T Nation

How Come the Big Powerlifters Never Grind?


#1

When i see lifters like Carl Yngvar Christensen (video below) he never grinds during heavy squats, even whit the world record attemt. He bench presses 350 kg easy and deadlifts just flyes of the floor. What levarges does he have in order to do this and what muscles can be trained in order to lift heavy weights so smoothly?


#2

Some guys move the bar faster than others… You can improve your rate of force production through dynamic effort (speed) work… I’m sure you’ve heard of Louie Simmons and Westside Barbell? 50% of their training is based on this …


#3

The big powerlifters don’t grind because they are the big powerlifters.

They have that magical formula of force production and strength that us mere mortals can only hope to emulate and constantly try to improve.

They train their asses off but are made for this sport and as such they just make everything look easy.


#4

If you grind a squat don’t you get red lights


#5

No - as long as you don’t reverse direction after you begin the movement.


#6

No grinding?

Personally, I’ve found that as I progress as a lifter the less I grind even on 1RM’s. Spotters will tell me I’m good for another one, but I know my 1RM frequently goes up just as fast as the set leading up to it.


#7

Some guys either lift it explosively or fail. Perhaps its that they never train to grind reps out or its just how they are wired - I have a hard time with the training scenario as if it results in more weight lifted then they would train for it.

Or perhaps Christensen has lots in the tank. Breaking the world record 10 times is a bunch better than breaking it once by 20kg.


#8

i think for most guys the grind isn’t worth it, if you get out of the grove with 405, ok who cares, with a thousand pounds, your knee blows up. thats why I think you rarely see missed lifts, or grinds.


#9

I agree with @bigmanfootball67 If you get out of the groove with heavy weights, they are literally impossible for most people to move because there is not enough biomechanical support (both bone and muscle) to play around with weights that heavy. So if it is in the groove they get it, if it isn’t you know it pretty immediately and they miss it.


#10

You don’t need to train speed effort to be fast w/ heavy weights. Speed is a result of strength in my opinion. However, technique is super important in moving big weights quickly. It’s really just a result of training heavier (not max) weights explosively thru each rep. Lots of lifters tend to slow down at the top of a rep. Try and move the weight the same speed thru each rep.

Some of it may have to do w/ genetics and type 2b muscle fibers I suppose as well.


#11

The best actually do grind though. Chuck Vogelpohl, Dan Greene, Stan Efferding, Ed Coan, and Konstantin Konstantinov are just examples of people I can think of off of the top of my head that have broken/still hold world records and were massive grinders. I can’t think of a single amazing lifter that can’t grind.


#12

Geared lifting is an entirely different conversation, chucks out, the other guys have some merit, One thing thats common about all the lifters you mentioned above is they where always hurt, right now the best guys in the game are not big grinders, Spoto, Krill, Benni, Malan,


#13

I wouldn’t say that they were injured any more frequently than the lifters you mentioned. All of the lifters I mentioned have only been injured majorly about once each, such as Efferding had a torn hamstring, Coan tore adductor, KK pulled his or something from beltless squats (ironic). Those are in contrast to Benni who has been absolutely plagued by injuries. Just in the past few years he hasn’t been able to compete in 2010, 2012, 2014 each because of injuries. Eric Spoto also has just touched 500 again for the first time in like half a year because of a shoulder injury.

In fact I’d say grinding vs not grinding doesn’t matter in injury prevention. It is more missing a lift vs not missing a lift.


#14

I agree with a few of the others, it’s mainly because they have been at it long enough to know exactly where to push it. Typically a grind means you are at a weight that drags your weak point out so while dynamic training probably helps a lot, it stands to reason that for any given day…even if they just set a WR…they probably had 10 more lbs in the tank for them to move so smoothly because it would get sketchy at the weak point for anybody if that was absolutely 100% the muscles could move at that point of the lift for the given day. Also when you get to that level, how well you can do varies day to day…take benni’s old WR DL I think it was 1009 lbs, it went up so easy he could have probably pulled 1025~ that day but it was a while afterwards that he even scratched 1000lbs even in competition.


#15

I can think of big lifts off the top of my head from both Spoto and Malanichev that were real grinds. Even the best lifters do it from time to time.

But yea, as has already been mentioned, a lot of times these guys don’t grind, even if they’re capable of it. I think a big part of it is the fact that, when they compete, they’re not always trying to set world records. And if they are, they’re not trying to break them by enormous amounts of weight. As has already been mentioned, if, say, Malanichev is capable of lifting 10kg over the current world record squat, and he’s on his 3rd attempt, but 10kg over the record would be a grinder and 3kg would not, it seems reasonable enough to take the 3kg over. Aside from that, if one of the strongest lifters in the world is competing but doesn’t feel like he can set a WR on that particular day, he may just do enough to win the meet, rather than risk injury for no real reason.