T Nation

Strengh Relative to Bodyweight

hey guys I was thinking about this and was wondering everyone’s opinion. Lets say you have two people for example ill use myself at just shy of 5’7 and someone like waylander(hope he doesn’t mind me using him ahha) who is 6’2 and 275. Now for me to ever be 275 at my height i would have to carry a shitload of fat. Now we all now muscle and weight moves weight.

SO my question is it seems like someone who can get close to 300 pounds will always put up more weight then someone who gets around 230 or something around there. Obviously both these people would train and eat like animals but whats everyone opinion on this. my basic question is someone alot shorter put up as much weight as someone much heavier?

surely shorter = less ROM which is an advantage?

i think someone who is shorter but off relative weight etc is as likily to put up as much if not more than someone who is taller.

if u want to go to extremes. a 350lb 7ft man is not going to outsquat a 180lb 5ft man… or am i gravely mistaken?

shorter people have better leverages, but larger people sometimes have the frame and genetic potential to put on more muscle mass to overcome their bad leverages. There are exceptions: think of a short stocky guy and a very tall and skinny guy, the short stocky guy may have better potential than the tall guy to put on muscle and will as a result be a shitload stronger.

Ed Coan did not disadvantage himself by competing in the 220s, he was shorter and managed to lift heavier weights than, well, anybody. So in that case, a 300lber would not lift more than someone lighter. But generally, the heavier weight classes should be lifting heavier weights than the lighter ones, and not all builds are suited to being a super heavyweight, so the taller guy may have an advantage in the overall weight lifted simply by being able to get heavier.

It really depends on a lot of things, the best way to tell if you have the potential to lift bigger weights than someone else is to reach that potential.

One guy at my gym is like 5’2’’ and shoulder presses like 270. I don’t remember what he weighs, but it’s really small too. I remember asking him “What do you weigh, like 200?” And he’s like, no, no, like 170 or something.

like tmg said there are a lot of variables. what is your goal- to lift heavy (powerlift) or simply grow your muscles?
one more thing- it can vary lift to lift-- so, you could have an advantage with squat but be at a disadvantage with bench. very individual.

Mariusz is one of the shortest WSM competitors… so I’d say there’s a LOT more to it than that. Overall I’d say height/weight balances out over the different lifts. For instance, thosebananas’ 7’ 350lbs man would be better at generally carrying stuff, pulling with a harness etc, but maybe not so brilliant at something like the squat. Again, however, they have more room for mass, so they could probably make up for their poor(er) leverages as tmcg says.

Other things to worry about: Tendon attachments, Fast:Slow twitch, general size/shape of frame, and determination!

good answers but im surprised more people haven’t chinned in on this

^I suspect this is because it’s pretty clear from looking at the world around you…

Well, the obvious answer using physics is this:

Taller people have to do more work. Work = Force times distance. So If you take a 5’7" guy and a 6’4" guy and their both doing 10 reps of 225 on the bench, the 6’4" guys arms and ROM is without a doubt longer, thus he’s doing considerably more work. Anywhere from 10-30% more by my guess. Thus it is indeed harder for larger guys to lift more weights because they have to do more work.

[quote]Fill the Frame wrote:
Well, the obvious answer using physics is this:

Taller people have to do more work. Work = Force times distance. So If you take a 5’7" guy and a 6’4" guy and their both doing 10 reps of 225 on the bench, the 6’4" guys arms and ROM is without a doubt longer, thus he’s doing considerably more work. Anywhere from 10-30% more by my guess. Thus it is indeed harder for larger guys to lift more weights because they have to do more work. [/quote]

Right… BUT they can add considerably more muscle, thereby making that (undoubtably greater) amount of work seem easier, keeping the whole thing reasonably balanced and not worth making a fuss about.

[quote]Dave_ wrote:
^I suspect this is because it’s pretty clear from looking at the world around you…

[/quote]

Bingo. That is why the larger lifters here don’t give a shit about “relative strength”. If I am absolutely stronger than the other guy, his “relative” numbers are insignificant to me.

The biggest guys, on average, are usually the strongest when it comes to muscular body weight.

I don’t know how the hell this got confused over the last few years.

[quote]Dave_ wrote:
Mariusz is one of the shortest WSM competitors… so I’d say there’s a LOT more to it than that. Overall I’d say height/weight balances out over the different lifts. For instance, thosebananas’ 7’ 350lbs man would be better at generally carrying stuff, pulling with a harness etc, but maybe not so brilliant at something like the squat. Again, however, they have more room for mass, so they could probably make up for their poor(er) leverages as tmcg says.

Other things to worry about: Tendon attachments, Fast:Slow twitch, general size/shape of frame, and determination![/quote]

All true, but speaking generally, we don’t put too many light weights up against super heavyweights because those are two different playing fields.

Yes, there may be some short genetics freak who can deadlift more than people who weigh much more than him, but I doubt anyone would claim that is the norm.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Dave_ wrote:
Mariusz is one of the shortest WSM competitors… so I’d say there’s a LOT more to it than that. Overall I’d say height/weight balances out over the different lifts. For instance, thosebananas’ 7’ 350lbs man would be better at generally carrying stuff, pulling with a harness etc, but maybe not so brilliant at something like the squat. Again, however, they have more room for mass, so they could probably make up for their poor(er) leverages as tmcg says.

Other things to worry about: Tendon attachments, Fast:Slow twitch, general size/shape of frame, and determination!

All true, but speaking generally, we don’t put too many light weights up against super heavyweights because those are two different playing fields.

Yes, there may be some short genetics freak who can deadlift more than people who weigh much more than him, but I doubt anyone would claim that is the norm.[/quote]

Of course, bigger (in terms of strength athletes anyway) typically = stronger. Taller = increased potential for bigness.

All I’m saying is, if you’re shorter, don’t worry too much about height, as there are so many other factors.

EDIT: Of course when I say “shorter” I mean within reason. If you’re a dwarf then you’ll have awesome leverages but you ain’t winning any prizes (except maybe dwarf prizes).

I don’t really like threads about relative strength on a bodybuilding forum. The guys that usually start them are skinny and lost the battle of gaining muscle some time ago. Maybe I’m just going too far, but it could be an escape from previous losses.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Dave_ wrote:
^I suspect this is because it’s pretty clear from looking at the world around you…

Bingo. That is why the larger lifters here don’t give a shit about “relative strength”. If I am absolutely stronger than the other guy, his “relative” numbers are insignificant to me.[/quote]

Yeah WTF is going on there. When did anyone last hear a sprinter say “I’m faster for my height”?

Weight classes (in strength events anyway) are just a kinder way of saying how shit you are.

[quote]MEYMZ wrote:
I don’t really like threads about relative strength on a bodybuilding forum. The guys that usually start them are skinny and lost the battle of gaining muscle some time ago. Maybe I’m just going too far, but it could be an escape from previous losses.[/quote]

or the tall guys complaining how they have to move the weight farther so its harder. I think the important thing is to figure out what your optimal body weight is for you to be strongest.( if strength is what you are going for.)

[quote]matsm21 wrote:
MEYMZ wrote:
I don’t really like threads about relative strength on a bodybuilding forum. The guys that usually start them are skinny and lost the battle of gaining muscle some time ago. Maybe I’m just going too far, but it could be an escape from previous losses.

or the tall guys complaining how they have to move the weight farther so its harder. I think the important thing is to figure out what your optimal body weight is for you to be strongest.( if strength is what you are going for.) [/quote]

Good one.

[quote]MEYMZ wrote:
I don’t really like threads about relative strength on a bodybuilding forum. The guys that usually start them are skinny and lost the battle of gaining muscle some time ago. Maybe I’m just going too far, but it could be an escape from previous losses.[/quote]

Me neither. It usually turns out to it being “easier” for me. But people forget things like… the fact it’s harder for me to even hold on to a dumbell because my hand is half the size of yours… etc.

Some dumbells are almost as big as me … as far as weight… and size goes… lol…

I feel funny shrugging or rowing with the larger dumbells becuase I look at them and I’m like… “This literally weighs as much as I do”

[quote]MEYMZ wrote:
matsm21 wrote:
MEYMZ wrote:
I don’t really like threads about relative strength on a bodybuilding forum. The guys that usually start them are skinny and lost the battle of gaining muscle some time ago. Maybe I’m just going too far, but it could be an escape from previous losses.

or the tall guys complaining how they have to move the weight farther so its harder. I think the important thing is to figure out what your optimal body weight is for you to be strongest.( if strength is what you are going for.)

Good one.[/quote]

yea, I was wondering if anyone was going to pick up on that one, but its true, lol

[quote]Dave_ wrote:

Weight classes (in strength events anyway) are just a kinder way of saying how shit you are.
[/quote]

ROFL! love it!