T Nation

Increasing Strength at Lower Weight/BF

if you reach a certain weight… say 100 kgs and you have a low body fat of around 5%, then how do you get more strength? will the body just learn to use more muscle if you keep lifting?

also, how do you eat if you want to maintain but get stronger? do you bulk up and then cut down? eat at maintenance?

when you are 100kilos and at 5% bodyfat, you’ll have your answer.

[quote]evansmi wrote:
when you are 100kilos and at 5% bodyfat, you’ll have your answer.[/quote]

+1

But to give a very vague answer to the question, they say the central nervous system is the last frontier of bodybuilding

Most people are “weak” at 5% BF. BF levels have to be higher to if you wanna get stronger.

[quote]undeadlift wrote:
Most people are “weak” at 5% BF. BF levels have to be higher to if you wanna get stronger.[/quote]

Being 100kg and 5% is a completly different proposition than being 60kg and 5%. I wonder what Sam Byrd would have to say to that. Or Stoitsov (http://www.T-Nation.com/forum_images/3/2/32d3a-legs.jpg).

My understanding is that the main component of strength training is training the central nervous system. Many athletes in the olympics maintain weight while increasing their lifts over the years by perfecting technique, increasing the intensity of muscular contraction, and strengtheningtheir joints, tendons, and muscle fiber. Strength training does not necessitate size, as they say you have to eat to get big. Or you could just eat and train to get stronger and gain lean mass, but for some that’s obviously unacceptable.

yup, the central nervous system will continue to adapt with diminishing returns as you get stronger and stronger.

so then whats a good body fat % to have while maximizing strength at a certain weight? 8? 10?

also what about training? ive heard that 3 reps are best for strength (on the average lifter anyway), around 8 for hypertrophy etc etc

[quote]lordstorm88 wrote:
so then whats a good body fat % to have while maximizing strength at a certain weight? 8? 10?

also what about training? ive heard that 3 reps are best for strength (on the average lifter anyway), around 8 for hypertrophy etc etc[/quote]

Just out of curiosity, what sort of level are you at at the moment?

almost intermediate(170kg deadlift, 120kg squat etc), but being 6 feet i think ill reach the ~95 kgs of lean body mass quick so i really wonder if there is something i should change about my diet or training now before its too late for some reason or another…

mostly cause im really interested in olympic lifting and there you need max strength at a certain weight

The more muscle and lower fat you have, the stronger you will be at any weight class. The only difference is at superheavyweight as there is no upper limit on weight. Most top performers are in single digit fat levels. I did see a chart once. I’ll have to look for it. It’s safe to say that you should be shooting at 5 to 8%. 5% is the absolute minimum and there may be no benefit to go below 8%. That’s just for competiotion. You probably want to be 10-12% outside of competition. Here’s a good article on it: http://www.T-Nation.com/readArticle.do?id=718924

Stu

[quote]Hanley wrote:
undeadlift wrote:
Most people are “weak” at 5% BF. BF levels have to be higher to if you wanna get stronger.

Being 100kg and 5% is a completly different proposition than being 60kg and 5%. I wonder what Sam Byrd would have to say to that. Or Stoitsov http://www.T-Nation.com/forum_images/3/2/32d3a-legs.jpg .[/quote]

I’d have to agree with undeadlift. I start getting weaker below 10% BF, which is quite high IMO. Most of my fellow lifters become weaker below 8%. The coaches in my gym also recommend 8%. They notice their athletes become lethargic once their BF levels go below 8%.

Not sure that additional gains are going to come from CNS stimulation. It seems to me that CNS stimulation occurs first, with hypertrophy thereafter.

Take, for example, the raw beginner in an EFS system. He can probably use the same ME exercises for 3 weeks in a row before rotating and will see rapid gains in strength. That is because he has a relatively inefficient CNS. While his bench, dead, and squat will increase drastically and quickly, the same will probably not be true for his or her bodyweight (absent some repetition work).

After some time, the lifter’s CNS is becoming more and more efficient to the point that additional gains via CNS stimulation will be more or less nonexistent. This is your intermediate or advanced trainee. At that point, I think additional adaptation will have to result from hypertrophy via increased density of the fibers. It may not add up to much on the scale, perhaps a few pounds a year, but overtime the athlete will be strong and dense as hell. That is what you see with oly weightlifters and powerlifters (at lower weight classes).

My point is that a lifter who has gotten himself to 225 lbs. and 5% body fat may have already gotten well beyond the stage of CNS adaptation. If so, then additional gains will, unfortunately, require a little additional muscle. This is perhaps another reason why oly lifters are selective with the muscle groups they exercise. Not only does the bench press not enhance technique on the classic lifts, but they need those pounds their legs and posterior chain not their chests.

[quote]eic wrote:
Not sure that additional gains are going to come from CNS stimulation. It seems to me that CNS stimulation occurs first, with hypertrophy thereafter.

Take, for example, the raw beginner in an EFS system. He can probably use the same ME exercises for 3 weeks in a row before rotating and will see rapid gains in strength. That is because he has a relatively inefficient CNS. While his bench, dead, and squat will increase drastically and quickly, the same will probably not be true for his or her bodyweight (absent some repetition work).

After some time, the lifter’s CNS is becoming more and more efficient to the point that additional gains via CNS stimulation will be more or less nonexistent. This is your intermediate or advanced trainee. At that point, I think additional adaptation will have to result from hypertrophy via increased density of the fibers. It may not add up to much on the scale, perhaps a few pounds a year, but overtime the athlete will be strong and dense as hell. That is what you see with oly weightlifters and powerlifters (at lower weight classes).

My point is that a lifter who has gotten himself to 225 lbs. and 5% body fat may have already gotten well beyond the stage of CNS adaptation. If so, then additional gains will, unfortunately, require a little additional muscle. This is perhaps another reason why oly lifters are selective with the muscle groups they exercise. Not only does the bench press not enhance technique on the classic lifts, but they need those pounds their legs and posterior chain not their chests. [/quote]

This is wrong. How is that so many powerlifter increase their total by 100s of lbs without moving up a weight class. Strength training is pretty much 100% CNS training. The fact that you get bigger is just a side affect.

The reason beginners can get away with 3-4 week with the same max effort movement is largely a matter of coordination and the fact that their CNS is so underdeveloped that they are not actually utilizing it enough to completely fatigue it. In other words, it take that long to for it adapt. More experienced lifter have learned to utilized their CNS to the point that it becomes fatigued after just one session. That doesn’t mean they have reached their peak. It just mean that they need more variation to continually stimulate it without burning out.

[quote]Pemdas wrote:
eic wrote:
Not sure that additional gains are going to come from CNS stimulation. It seems to me that CNS stimulation occurs first, with hypertrophy thereafter.

Take, for example, the raw beginner in an EFS system. He can probably use the same ME exercises for 3 weeks in a row before rotating and will see rapid gains in strength. That is because he has a relatively inefficient CNS. While his bench, dead, and squat will increase drastically and quickly, the same will probably not be true for his or her bodyweight (absent some repetition work).

After some time, the lifter’s CNS is becoming more and more efficient to the point that additional gains via CNS stimulation will be more or less nonexistent. This is your intermediate or advanced trainee. At that point, I think additional adaptation will have to result from hypertrophy via increased density of the fibers. It may not add up to much on the scale, perhaps a few pounds a year, but overtime the athlete will be strong and dense as hell. That is what you see with oly weightlifters and powerlifters (at lower weight classes).

My point is that a lifter who has gotten himself to 225 lbs. and 5% body fat may have already gotten well beyond the stage of CNS adaptation. If so, then additional gains will, unfortunately, require a little additional muscle. This is perhaps another reason why oly lifters are selective with the muscle groups they exercise. Not only does the bench press not enhance technique on the classic lifts, but they need those pounds their legs and posterior chain not their chests.

This is wrong. How is that so many powerlifter increase their total by 100s of lbs without moving up a weight class. Strength training is pretty much 100% CNS training. The fact that you get bigger is just a side affect.

The reason beginners can get away with 3-4 week with the same max effort movement is largely a matter of coordination and the fact that their CNS is so underdeveloped that they are not actually utilizing it enough to completely fatigue it. In other words, it take that long to for it adapt. More experienced lifter have learned to utilized their CNS to the point that it becomes fatigued after just one session. That doesn’t mean they have reached their peak. It just mean that they need more variation to continually stimulate it without burning out. [/quote]

Powerlifting might not be a very good example. Some of these 24-48 hour weigh ins give you a skewed view of what the lifter is actually doing. A 198 lb guy might be weighing about 215 while’s he’s lifting in the WPOs for instance.

A 2 hour weigh in is a different thing of course.

I agree, but there is a limit on how much weight you can cut, so my point is still valid.

[quote]Pemdas wrote:
I agree, but there is a limit on how much weight you can cut, so my point is still valid. [/quote]

To some degree, but some of these guys are putting back on 15-20 pounds, a full weight class. Just don’t let it skew your observations.

[quote]Pemdas wrote:
eic wrote:
Not sure that additional gains are going to come from CNS stimulation. It seems to me that CNS stimulation occurs first, with hypertrophy thereafter.

Take, for example, the raw beginner in an EFS system. He can probably use the same ME exercises for 3 weeks in a row before rotating and will see rapid gains in strength. That is because he has a relatively inefficient CNS. While his bench, dead, and squat will increase drastically and quickly, the same will probably not be true for his or her bodyweight (absent some repetition work).

After some time, the lifter’s CNS is becoming more and more efficient to the point that additional gains via CNS stimulation will be more or less nonexistent. This is your intermediate or advanced trainee. At that point, I think additional adaptation will have to result from hypertrophy via increased density of the fibers. It may not add up to much on the scale, perhaps a few pounds a year, but overtime the athlete will be strong and dense as hell. That is what you see with oly weightlifters and powerlifters (at lower weight classes).

My point is that a lifter who has gotten himself to 225 lbs. and 5% body fat may have already gotten well beyond the stage of CNS adaptation. If so, then additional gains will, unfortunately, require a little additional muscle. This is perhaps another reason why oly lifters are selective with the muscle groups they exercise. Not only does the bench press not enhance technique on the classic lifts, but they need those pounds their legs and posterior chain not their chests.

This is wrong. How is that so many powerlifter increase their total by 100s of lbs without moving up a weight class. Strength training is pretty much 100% CNS training. The fact that you get bigger is just a side affect.

The reason beginners can get away with 3-4 week with the same max effort movement is largely a matter of coordination and the fact that their CNS is so underdeveloped that they are not actually utilizing it enough to completely fatigue it. In other words, it take that long to for it adapt. More experienced lifter have learned to utilized their CNS to the point that it becomes fatigued after just one session. That doesn’t mean they have reached their peak. It just mean that they need more variation to continually stimulate it without burning out. [/quote]

Also, not to many guys I’ve seen have increase their total 100+ pounds without moving up a weight class or using gear better, or gettign better gear.

I think my best total at 132 was like 935 I was close to 100, but the cutting the weight just killed my last lift in the squat, a 360 attempt. My last deadlift was a no go at app 400 pounds or so.

I then moved up to 148 and was over 100 immediately. I got app 1135, about class one then leaving maybe 20-50 pounds again on the platform. this time I cut slowly from 170-148.

After that i didn’t compete in a full meet, but I am almost at a 600 deadlift. At 200 pounds. This is almost the same pound for pound lift as my 451 or so back at 148.

But I got a lot more muscle than back then.

Don’t discount or put to much into this cns stuff. I got stronger directly in proportion to my increases in muscle mass. It’s also funny how my pound for pound strength stayed about the same.

Yes, they are ways beginners can get their nervous system working better, but your strength will go up directly as your weight increases with good training methods. I’ve heard a lot of theory over the years, but if you’re power training and get bigger, you will be stronger.

I didn’t say that gaining weight wouldn’t make you stronger. My point was that the CNS will not reach peak adaptation before you hit a hypertrophy limit.

[quote]Pemdas wrote:
eic wrote:
Not sure that additional gains are going to come from CNS stimulation. It seems to me that CNS stimulation occurs first, with hypertrophy thereafter.

Take, for example, the raw beginner in an EFS system. He can probably use the same ME exercises for 3 weeks in a row before rotating and will see rapid gains in strength. That is because he has a relatively inefficient CNS. While his bench, dead, and squat will increase drastically and quickly, the same will probably not be true for his or her bodyweight (absent some repetition work).

After some time, the lifter’s CNS is becoming more and more efficient to the point that additional gains via CNS stimulation will be more or less nonexistent. This is your intermediate or advanced trainee. At that point, I think additional adaptation will have to result from hypertrophy via increased density of the fibers. It may not add up to much on the scale, perhaps a few pounds a year, but overtime the athlete will be strong and dense as hell. That is what you see with oly weightlifters and powerlifters (at lower weight classes).

My point is that a lifter who has gotten himself to 225 lbs. and 5% body fat may have already gotten well beyond the stage of CNS adaptation. If so, then additional gains will, unfortunately, require a little additional muscle. This is perhaps another reason why oly lifters are selective with the muscle groups they exercise. Not only does the bench press not enhance technique on the classic lifts, but they need those pounds their legs and posterior chain not their chests.

This is wrong. How is that so many powerlifter increase their total by 100s of lbs without moving up a weight class. Strength training is pretty much 100% CNS training. The fact that you get bigger is just a side affect.

The reason beginners can get away with 3-4 week with the same max effort movement is largely a matter of coordination and the fact that their CNS is so underdeveloped that they are not actually utilizing it enough to completely fatigue it. In other words, it take that long to for it adapt. More experienced lifter have learned to utilized their CNS to the point that it becomes fatigued after just one session. That doesn’t mean they have reached their peak. It just mean that they need more variation to continually stimulate it without burning out. [/quote]

I’m not sure we’re saying different things. I didn’t say that CNS gains would stop, only that they slow down. Thereafter, a larger proportion of poundage increases (on the bar) is due to increases in contractile proteins in the lifter. And to be clear, we are not talking about tons of weight gain here. We are talking about very modest amounts.

For example, a beginner who increases his squat by 100 lbs. over X period is going to notice very little increased size as a result. An advanced lifter who increases his squat by 100 lbs. over X period will have relatively more size gains than the beginner. This is all I’m saying. I guess the take home point is that, for an advanced athlete, it is going to be very difficult to make significant gains in one’s lifting numbers without at least SOME bodyweight increases, however minor.