T Nation

Static(?) strength superior. WHY?

i regularly incorporate static-contraction lifts and partials/lockouts into my routine. ive been designing programs for people for the last 2 years or so (just incorperating what i learn along the way). ive noticed that others who use static/partial type training can often lift more in their strong range of motion than others, even if those “other” people have a higer max in the full range of motion.

example:.my buddy jared can out bench me by 250 lbs and shoulder press probably a hundred more pounds than me. his leg work usually consists of smith machine followed by heavy pressess on a hip sled. on these machines he can lift more than me (although he can only outsquat me by about a 100lbs and my deadlift is higher than his.)
i rarely use machines, instead i do squats, box squats and deads. i also use alot of core-strengthening exercises such as snatches, overhead squats, heavy side bends, 1arm presses etc.
we were training the other day and doing lockouts and partials on squats and deads. i was lifting weight that jared and a few other guys(stronger than me in bench and squat, but they dont do deads) could not even budge off the pins in the power rack. the real surprise came when we set the pins just short of lockout for 1-arm overhead presses (with a barbell of course). jared lifted from the pins and held (arm extended overhead) 135lbs for about 6 seconds before he started wobbling and had to set the weight back on the pins. alot of people were interested in what we were doing and i explained that this lift/drill helped me alot with balance and core strength. jared benches 465@210lbs. a couple other guys with 400+benches and squats tried the lockout/static 1arm in the rack and the most any of them held was 155 for about 10 seconds. i had held 165 in the past and so i put that on but miscalculated as we were using alot of small plates, and put 185 on the bar. i held it for 15 seconds with my right arm and then again for 15 seconds with my left( icould have held them longer but usually stop at 15sec).
i was excited when i discovered i had dealt with a weight i previously could not have done. but now im looking at this trying to figure out why i can do so much more than these guys who are alot stronger than me. im no freak and they are not uncoordinated goofs. actually most of them are athletes as well. again this strenght difference is most pronounced in balance type exercises(1arm presses etc) and heavy partials. for example i can do 1-3" lockouts with 8 plates in the rack (both squats and deads) and only one other person has been able to even budge the weight (this was in a squat) even though these guys are stronger than me in the full range movement.
what do you guys think? is this do to my training in the deadlift(which none of these guys do on a regular basis)? or to my training with alot of core exercises? or am i just more use to doing these exercises and they are not?

thanks guys,

It’s called training specificity. You train it, they don’t.


meaning, they dont train for (what i consider) practical strength? or are you implying that their training just sucks? they are strong. jared benches 465@ 210lbs of bodyweight and squats (to parallell) 450. i know for sure he can outpress me big time while seated. its when it comes to standing/balancing that these guys seem to comparitively suck:) i expected them to be doing lockouts with 900lbs and 150lb 1 arms but they are doing less than me. is this just a good example of why we should train our “core” more? i feel that if i trained more like them i could get my bench up but now im really questioning the value of it(other than having a big bench/ squat). i would rather have a decent bench/squat and superior “real life” strength, rather than the other way around.

what do you guys think?

Static training has a strength carryover to +/- 15 degreese of the joint angle your working.

So, if you changed up the angle of this static work, you could probably go a long way in catching up to these guys in terms of the full lift.

Momentum breaking sticking points aside, I recall that your actin & myosin filaments have a lot longer to bond in a slower movement hence the force time curve. I’m not sure how this affects your specifiic training effect. Perhaps this increases the training effect.

I think the answer to your question is in the first paragraph of your post.

The reason you can do more than they can do is because you regularly do these sorts of things in training, whereas I would assume that they do not. (I.E. you use partials more than they do, and do one arm lifts. They most likely do neither.)

Specificity is the master.