T Nation

Does Mass/Height Really Matter?

No, no, this isnt some napoleon complexe thing.

I’m just curious as to why someone who is 5’7 and 170 pounds, deadlifting like 500 pounds is a big deal as opposed to 6’4 and 250 pounds and deadlifting the same amount. Doesnt he have better leverages and doesnt have to put the weight up as high? Talking about the 5’7 guy.

What’s the point of putting on more “fat”? I see alot of “powerlifters” weight 5 tons but i dont really understand why they need to weight 5 tons. Surely body fat wont help you in terms of strength.
I get that they have to eat alot, but why do they eat so excessively?

Also, for the power clean, you re supposed to catch the bar behind the clavicle and on the shoulders. When the bar is going down and you slip under to rack, is it ok if you resist a bit the bar going down with your arms?

Thanks

I agree with you with the fact that a lot of smaller guys can lift a good amount of weight. Look at the elite totals for guys in the 148 lb weight class or 165 lb weight class:

http://www.rawpowerlifting.com/pdf/RAWClassificationStandards.pdf

Pretty big numbers. I guarantee you most of those guys are not under 10% bf or maybe not even 15%, possibly even higher. Bodyweight is a bigger factor in the lower weight classes where you would have to worry about making weight. Some of these guys might stay leaner to avoid moving up a weight class.

Another thing is there is definitely a performance correlation between bodyfat/weight and strength. It might be in a gymnasts advantage to be lean, but I will argue that there is a performance advantage to be had for strength athletes that are not excessively lean. Cutting weight, worrying about carbs/calorie intake, and other trivialities takes away from training time and more important things.

There is also a big difference between a guy benching 300, squatting 400, and deadlifting 500 at 160 vs a guy at 250 putting up the same numbers. The 160 lb athlete is probably a lot better at his sport than the 250 guy putting up the same numbers. Compare the 160 lb guy to a 250 lb elite level lifter who is benching well over 400, squatting over 800, and deadlifting something else. There is some leverage issues and stuff, but at the end of the day the bigger guy is generally stronger regardless.

I think Eric Cressey put up an over 1400 lb total at 165, as an example of a smaller guy who is pretty good at what he does. I don’t follow powerlifting too closely, so I don’t have any better examples. A lot of bigger guys can’t put up those numbers, but they aren’t at the same level.

I think some guys also just like to lift and eat, and don’t give a shit about their weight/bodyfat. I don’t see anything wrong with it, its just not a priority to them.

[quote]theuofh wrote:
I agree with you with the fact that a lot of smaller guys can lift a good amount of weight.[/quote]

What i meant is why is it a big deal if a smaller guy lifts more or the same as a big guy?
“Relative strength” is meaningless imo. Don’t smaller guys have the advantage in terms of leverage and how little the weight must move? Sure the bigger guy has bigger muscles but doesnt it balance out?

Put simply it’s much easier for a short guy to lift a lot of weight at a very low bodyweight than a tall guy.

The fat powerlifters would not be as strong if they did not eat so much. Partly because of leverages. But if you always eat a lot of food, and always eat more kcal than you spend, your going to put on more muclemass as well. It’s like bodybuilders when they are bulking they increase muscle and strength, powerlifters doesn’t have to diet down after the bulking so many just keep bulking all the time.

[quote]blazindave wrote:
theuofh wrote:
I agree with you with the fact that a lot of smaller guys can lift a good amount of weight.

What i meant is why is it a big deal if a smaller guy lifts more or the same as a big guy?
“Relative strength” is meaningless imo. Don’t smaller guys have the advantage in terms of leverage and how little the weight must move? Sure the bigger guy has bigger muscles but doesnt it balance out?[/quote]
I agree with you when it comes to regular gym rats or intermediate lifters. But if you take a look at the people winning the super heavy weight championships, they generally are quite tall, at least compared to the other weight classes. And I think that’s because they have a bigger mass potential. Eventually you will come to point where it’s really hard to pack on more mass, and that’s where I think some of the taller guys will win over the shorter ones when it comes to the real heavy stuff.

In terms of being a better athlete it kinda goes without saying that a 190 lb dude who can lift the same as a 250 lb dude will be better. He can jump longer, higher, move faster, change directions more quicly and so on.

[quote]molnes wrote:
blazindave wrote:
theuofh wrote:
I agree with you with the fact that a lot of smaller guys can lift a good amount of weight.

What i meant is why is it a big deal if a smaller guy lifts more or the same as a big guy?
“Relative strength” is meaningless imo. Don’t smaller guys have the advantage in terms of leverage and how little the weight must move? Sure the bigger guy has bigger muscles but doesnt it balance out?
I agree with you when it comes to regular gym rats or intermediate lifters. But if you take a look at the people winning the super heavy weight championships, they generally are quite tall, at least compared to the other weight classes. And I think that’s because they have a bigger mass potential. Eventually you will come to point where it’s really hard to pack on more mass, and that’s where I think some of the taller guys will win over the shorter ones when it comes to the real heavy stuff.

In terms of being a better athlete it kinda goes without saying that a 190 lb dude who can lift the same as a 250 lb dude will be better. He can jump longer, higher, move faster, change directions more quicly and so on.[/quote]

Yeah, but his shits wont be nearly as big.

Small guys have advantages in certain lifts but big guys do in others, deadlift is generally easier for skinnier people, while benching and squatting for the fat. I don’t think relative strength is a big deal because in most sports especially powerlifting, 165 lb guys aren’t going to be competing against a 250 lb guy.

You might see a small dude pull 500+, but you’ll never see him pull a grand.

More (muscle) mass means more force can be exerted against the bar. I think the bigger you are, the more potential you have for lifting huge weights.

As far as PLers being fat… shorter ROM. If you weigh 300lbs and get a good arch on your bench, you only have to move the bar a few inches. Someone like me who’s not a fatty has to move the bar 18 inches or more.

Generally speaking of course. There will always be mutants who are abnormally strong given their size…

Relative strength is not meaningless. In fact, it’s very important depending on the sport. For some, relative strength is extremely important, more so than absolute strength.

The way I got it is that height does not matter much in squat,or that it matters the least. The deadlift favours proportions (long arms,short back and legs or so) over height and the bench favours the short armed lifter,in other words the shorter lifter.

There is no clear cut answer to your question.

Bigger will usually mean stronger tho…

Can someone answer the power clean question?
It seems everyone missed it :stuck_out_tongue:

You got the big belly benchers out there who need the massive extended guts. Shirting benchers usually touch the upper abs anyway. Generally the bigger you get in the middle the more you squat and bench but your dead gets harder. The opposite is true too.

[quote]Nate Dogg wrote:
Relative strength is not meaningless. In fact, it’s very important depending on the sport. For some, relative strength is extremely important, more so than absolute strength.[/quote]

Actually it is kind of worthless. When you’re the same weight and the other guy is just stronger, he’s just stronger. This is why they have weight classes or optimal sizes for various sports.

If I’m a heavyweight boxer, a flyweights much greater relative strength still equals him getting beat. If we’re both flyweights, he’s just stronger, not relatively stronger.

And I might get beat if he’s a better boxer.

With a taller person, the bar has to travel a longer distance therefore more power has to be generated (Fxd) per rep.

With a shorter person, the bar has to travel a shorter distance therefore less power has to be generated.

So if one guy is taller, one guy is shorter, and both are lifting the same weight, the taller guy has way more power (in physics terms) and is stronger in the sense that he has to lift the weight a greater distance and for a longer period of time, and using up more energy.

The weight prolly just matters because the tall guy has to put on relatively more mass on to his frame to support the same kind of poundages the short guy is using.

[quote]tom63 wrote:
Nate Dogg wrote:
Relative strength is not meaningless. In fact, it’s very important depending on the sport. For some, relative strength is extremely important, more so than absolute strength.

Actually it is kind of worthless. When you’re the same weight and the other guy is just stronger, he’s just stronger. This is why they have weight classes or optimal sizes for various sports.

If I’m a heavyweight boxer, a flyweights much greater relative strength still equals him getting beat. If we’re both flyweights, he’s just stronger, not relatively stronger.

And I might get beat if he’s a better boxer.

[/quote]

This is correct for boxing yes. But not for other sports. If you weight 100 kg and squat 200 kg as a soccer player, you are probably going to be a lot worse physically than a 65 kg soccer player that also squats 200 kg. Why? Cause he can probably run a lot faster, jump a lot higher, etc. etc. So the boxing example doesn’t apply to all sports.

[quote]Shoebolt wrote:
With a taller person, the bar has to travel a longer distance therefore more power has to be generated (Fxd) per rep.

With a shorter person, the bar has to travel a shorter distance therefore less power has to be generated.

So if one guy is taller, one guy is shorter, and both are lifting the same weight, the taller guy has way more power (in physics terms) and is stronger in the sense that he has to lift the weight a greater distance and for a longer period of time, and using up more energy.

The weight prolly just matters because the tall guy has to put on relatively more mass on to his frame to support the same kind of poundages the short guy is using.[/quote]

Yes but more the guy is taller bigger then his muscles are bigger to begin with. If we go to the extreme, take a 2 foot midget, and an 8 foot giant.
Both can lift 300 pounds with ATG squat. Sure the giant has to carry it further, but the weight in proportion to his muscle size and body frame isnt that big of a deal.
While the midget is squatting 300 pounds, the distance covered is only 1 foot.
I find that it balances out. Sure one has to go less of a distance, but the other guy has more muscle and weight to begin with, and thus…more strength. In the end, obviously the bigger guy is stronger. My point was that i just didnt see why a smaller guy lifting same weight as a big guy is a big deal. In the end the big guy has to move it a larger distance.

And someone answer my power clean question :frowning:

youguys sound like your hating on short lifters…maybe your not. i dunno. just sounds like it. not trying to start a fight. just seems like it doesnt matter. if you build strength or want to then just do it. if you want somthing go for it and dont worry about it… just my 2 cents. no flaming or hatred intended.

i dont think you resist the weight either. when i do my power cleans my arms are guides and stabilizers. I "catch the weight with my clavicles through my legs and hips. stay strong everyone

I don’t know if this is exactly your point, but it really annoys me when people will try to belittle someone’s achievements by trying to use their weight as an excuse for why they should be able to lift more.

It’ll go something like this…

I finally got a 250 pound bench!!

Really, how much do you weigh?

240

That’s barely a full body weight bench press, you should be benching at least 1.5x bodyweight. Boooo… get back to the gym you big fat fatty, I hope you rot in hell

This was obviously a slight exaggeration, but it just makes me mad, a small guy will get praised for 180 just because he weighs 115. If he gained 50 pounds of fat, everyone would start telling him how his lifts really need to improve when a moment ago he was soooo awesome.

I don’t hate smaller lifters, I think its great whenever someone tries to make a goal and achieves it. I just think too much value is put into how much someone weighs.

[quote]molnes wrote:

In terms of being a better athlete it kinda goes without saying that a 190 lb dude who can lift the same as a 250 lb dude will be better. He can jump longer, higher, move faster, change directions more quicly and so on.[/quote]

Exactly true. In any sport where you move your body, your weight is the resistance. If speed is important, than so is the strength to weight ratio.

Another reason why small people tend to have better strength to weight ratios is because animals in general don’t scale well. The bigger the animal, the worse the strength to weight ratio (hence, ants can lift 40 times their bodyweight).

This site explains it well:
http://www.intuitor.com/moviephysics/

Its about movie physics… basically King Kong likely wouldn’t have been able to even stand.