficult to say, but I do know of people who say it this way: if bodybuilders were as strong/athletic as they claim to be, why aren’t they playing the sports to prove it? And, therefore, since they aren’t, they clearly are not that strong, etc.

Don’t know if I buy into that myself completely, but I think a number of people think that if you are truly that strong, you would be doing something other than standing around in a purple Speedo.

That’s a guess - I have no real idea.

I think the percfeption was that bodybuilders were weak FOR THEIR SIZE. Meaning you have guys that are freaks of nature squating 600 pounds and they only weigh 185 pounds, but bodybuilders can only squat 600 pounds and they weigh 265 and up.

Also, since bodybuilders tend to use intensity principles like supersets and whatnot, it wouldnt be uncommon to see a huge bodybuilder curling the infamous 35 pound dumbbells and being totally done on rep number 8… only problem is that people didnt see the work he had JUST done before that set, so they think “Wow, Bruno over there can only curl 35 pounds 8 times…weak”

One thing that didn’t help was how professional bodybuilders would get their asses kicked by strongmen in the first World’s Strongest Man completitions.

I think Poliquin once wrote that he knew of two elite level bodybuilders who could not bench 300 pounds.

Bodybuilders are obviously stronger then the average person. Some , like Ronnie Coleman, are very strong. Many probably have inflated training poundages.

I think BB’s get grouped together because of the higher then usual reps then powerlifters and Olympic lifters use. Probably the nature of the contest, posing on stage and not lifting, helps in such a stereo type.

Being strong is subjective. To say that bodybuilders are not strong is like saying that Olympic lifting is all technique.

PLease, please I hope that bodybuilding never becomes an Olympic sport but that’s for another thread.

Must be the split training they do.

I never heard the term “weak” used until this website. “Weak” is an awfully generic term.

What I often heard, decades ago, was “weightlifting makes you muscle-bound.”

If I may borrow from dictionary.com:
mus?cle?bound
also mus?cle-bound (mŭs’əl-bound’) adj.
1.Having inelastic, overdeveloped muscles, usually as the result of excessive exercise.
2. Hindered by or as if by overdeveloped muscles.
3. Characterized by inflexibility; rigid.

This means, ultimately, “weak”; the distinction (in my opinion) that needs to be made is that the older term offers a reason why BBers would be considered “weak.” Since you were looking for an origin for the myth, I offer this.

[quote]Lonnie123 wrote:
I think the perception was that bodybuilders were weak FOR THEIR SIZE. Meaning you have guys that are freaks of nature squating 600 pounds and they only weigh 185 pounds, but bodybuilders can only squat 600 pounds and they weigh 265 and up.
[/quote]

Some people think bodybuilders are weak for their size. I think some of the bodybuilding hate is because some guys think it is unmasculine (the speedos, looking at male physiques, etc…)

Of course, bodybuilders are strong though, to get big one has to get strong.

[quote]TShaw wrote:
I never heard the term “weak” used until this website.[/quote]

Me either.

[quote]jimg21 wrote:
I think Poliquin once wrote that he knew of two elite level bodybuilders who could not bench 300 pounds.[/quote]

Could be because of shoulder injuries. When my joints flare up, I can’t bench even 100 pounds.

Also, Poliquin once wrote that taking BetanineHCl would lead to a 14 pound increase in LBM.

The guys writes all sorts of weird shit. Don’t believe everything you read.

[quote]PGA wrote:
“Body builders may be big but they’re weak as hell.” Where did this stereotype come from? [/quote]

Read Nietzsche for the answer. It’s something small and weak people say to make themselves feel superior to bodybuilders. Envy and resentment will lead people to do this.

When a smoking hot chick walks by a group of girls, you can bet one of them will say, “bitch,” “slut,” etc. Why? Because the other girls feel threatened.

When a big boy walks by, all the small and weak guys need to insult that person to make themselves feel better. Hence, they say bodybuilders are weak.

Now that the UFC is on TV just about every day, fewer guys say bb’ers are weak. Now they say, “I could totally tap him out!”

Also, everyone under 200 pounds refers to everyone over 200 pounds as fat. Why? Same emotions - envy and resentment - are at play.

I have never really heard anybody say that bodybuilders are weak. There is of course the argument that muscle size and strength are not always same thing, but, overall, any bodybuilder with a significant amount of muscle will be strong.

I don’t know where this idea came from BB are really strong, but when compared with Strongman competitors and Olympic Lifters then BBs don’t quite measure up.

I think Waterbury discussed this in one of his articles, or maybe the Critic did I can’t remember… But I recalled that a lot had to do with BB training for looks by only using split training (some adding juice), without doing any compound and/or high-intensity/cardio training. Therefore leaving a really strong looking body, but with a conditioning and lifting ability not to par with what the body looks.

[quote]NeoSpartan wrote:
I think Waterbury discussed this in one of his articles, or maybe the Critic did I can’t remember… But I recalled that a lot had to do with BB training for looks by only using split training (some adding juice), without doing any compound and/or high-intensity/cardio training. [/quote]

Every bb’ers I knew who did split programs squatted on leg did, did pull-ups on back day, and benched and did dips on chest day. All of those are compound movements.

Please do not comment again until you can do something other than (mis)quote an article.

Bodybuilders are as strong as they look, but powerlifters and strongmen are way stronger than they look.

I hear a lot of this thrown around during martial arts training. They are always saying shit like; bodybuilders are weak and nonfunctional, a smaller person will take them out easy, and that their pressure points (I assume that means nerves and shit) are closer to the skin.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
PGA wrote:
“Body builders may be big but they’re weak as hell.” Where did this stereotype come from?

Read Nietzsche for the answer. It’s something small and weak people say to make themselves feel superior to bodybuilders. Envy and resentment will lead people to do this.

When a smoking hot chick walks by a group of girls, you can bet one of them will say, “bitch,” “slut,” etc. Why? Because the other girls feel threatened.

When a big boy walks by, all the small and weak guys need to insult that person to make themselves feel better. Hence, they say bodybuilders are weak.

Now that the UFC is on TV just about every day, fewer guys say bb’ers are weak. Now they say, “I could totally tap him out!”

Also, everyone under 200 pounds refers to everyone over 200 pounds as fat. Why? Same emotions - envy and resentment - are at play.[/quote]

Good points Calilaw.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
jimg21 wrote:
I think Poliquin once wrote that he knew of two elite level bodybuilders who could not bench 300 pounds.

Could be because of shoulder injuries. When my joints flare up, I can’t bench even 100 pounds.

Also, Poliquin once wrote that taking BetanineHCl would lead to a 14 pound increase in LBM.

The guys writes all sorts of weird shit. Don’t believe everything you read.[/quote]

Poliquin was writing about the fact that BB’s indeed do not train for strength as much as they should. He was pointing out about the extremse size of these bb’s but but their lack of strength.

I question everything I read but I do like his training principles.

[quote]jimg21 wrote:
CaliforniaLaw wrote:
jimg21 wrote:
I think Poliquin once wrote that he knew of two elite level bodybuilders who could not bench 300 pounds.

Could be because of shoulder injuries. When my joints flare up, I can’t bench even 100 pounds.

Also, Poliquin once wrote that taking BetanineHCl would lead to a 14 pound increase in LBM.

The guys writes all sorts of weird shit. Don’t believe everything you read.

Poliquin was writing about the fact that BB’s indeed do not train for strength as much as they should. He was pointing out about the extremse size of these bb’s but but their lack of strength.

I question everything I read but I do like his training principles.

[/quote]

I like his training principles too, but I think he does say some weird stuff and sometimes uses hyperbole to make his point.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
PGA wrote:
“Body builders may be big but they’re weak as hell.” Where did this stereotype come from?

Read Nietzsche for the answer. It’s something small and weak people say to make themselves feel superior to bodybuilders. Envy and resentment will lead people to do this.

When a smoking hot chick walks by a group of girls, you can bet one of them will say, “bitch,” “slut,” etc. Why? Because the other girls feel threatened.

When a big boy walks by, all the small and weak guys need to insult that person to make themselves feel better. Hence, they say bodybuilders are weak.

Now that the UFC is on TV just about every day, fewer guys say bb’ers are weak. Now they say, “I could totally tap him out!”

Also, everyone under 200 pounds refers to everyone over 200 pounds as fat. Why? Same emotions - envy and resentment - are at play.[/quote]

The other direction :

I had a discussion tonight with a bodybuilder at a new gym I train at, about the form I use and some of the execises(one-arm laterals apparantely make your body asymmetrical and crooked, and face pulls are bad for your back - at least the way I did them, apparantely)

He was convinced bodybuilders could do as well, if not better, than an athlete who trains for his sport.
Now, whatever you train for, this is hogwash, and stems from insecurity.

I listened to his arguments(he was 265 @ 6’2 - I am 222 @ 5’8), and politely told him that that simply wasn’t true, and gave him arguments(which rely on common sense, after all), and he had tremendous difficulty acknowledging that.

I should point out that all of this happened after in my training tonight I was stronger, or as strong as him, on almost all exercises I did.(we go a little back)

Envy and resentment. You said it.