T Nation

Elite Weightlifters

Some of the elite weightlifters are extremely strong for their size. How do they stay that small while getting so strong? I thought that by doing heavy sets of 1-6 reps, you would get functional hypertrophy, which isn’t as easy to get as regular hypertrophy (ie. bodybuilding style training). Do these guys restrict their caloric intake or train at very small volumes to stay within their weight class?

Genetics. Mostly.

yup. genetics with having naturally thicker/stronger ligaments/tendons.

If you are talking about olympic weightlifting, I for one have not seen much mass changes along with strength increase from the olympic lifts for myself.

genetics mainly, also not eatin outside of their weight class

Yeah, all those guys are born with the strength to lift big weights like that. They were also born with perfect lifting technique. They didn’t have to work incredibly hard on technique & drills for many years & don’t have to exert any effort when squatting 400kg (like Alexander Kurlovich), etc. I’ve got some questions though. Are Canadians better at hockey because of their genetics? Are Kiwis better at rugby because of their genetics? I don’t know why anyone would think that olympic lifters are small though. Vasiliy Alexeev weighed 340lbs or something, Naim Suleimanoglu lifted as a 64 (141lbs) @ only 4’11", which is about average height for lifters in the lightest class, 52kg. Robert Roman’s recommendations for a lifter’s weight class depending on height are: 52kg 55.9-58.3", 56kg 57.5-59.8", 60kg 60-62", 67.5kg 62.2-63.8", 75kg 63.8-65.4", 82.5kg 65.4-66.9", 90kg 66.5-68.1", 100kg 67.9-69.5", 110kg 69.1-70.7", 110kg+ 70.9-75.6". 242lbs @ 5’10" is small?! How huge are the guys at your gym?

Nathan Say, your clear lack of knowledge is really astounding.

I’m still waiting for you to put on that 100lbs of LBM in ONE YEAR that you claim is a realistic goal despite having average genetics and not using steroids. If I were to judge you by the pic u posted I’d say you havent acheived 1/10th of that gain.

BTW what are your lifts? I want to know how the hardcores improve?

The strength comes from developed ligaments. Your muscle is potentially already strong enough to lift big weights. I agree with Brooks Kubik’s ideas about real strength.

What don’t I know dman? (& if you’re so smart, why are you only an engineer? lol from math students everywhere) & I said that it was possible for somebody to gain 100lbs of lbm in a year, not just anybody. As for my pic (210lbs @ 6’-nothing to sneeze at I think), when I finally curled that 45, I guessed that there were about 20 guys in the world who can duplicate that lift even though I can only name 7 (me, Mike Daly, David Horne, David Erives, Nick McKinless, Martin Whittred). A guy on the GripBoard though, guessed that there are only 10. Try it one-handed & see if you can even get into a position to do anything with it. btw I guarantee I’ve got very average-sized hands & wrists but it didn’t seem to stop me.

Unfortuanetely I cant find the thread where you claimed gaining 100LBS LBM in a year was common. The archives only date back so far. So we’ll have to leave that comment at that.

And I’ll agree that 210lbs@6 feet is nothing to sneeze at, its also nothing to write home about. Your solid but if had asked me to describe you from the way you boost about being hardcore and the ideas on human potential I would have imagined you impressive. In other words your bark is loud.

As far as being one of only a few ppl who can perform that 45lbs plate curl I would say it has mostly to do with the fact that 20 ever practice it. If it were a more popular lift I guarantee you that every gym would have at least 3 individuals capable of that lift.

Anyways, I’m not here to tear into your achievements. I wont pretend you’re a lightweight. I just think you’re young age, inexperience and enthusiasm cloud your vision when it comes to steroids in sport and certain aspects of human potential.

All in all if thinking like that makes you happy and it gets you through your workout then who am I to convince you otherwise… even though you are wrong :wink:

Nathan you’re picture doesn’t really show what kind of shape you’re in, all you can see is basically your forearm. I’m not disputing your statement about what shape you’re in, merely saying the pic doesn’t necessarily validate it.

Having a picture taken with a 45lb plate in the raised position doesn’t prove you lifted it there either.

If you’re forearms are that strong lets see you pinchgrip two 45lb plates (flat sides out) and lift them off the floor then take a pic, that would be hard to fake. If you can do that plate lift the pinch grip should be easy for you.

I could go into my gym right now, put 400 or so on the bar while it is sitting at the top of a power rack, then lift it a couple of inches to lockout and have a picture taken. Would that picture prove I had pressed it overhead?

"All in all if thinking like that makes you happy and it gets you through your workout then who am I to convince you otherwise… even though you are wrong :wink: " Maybe some would say the same of your opinion on natural potential. I think the point Say was trying to get across is that too many people put too much emphasis on genetics. I ,personally, am tired of people who simply say “Oh, he has good genes” or “He MUST be juicing” instead of saying “Damn, he must have worked really hard for a really long time to get that good”. Of course, natural potential plays a large part in what you can do but for MOST people, even elite lifters, determination is the main ingredient.

I agree that stronger ligaments and tendons are a concern for powerlifters but you also have to take into account upgrading of the cns. If you are able to get a lot stronger without getting bigger the strength gains would be greatly due to increased recruitment and synchronzation of motor units, not just stronger tendons and ligaments.

That is true, but I’ve read somehwere (pne of Pavel’s books, or supertraining?) that the cns doesn’t allow full recruitment of motor units precisely because our sinews and bones wouldn’t be able to handle it. I forgot how this principle is called, I might be wrong here too.

First of all, tendons & ligaments don’t get stronger, it’s the increasing of the threshold of the Golgi tendon organs which happens when doing heavy partials & ballistic-type training. That’s that thing Pavel T was talking about. The Golgio tendon organs are the protective mechanism which keeps someone from getting torn up. Second, Wyzz Kidd needs to look up “Occam’s Razor” somewhere & see that maybe the simplest answer is usually the correct one. Third, olympic lifters are hand-picked (based on their genetics, so they do play a role) at a young age (like 10-12) & they are drilled & drilled so they learn perfect technique. This is so they don’t have to work much on technique when they hit adolescence & their relative strength goes down the toilet. They spend their time on strength & conditioning rather than tech at that point. 4th, I never said that gaining 100lbs a year is common, I only said it was humanly possible because at least one guy (John McCallum, using 20-rep squats & his hip belt) had done it. If one guy has done it, nobody can say it can’t be done. Someone has split the atom, therefore it is possible, see? 5th, you guys who doubt everything will never reach your goals if you don’t believe that someone can do something without drugs or with only perfect genetics. What kind of loser attitude is that? When I started plate curling, I couldn’t do a 25, & I still wouldn’t be able to if I made up excuses about perfect genetics or drugs. Aren’t you guys forgetting that there were really strong people before people knew about genetics or used drugs?

where to start, your knowledge of ettiquette or facts? i am not an engineer, and what would be the problem if i was??? smart people respect the adage ‘whatever floats your boat.’ tendons and ligaments DO get stronger. try reading supertraining. IT CLEARLY says tendons and ligaments do get stronger. and all weight classes but the superheavyweight, generally the lifters dont weigh very much and dont look particularly “big”

Maybe I was thinking of DAMAN, one of you guys is always going on about how you’re such a smarty-pants engineering student as if that has anything to do with anything. Anyway, 200lbs @ 5’6"-5’8" is pretty big & that comes from research that the Soviet scientists got from the logs, etc of all their 300,000 weightlifters & on average the lifters in each weight class got taller once the press got dropped as a competition lift. The result of low-rep/heavy-weight lifting is de-inhibition of thhe Golgi tendon organs if you’ve been a good T-reader & read Charles Poliquin.

Hey I think this may have an answer relateing to this subject: Which is functionally more powerful? A- more muscle cells or larger muscle cells, for the same given weight? B- more muscle cells or larger muscle cells, for the same given volume? I do not know the answer but I theorize that more muscle cells for either would be more powerful than larger muscle cells? Is this true? Can someone help me with this one? If so then people who were volumetricly smaller but had more cells in greater density would be very powerful people… though people who had similar genetics for this to be the case, but were much larger, would be even more powerful. While others with normal genetics wouldn’t be as poweful for that same volume but would probably weigh less?

I agree with your point about someone’s workout and time spent, giving you almost all of the gains you’ll ever experiance really. I think af all the most significant aspects of potental, unbreakable will power (heart) will give you more than anything else. This has to be a lifestyle, but… when you can’t move any further (and I believe it is possible for everyone to reach that stage) then you have the option to intelligently enhance your biology if you want it… personally right now I like trying to break my will to become something more…