T Nation

Lean Body Mass and Strength?


I don't know where this question should be posted, but i figured bodybuilding.
Mods please move if I'm wrong.

My boss and I were discussing people with more fat and muscle that are able to lift more weight than leaner people with the same amount of muscle. I told him that the heavier you are the more weight you can lift. He said I was dumb because fat shouldn't influence strength, and asked me to scientifically back up my claim that the heavier you are the more weight you can lift.

So I figured I would ask y'all if there are any articles on this? Or am I a dumbass and completely wrong? Honestly I don't care if i'm wrong I just would like some clarification. It just seems to me that two people with even amounts of lean body mass but one with more fat usually is able to lift heavier.

just tell me to stfu if this is a retarded question.


bodyfat creates leverage.


ok that's what i had said, but his response was how does leverage help in a flat/seated position like bench/military press (he said leverage only applies to momentum or gravity)?


Leverage, like Bonez said.

And stability and cushioning.

Which is why you see so many fat fuck elite benchers! Weigh gain affects the bench the most because your more stable on the bench and the overall body mass shortens the stroke.

Hugh Cassidy always said, "You can always eat your way out of a sticking point," and why Larry Pacifico used to say that people should gain weight and train the shit out of their tris if they want a biggger bench.


Then tell hin to gain 30 to 50 pounds and see how much more leverage and shortening of a stroke he has in the bench and overhead press because his fat (and muscular) biceps and forearms will cushion each other in the bottom position.


I think leverage is overrated to some extent. Adding 10 lbs of fat ain't gonna boost anyone's bench by 30 lbs. Yes, there is a benefit, but it's subtle.

When I diet, the first lift to go down is my bench, in all variations. Immediately following is military and other shoulder pressing - so all pressing exercises decline first. In fact, I will experience strength declines in these lifts well before I decline in squats/deads/rows etc, when one would think it would be the opposite. This is all before large amounts of fat have been lost, mind you.

Likewise, when I resume maintenance or above maintenance kcals, I will notcie almost immediate improvements pressing. Again, this is before I've really gained back any weight, other than a few lbs of water weight. T

his is all anecdoatl, of course, but in my experience, there seems to be some correlation between caloric intake and pressing performance, independent of fat gain or loss.


Everyone knows about leverage and shortening of the ROM on many lifts, but I think this helps much more than people realize. Obviously, a small bodyweight difference (<20 lbs) wouldn't affect this too much, but someone with significantly more fat in the arms will experience an effect from the cushioning at the bottom. It's almost like wearing light wraps around your elbows.


I would think it would have more to do with diet. In general, someone with more body fat is eating more carb rich foods and denser calories than a leaner person. Just a thought, wouldn't this have a drastic effect?

Side note, I remember reading something over at EliteFTS about weight vs strength at one point, can't remember the name of the article...


There's also the consideration that people who naturally carry more weight (fat) are working harder day in and day out just performing everyday activities, and so without any weight training their 'untrained' strength levels may appear to be higher than the expected norm for someone of average bodyweight.



hi im a women tring get strong can anybody help me




Right now my bench is slightly lower than it was 5 years ago. The difference is I weight about 40lbs less now, all my other lifts are up though its just that bodyweight really does effect bench. Once I heard every lb of fat gained will increase bench by 1lb with no change in muscle strength. Be sure to mention to your boss that body fat effects lifts differently, bench helps a lot, I don't think gaining weight alone will help deadlift much, if at all.


I broke the 400lb bench barrier while losing weight.

Makes me think I'd rather be lean and strong than fat and strong and unless we are talking a lot of fat, like enough to shorten you ROM by inches, it's whatever.

I guess what I am saying is fuck being fat...lol.

A lot of great PLers are relatively lean. Actually most of the world record holders are pretty damn lean.


Kroc and Pudzianowski are both near/at the top in their respective areas and size divisions and they've both always been pretty lean.


Pudzianowski doesn't compete in a size division and he's also a FREAK!

Kroc wasn't always as lean as he is now.

MOST of the bigger PLers (275 class and up) were chubby or smooth at one point.


Offf topic but how much weight have you lost?