T Nation

How much can you BEAR?

I’d like to thank Coach Davies for introdcuing me to this form of torture. Nothing satisfies my lust for pain like The Bear. Here are my stats on The Bear 3 sets of 5 at 95 lbs. and additional 2 sets of 5 at 75 lbs. This is on a 5’ 9" 167lbs. frame. My improvement is from 5 sets at 65 lbs when I started. I’d like to know how other people fair with this excercise. What are you stats and what was your improvement?

the bear sucks.

I worked up to 165 for a set of six and it about killed me. Then I realized the bear wasn’t taking me toward my strength training goals so I stopped.

The Bear will not help you improve your strength, hence this is an inappropriate forum for this question.

Pat - congrat’s sounds like your doing great. Keep up the great work!

In faith,

Coach Davies

I am curious how the Bear doesn’t improve strength? If you perform an execise one day, then use heavier weight the next time, did you or did you not increase in strength? Seems like you must be stronger to use more weight? Hmm, I am perplexed. Please elaborate…

In faith,

I am curious how the Bear doesn’t improve strength?

The Bear would not be the best choice if you’re looking to improve maximal strength. So, if your goal is to increase your power clean, the Bear is not the optimal method of doing that.

However, the Bear will improve strength-endurance and conditioning.

Matt, more than likely you improved your CNS for that particular movement. Any new movement you perform your strength will be low at first and increase rapidly as you begin to learn how to do the movement. This has nothing to do with increasing strength.

So what is the definition of strength then?

In faith,

I’m with MikeTheBear.

When starting strength training (or doing an unfamiliar movement) the initial gains are known as neural strength gains. Note the middle word “strength”. Further gains can be made by increasing muscle fiber size. These would be hypertrophic strength gains. In any case, BOTH would be considered STRENGTH gains. The only downside is that they may be limited to that particular movement.

I enjoy this multi joint exercise, sure you may not go extremely heavy ,but I have taken this to a higher level by performing this on the ball…The only weight is the olmpic bar…

I really like using the BEAR in combination with Mahler’s High Octane Cardio program (T244)…I feel like I’ll cough up a lung.

When used properly the bear has its place in a workout. I get so sick of hearing that if it deviates from the holy trinity of squat, bench and deadlift it doesn’t improve performance or strength. Better tell people to stop doing 1 and a 1/4 squats then, it may make hte rep too long and not promote strength. The bear is a great conditioning exercise and well it may not improve max strength it will certainly improve conditioning and you can gauge your personal improvments in the exercise if you choose the bear. Hell, why even push press or clean and press when just doing a snatch gets the weight overhead without all the interference half way up? I suspect the flak the bear gets is more a result of people who don’t like coach davies as a conditioning professional, so rather than step up and call him out people choose to bash an exercise or training methodology he promotes. That’s real tough! Whatever, if you like the bear, do the bear, if you don’t then don’t.

The Bear sucks. Do sprints if you want to be conditioned. Lift if you want to be strong. Why lift to condition? The bear works both cardiovascular (anaerobic) capacities and the muscles simultaneously. Great, but it also works them both sub-optimally. Why not

a) Do some HIIT
b) Lift heavy weights



Hey guy! Thanks for contributing your opinions!

Just the same though, Davies is a well known and respected strength/conditioning/athletic coach with loads of contributions to the tnation community, who recommended the bear simply as a quick suggestion/option for people who wanted to to integrate into their workouts in order to change things up just a bit and…

…and you’re well, just some kid spending every waking minute posting his opinions all over the internet, last I read you were doing like twenty different programs at once and had q’s about all of them!

Hey! You should read Barardi’s article in this week’s issue! There might be something he mentions in there that rings true for you!

It is a great exercise for strongman conditioning. Especially if you do not have access to implements.

In strongman, strength is measured in a variety of ways, not just your one rep max.

Why not

a) Do some HIIT
b) Lift heavy weights


Ko has given us one answer. When competing in strongman, you need to adjust to the cardio hell of lifting sub-maximal weight and carrying it or lifting it for reps or whatever.

Another answer - variety. I personally like using weights for conditioning.

Chris Thibaudeau, whose opinion I very much respect, is against using weights for conditioning. His philosophy is lift weights for strength and do energy systems work for cardio and fat burning. I believe his statement is 100% correct. However, when I work out, I like to enjoy what I’m doing. I’d rather do high-rep Olympic movements and circuit-training (BTW, CT has designed a circuit training workout so he’s not against all forms of circuit training) as a HIIT workout rather than run sprints. So that’s what I do.

“The Bear sucks” is the most simple minded answer and is usually from someone who does not realize that many exercises have a place in a training program.

When I’m short on time and still want to perform some sort of training, I turn to The Bear. It’s a kickass way to jump start your lungs and your ass into training. That’s for damn sure.

It just amazes me how many ignorant people flood this forum … luckily, there are some thoughtful and accurate responses here as well. For those of you who can only measure strength within the confines of the bench and squat then don’t walk out of the rack … so much in life you probably can’t handle anyway. Wow … some of you really don’t get it. You have no idea what training the body really is.

For those of you really interested in the bear … try to develop a good flow with it, and work the speed on your descent as well. It’s all in the fluidity.