T Nation

How Much Does Lifting Help?

The ideas behind this post go way back to when I was in elementary school and first wanted to kick another kid’s ass for whatever reason. I think most regular males have a tendency to measure up other guys in terms of “I could kick his ass” or “he LOOKS bigger…probably would kick my ass.” And as I got older and started getting into lifting, the thought comes naturally that the bigger and stronger you get, the greater your ‘ass-kicking’ potential…but is this really the case?

I ask this because sometimes I question my motivation for lifting weights. I love lifting as a way to reduce my stress, feel more self-confident, and stay healthy, but there is this nagging notion in my head that in the end what really matters is whether or not you could beat up the other guy if circumstances led up to such a confrontation. Put in another way - would you really care that this jerk you know can out bench you by 85 lbs. if you could kick his ass? Probably not.

Another case in point - MMA welter weight Nick Diaz is a warrior first, but an endurance athlete at second. I’m about Nick’s height and weight, and I would bet my right hand that I could out lift him in everything, but I certainly wouldn’t bet money on myself in a fight against him. And Nick Diaz probably doesn’t care that his physique resembles more of a marathon runner than a muscled-gladiator.

Maybe I just think too much, and it doesn’t matter.

Your thoughts?

site search - this asked every single week

being stronger ‘might’ prevent someone from ragdolling you or it ‘might’ keep some other inexperienced guys like yourself at bay - unless all of you are drinking of course

to boost your confidence, take up boxing, grappling, whatever and then actually practice it

Unless you compete in lifting, lifting is only GPP for everything else. Sure it helps to be stronger, but its not the determinant, otherwise all top PL and Oly lifters would dominate the NFL, NBA…etc.

You want to get good at something? Practice technique 2-3 hours a day for four years minimum, and then you will have a solid enough base for your strength to be realized through proper technique.

USE THE SEARCH FUNCTION

USE THE SEARCH FUNCTION

USE THE SEARCH FUNCTION

USE THE SEARCH FUNCTION

1-1, for ‘sport’, or as a backyard thing, where the loser gets bloodied and everyone shakes hands and is friends after, then sure, there it is only a good thing to be big and strong, but you’d still get your arse kicked by someone smaller, meaner and who could fight.

In some walks of real life, not the fantasy world described above, it probably helps as well. The reality is that if you are a big bloke, people are probably less likely to pick a fight with you, as predators like easy victims. That said, when the shit actually hits the fan, it really means fuck all. In all seriousness, however big you are, and however rough you think you are, I can find you a bunch of kids whose balls haven’t dropped who could, and would, kill you before they went home for their chicken nuggets. That’s before we even move on to teenagers, adolescents and adults who would stab you or smash your head in with a rock, without breaking stride.

The thing people lose sight of with ‘in da street’ thinking, is that guys who streetfight are all about winning. For example, you better believe that if you make me fight you, and you look like you have an appreciable size advantage over me, I am going to arm myself, and fuck you up before you can use your size and strength. I’m 185, 6’1, and have been a top ranked boxer, but if a big bloke is coming for me, I’m bringing weapons to the party. That’s not billy big balls talk, thats survival, and its reality for a whole load of people you don’t know anything about. Probably at least 10 people in your life that you’ve walked past and thought ‘i’m bigger than you, i’d kick your arse’ could and would have left you dead in a gutter.

Do we really need to go through real life, where even if you can kick my arse, my 5 mates who’ve had a few and are up for a ruck kerb stomp you and get carried away, killing you? Or where murder is the intention of the person/people you crossed, just cos they said something smart about your girl? Reality is, you look at a guy smaller than you and think you can kick his arse, but the truth is you don’t know him from Adam.

OP,

As has been pointed out, using the search function will likely yield more info on this subject than you want or have time for.

LondonBoxer’s post should be read, and re-read, because it frames “the problem” quite well.

In addition to using the site search:

1.) Size and strength are helpful in a great many endeavers. However, we must recognize that with every activity skill in doing the thing is important in doing the thing.(I know, deep thinker am I.)

2.) To that end, if we want to be better at “fighting” we should probably practice fighting. In general a good big man, beats a good small man. However an unskilled big man’s chances are not all that great.

3.) Size and to a large part strength are somewhat visible assets. They make for a fine “scare crow” as LondonBoxer pointed out. The counter point here is anyone who tries on the big man, knows he is big going into it, and likely has a plan for it.

4.) Even if the question is more about not “wondering” and less about “being able” to win/fair well at physical violence I am still going to submit training is the solution. Hard training, in a reasonable system, will do a lot to make you stop feeling like you have a lot to prove. Boxing, kickboxing, judo, BJJ, traditional martial arts, etc. can all get you to this place. My usual advice is that opportunity and geography have more to do with what is “best” than the majority of style vs. style questions.

All in all my suggestion is that if you are concerned with the matters in your post, that you find a place to train an art that you enjoy enough to stick with, under a decent instructor. You listed your location as “armed forces-Europe”. I do not know what assets/opportunities there are at your specific location, but I am sure you can find some.

I hope the above was helpful. If search doesn’t yield you answers, feel free to ask more specific questions.

Regards,

Robert A

[quote]LondonBoxer123 wrote:
1-1, for ‘sport’, or as a backyard thing, where the loser gets bloodied and everyone shakes hands and is friends after, then sure, there it is only a good thing to be big and strong, but you’d still get your arse kicked by someone smaller, meaner and who could fight.

In some walks of real life, not the fantasy world described above, it probably helps as well. The reality is that if you are a big bloke, people are probably less likely to pick a fight with you, as predators like easy victims. That said, when the shit actually hits the fan, it really means fuck all. In all seriousness, however big you are, and however rough you think you are, I can find you a bunch of kids whose balls haven’t dropped who could, and would, kill you before they went home for their chicken nuggets. That’s before we even move on to teenagers, adolescents and adults who would stab you or smash your head in with a rock, without breaking stride.

The thing people lose sight of with ‘in da street’ thinking, is that guys who streetfight are all about winning. For example, you better believe that if you make me fight you, and you look like you have an appreciable size advantage over me, I am going to arm myself, and fuck you up before you can use your size and strength. I’m 185, 6’1, and have been a top ranked boxer, but if a big bloke is coming for me, I’m bringing weapons to the party. That’s not billy big balls talk, thats survival, and its reality for a whole load of people you don’t know anything about. Probably at least 10 people in your life that you’ve walked past and thought ‘i’m bigger than you, i’d kick your arse’ could and would have left you dead in a gutter.

Do we really need to go through real life, where even if you can kick my arse, my 5 mates who’ve had a few and are up for a ruck kerb stomp you and get carried away, killing you? Or where murder is the intention of the person/people you crossed, just cos they said something smart about your girl? Reality is, you look at a guy smaller than you and think you can kick his arse, but the truth is you don’t know him from Adam. [/quote]

LondonBoxer123,
Great,Great Post. Especially your last sentence. There is an old LEO saying:“You never know who you are fucking with”. I have found this little bit of street wisdom to very, very accurate.

“My usual advice is that opportunity and geography have more to do with what is “best” than the majority of style vs. style questions”.

Robert,
So true. Especially in a street encounter and to a certain degree, armed combat. Not so much as “style”, but, geography can make or break a firefight.

It’s often overlooked that bench pressing, olympic lifting or deadlifting more weight isn’t always a sign of strength. Lifting weights is as much a skill as physical ability. I’ve seen people who can deadlift significant weight and couldn’t snatch 135#. Or deadlift 400lbs but can’t pick up a 150# person and carry them.

If you lift to get bigger and stronger while maintaining some form of athleticism then you will be a better you, but if you try to maintain the same weight then you can end up being not much stronger then another person the same weight. There’s no weight classes in life so you don’t have to stay at a cruiser weight if it’s not your job.

We can break it down like this.

A. Combat sports have weight classes.
B. Boxing- requires good endurance, speed, punching power etc… strength not as much
C. Muay Thai- see boxing
D. Wrestling- requires strength, the wrestlers in mma are almost always stronger than their opponents
E. BJJ- The best bjj practitioners are not the strongest guys, but strength can be beneficial especially for inexperienced grapplers.
So lets look at Nick Diaz’s style, boxing and bjj. Neither require a large strength component and it should be no surprise that Nick’s wrestling is pretty bad. But would it make sense for Nick to focus on strength? No, he’s likely just not a very naturally strong guy and instead of focusing on changing a natural weakness of his, he did the opposite and made his strong points that much greater by focusing on his endurance, boxing and bjj. It’s the beauty of mma really, fighters of varying physiques, training styles, athletic types etc… have all excelled. You have slow twitch guys like Nick, fast twitch guys like GSP and a lot of guys in between that have all been champs and very good fighters.

[quote]sardines12 wrote:
We can break it down like this.

A. Combat sports have weight classes.
B. Boxing- requires good endurance, speed, punching power etc… strength not as much
C. Muay Thai- see boxing
D. Wrestling- requires strength, the wrestlers in mma are almost always stronger than their opponents
E. BJJ- The best bjj practitioners are not the strongest guys, but strength can be beneficial especially for inexperienced grapplers.
So lets look at Nick Diaz’s style, boxing and bjj. Neither require a large strength component and it should be no surprise that Nick’s wrestling is pretty bad. But would it make sense for Nick to focus on strength? No, he’s likely just not a very naturally strong guy and instead of focusing on changing a natural weakness of his, he did the opposite and made his strong points that much greater by focusing on his endurance, boxing and bjj. It’s the beauty of mma really, fighters of varying physiques, training styles, athletic types etc… have all excelled. You have slow twitch guys like Nick, fast twitch guys like GSP and a lot of guys in between that have all been champs and very good fighters.[/quote]

I like this. I think as with anything it is about improving yourself. Strengthening your weaknesses and and using your strentghts to your advantage. If you do it the othe way around you are in for a long arduous battle with yourself.

When skill levels are the same the biggest/strongest person wins. Heck, as evidenced by the fight between Oscar de la Hoya and Shaq, when the difference in size is big enough no amount of skill will help.

Do you train in anything? How about you walk in to a boxing/muay thai gym, or wrestling/judo/bjj place, etc and see how you fare?

That’ll answer your question.

[quote]legendaryblaze wrote:
Do you train in anything? How about you walk in to a boxing/muay thai gym, or wrestling/judo/bjj place, etc and see how you fare?

That’ll answer your question.[/quote]

Considering fencing doesn’t help with unarmed combat Im obliged to say no. On the other hand I’ve gone against fighters who were quite a bit smaller than me and won so take from that what you will.

[quote]Alex Good wrote:
When skill levels are the same the biggest/strongest person wins. Heck, as evidenced by the fight between Oscar de la Hoya and Shaq, when the difference in size is big enough no amount of skill will help.[/quote]

this scenario never really happens though and I can say that about any physical attribute
when all things are equal the more explosive guy wins, the smarter guy, the faster guy etc…

Several points for clarification:

-I’m aware that the forums have plenty more to offer on this subject. I wanted to hear feedback based upon how I worded the question.
-I don’t advocate violence by any means to settle differences among men, but you never can be too prepared. I agree with 666Rich that lifting for GPP is the safest bet if you don’t have formal training in combat.
-Personally, I’ve never been in a bar brawl or a random street fight. I’m in the US army and have trained in many of our combatives programs and fought in several tournaments but wish I had more time to pursue dedicated training in BJJ, boxing, and wrestling.
-Lastly, great post LondonBoxer…your points are well received

Perhaps training for the best strength to mass ratio (and GPP) is key. In the worst case scenario, if you’re not instantly knocked-out or killed then you can at least weather the early storm and have enough endurance to run and live another day. Appreciate the feedback

[quote]sardines12 wrote:

[quote]Alex Good wrote:
When skill levels are the same the biggest/strongest person wins. Heck, as evidenced by the fight between Oscar de la Hoya and Shaq, when the difference in size is big enough no amount of skill will help.[/quote]

this scenario never really happens though and I can say that about any physical attribute
when all things are equal the more explosive guy wins, the smarter guy, the faster guy etc…[/quote]

Exactly, particularly in real life. Two thumbs in the eye sockets from a 100lb chick while you’re trying to put her into a ninja hold will be a great leveler. Raw aggression, and absolute willingness to win at any cost, however disproportionate, are the greatest tools for survival, even in the hands of the totally untrained.

That said, perhaps the most helpful thing in many ways is sheer physical mass. The size of your bones, the amount of padding your have to absorb punishment, are both crucial. Having large bones increases the amount of punishment you can take, certainly from someone smaller that you. It also decreases the likelihood of you smashing your hands to pieces on someone’s face with your fist punch.

For example, I have a friend who puts up power lifter numbers at 190lbs, 5’10. I, on the other hand, put up average numbers. At the end of the day though, it doesnt matter how much stronger than me my mate is, I am not a barbell, and I dont weight 500lbs. I do however punch, scratch, bite, pull hair, put elbows and fingers in places they were never intended to go, etc. When was the last time a strong guy had that happen to them when they were lifting a puny 185lbs?

As Robert A, Airtruth, and others have said, strength is good, and you may be able to apply some in a situation. Skill, and experience, is quite another thing, and will stand you in much better stead. But if you really, really want to be sure of winning, you jump someone when they are on their way home from a club, or their guard is otherwise down, or you escalate dramatically and disproportionately, and deal with the consequences that can bring.

[quote]Alex Good wrote:
When skill levels are the same the biggest/strongest person wins. Heck, as evidenced by the fight between Oscar de la Hoya and Shaq, when the difference in size is big enough no amount of skill will help.[/quote]

What the fuck

DLH vs shaq? A fucking charity event? Of all the examples you could possibly use…

PRIDE and other events for years had freak show matchups, and more often than not the smaller guy won. Fedor knocked out a man who had 220lbs on him and almost a foot in height, with one punch.

Cro Cop chopped Choi Hong-Man (7ft 2 inches) down like the big tree he was.

David Haye outboxed Nikolai Valuev and then rocked him in the last round of their fight.

Heath Herring choked out Giant Silva

Takashi Suguira, a 5’10 Japanese fighter, punched out Giant Silva

Remy Bonjasky knocked Akebono the fuck out

I’m sure I could go on, but I don’t really need to. These all represent situations were a huge height and mass advantage has been nullified by a more skilled, more experienced opponent.

And that’s just sport matchups, so it doesn’t even matter. In the real world, you can be a 6’5 250lb powerlifting man mountain who injects 2 grams of steroids into his ass every week, but that reality where you think you are a badass will quickly become shattered the moment you don’t respect the danger that skinny little kid who grew up in the ghetto and is wearing a switchblade in his baggy jeans represents.

Nobody is saying size and strength are NOT an advantage, they are. But it’s kind of a moot point when the guy who has taken a disliking to you has a weapon, friends or both.

[quote]LondonBoxer123 wrote:

[quote]sardines12 wrote:

[quote]Alex Good wrote:
When skill levels are the same the biggest/strongest person wins. Heck, as evidenced by the fight between Oscar de la Hoya and Shaq, when the difference in size is big enough no amount of skill will help.[/quote]

this scenario never really happens though and I can say that about any physical attribute
when all things are equal the more explosive guy wins, the smarter guy, the faster guy etc…[/quote]

Exactly, particularly in real life. Two thumbs in the eye sockets from a 100lb chick while you’re trying to put her into a ninja hold will be a great leveler. Raw aggression, and absolute willingness to win at any cost, however disproportionate, are the greatest tools for survival, even in the hands of the totally untrained.

[/quote]

This. The person with the will to escalate to a higher level of violence more quickly and unexpectedly has the advantage. Speed, surprise, violence of action and raw killer instinct will usually carry the day. Even if you are trained, most people’s technique immediately goes out the window when they are unexpectedly face with real violence in an unfamiliar context (i.e. away from the ring, mat etc.).

This is why criminals usually win fights against citizens. They have fewer inhibitions about doing real harm to someone and they tend to select asymmetrical rules of engagement (i.e. they don’t toe the line and fight fair). In the real world this will trump size, strength and skill most times.

Not much imo. Pretty much any adult male could knock another out or incapacitate another.

You also need to remember (which a lot of people forget), although something might really help you kick someone’s ass, what are you going to do when the police invariably turn up and arrest you/take you in for questioning.