T Nation

Real measure of strength

18 months ago, at 195 lbs, I benched pressed 300 lbs. I will finish the benching program published for Tmen by W.S. Dave Tate today, when I go for the max and see the end result of my work. I currently weigh 180 (and like the look a lot better then at 195). My 14 year old daughter tells me that to measure my strength now against then not to look at the absolute numbers but instead to figure 300 lbs at 154% of my body weight (195), and so if I can now do 277 (154% of 180) I am actually stronger. I like her formula cause it sets me up for success as I am pretty dam sure I can bang 277, not so sure about the 300. What do u guys think?

Depends on whether or not you are going for absolute strength or relative strength. If you are a boxer or martial artist and have to make weight then relative strength is your goal and you are on the right track. If you want to be the worlds strogest man or to be a heavyweight power or olympic lifter then absolute strength is your goal and you are going backwards. It sounds as though you are happy with your new aesthetic look and relative strength gains are your goal. Good luck

What you’re talking about is strength “pound for pound” versus overall. This is why I’m seldom impressed with a 250 pound guy who benches 275; he’s putting slightly more than his body weight. All the little guys will crowd around him and feed his ego ('cause he’s SUCH a monster), but he really hasn’t done anything terribly impressive. However, I know a 190 pounder who benches 345 for triples, roughly 1.8 times his weight. That demends a lot more respect.

Having said that, why do you expect your bench to have dropped? There really isn't any reason why, at 180 pounds, you shouldn't be able to press 300. If you expect to fall short of 300, you may. I've found that the right attitude can increase any particular lift by as much as 20 pounds. Good luck.

Sounds like you have a pretty smart daughter! I have always used the ability to bench press twice one’s weight as a sign of awesome strength. Alas, I never made it.

As bodyweight decreases so will the absolute strength. Unless androgens are used or not too much weight is lost some strength will be lost also. Losing 15 lbs. generally means some strength will go down. I’m not sure why this guy doesn’t know what is max bench is but odds are it has gone down if he can’t estimate from his current workouts. If he’s not lifting heavy consistently his max will go down.

Well, to follow up, blew through 290 no problem but failed like a child on 300. Onward and upward.

Since you haven’t been doing training specifically towards improving max singles and you got 290, for sure you could easily get 300 in a short time with some work specifically tailored to increasing your performance in max singles if
you wanted to.

I’d recommend both Louie Simmons’ method
of doing 12 sets of 2 (or 8 sets of 3)
with only 60% 1RM but very explosive
positives off a good pause and 45 seconds rest
between sets, and doing some pyramids
starting at about 55-60% 1RM for 5 reps (with
1 or 2 second positives, whatever is comfortable, and 1 or 2 second negatives with a pause) and building up about 10% 1RM with each drop of a rep until your first single,
of which you’ll do a few with small increases and 4 minutes rest between sets as soon as it starts being substantial work (the first couple of sets you may take less rest if you don’t want to wait.)

I’d do the speed training on a different day
(assuming training chest twice per week) than the majority of the chest training and that done with heavier weights.

Since you benched 290 without any of this,
you should achieve 315 in a short
time simply from skill improvement at the
heavier weights without even needing any
additional muscular development to occur.

If you blew through 290 easily and failed miserably on 300 then you had a techinical or mental error or both on your 300 attempt. Now if you barely pushed up 290, that would be a different story. Think of it this way: you increased the weight by 3.5% and went from banging out the rep to failing miserably. This just shouldn’t happen. Congrats on the 290 though. I’m sure you’ll surpass 300 in no time.

I assumed that he was continuing to lift heavy. Perhaps I was wrong.

well good. you are stronger now. had you only hit 277 you would have been relatively weaker as when bodyweight goes down, relative strength goes up.

thanx for the encouragement\advise guys.

First of all great work. Now it is time to work on the mental part of the strength game. You are much strong than you think. In reading your post, it is clear that you feel that just because you lost weight you should loose strength. Did you loss muscle or fat? What was your lean body weight at 195 and at 180? Check into a book by Charles Garfield on Peak Performance. He goes into the mind game. He even relates a story where he increase his bench press dramatically with a shift in his mind set. Best of Luck.

You CANT do it that way to be accurate. When bodyweight drops it skews the relationship in favor of the lighter lifter. Use the Wilkes formula(a powerlifting formula used to compare bodyweight to weight lifted)

As lifters become heavier their strength:BW ratio decreases. As Ed mentioned, the Wilkes formula attempts to take this into account. It was derived by taking several strength:BW ratios over various weightclasses and calculating the curve that these points fell on. It’s primarily used for powerlifting. Just plug your bodyweight into the equation to get a coefficient, then multiply your total by this coefficient. I don’t have the formula handy at the moment, but you should be able to find it by doing a search if you’re interested.