T Nation

Why Dislike Relative Strength?

Long story short, pm’d Prof X, and said to post it out here in a thread and I’d get my answer ‘by quite a few people’. Yes I’m just gonna copy/paste cause I’m a lazy mo-fo. :stuck_out_tongue:

So without further a-do:


Why do you dislike relative strength?

I can understand if it is because someone is say, controlling their weight to dominate a weight class, but suppose you have someone who isn’t and can legitimetly(sp?) bench 300lbs at 120lbs bodyweight, and are still attempting to make gains in both size/strength…now it would seem that would be very impressive, but still less impressive then say a 240lbs person who benches 600lbs(sorry needed a quick example, so just doubled numbers)…my question is why? Odds are the 240lbs person is naturally bigger, and so he doesn’t even have to do the ‘catch-up’ work the 120lbs person would have to do when gaining size/strength…

Done and done, should get some interesting feedback on this.

simple… if his goal IS SIZE TOO then that makes it less impressive.

even if it isnt, the 600/240 is more impressive anyway.

if you look in the superheavyweight classes, rezazadeh for example from olympic lifting is i think over 140kgs? and he c&jed 263.5

thats less than 2 times bw.

yet there are quite a few o lifters who have c&jed 3 times their body weight but they had a much lower one.

Relative strength allows more idiots to come out of the woodwork and say Bruce Lee is more impressive than Jonnie Jackson or related.

800lbs is still 800lbs, no matter who lifts it.

Maybe it’s because he’s into bodybuilding more than he’s into power/olympic lifting.

Maybe it’s because it’s his PERSONAL OPINION.

He posts in the bodybuilding forum and rarely if ever in the strength sports forum. Bodybuilding is about getting as big as possible. Relative strength is of no relevance in this context.

Am I right?

Did I win something?

[quote]michael2507 wrote:
He posts in the bodybuilding forum and rarely if ever in the strength sports forum. Bodybuilding is about getting as big as possible. Relative strength is of no relevance in this context.

Am I right?

Did I win something?[/quote]

You have my respect, you owe me money now.

[quote]michael2507 wrote:
He posts in the bodybuilding forum and rarely if ever in the strength sports forum. Bodybuilding is about getting as big as possible. Relative strength is of no relevance in this context.

Am I right?

Did I win something?[/quote]

Ya, that pretty much settles this entire thread.

[quote]michael2507 wrote:
He posts in the bodybuilding forum and rarely if ever in the strength sports forum. Bodybuilding is about getting as big as possible. Relative strength is of no relevance in this context.[/quote]

Yup. You don’t participate in the bodybuilding forum to look like Bruce Lee, and it’s his personal quest to eradicate any “I don’t wanna get big but look like Bruce Lee” people lingering in this forum.

[quote]Fulmen wrote:
Relative strength allows more idiots to come out of the woodwork and say Bruce Lee is more impressive than Jonnie Jackson or related.

800lbs is still 800lbs, no matter who lifts it.[/quote]

Fullmen, good words!

[quote]H4rdc0r3 wrote:
Long story short, pm’d the guy, and said to post it out here in a thread and I’d get my answer ‘by quite a few people’. Yes I’m just gonna copy/paste cause I’m a lazy mo-fo. :stuck_out_tongue:

So without further a-do:


Why do you dislike relative strength?

I can understand if it is because someone is say, controlling their weight to dominate a weight class, but suppose you have someone who isn’t and can legitimetly(sp?) bench 300lbs at 120lbs bodyweight, and are still attempting to make gains in both size/strength…now it would seem that would be very impressive, but still less impressive then say a 240lbs person who benches 600lbs(sorry needed a quick example, so just doubled numbers)…my question is why? Odds are the 240lbs person is naturally bigger, and so he doesn’t even have to do the ‘catch-up’ work the 120lbs person would have to do when gaining size/strength…

Done and done, should get some interesting feedback on this.[/quote]

You basically got the responses I thought you would, but I’ll clarify anyway.

First, I train for strength as well as size. In fact, I am sure most of the more successful bodybuilders had the same approach. Relative strength may have been an innocent term when it was created but it immediately began to get latched onto by any little guy who wanted to act like his accomplishments deserved praise in spite of people not really being impressed.

In fact, if you deny that, there really isn’t much point in going forward because those types of people are what many take offense to.

Relative strength has a place ONLY when discussing weight classed strength competitions. Outside of that, it makes little sense. I could care less if a midget can press twice his body weight…a whopping 140lbs!! Hell, he only weighs 70lbs, shouldn’t we all be impressed?

Sadly, no, we are not all impressed because some of us are actually impressed by HEAVY WEIGHTS no matter who lifts them.

Bench pressing 600+lbs is a feat of strength some might even pay to see. It seems mostly smaller lifters are the ones who give a shit how much the competitor weighed in that scenario.

It seems to be a fact that stronger lifters are going to focus on the weight lifted and not how much the guy weighed lifting it…at least not unless it involved some freakish scenario that deserves the attention.

“Relative strength” seemed to become the battle cry for those afraid of gaining muscle mass. If someone is a strength athlete in competition with weight classes, more power to them. May they succeed and be great. If, however, some 140lbs jackass is using his 140lbs to act like his bench press (what some larger guy might use as a warm up) deserves a standing round of applause, excuse me for not getting excited.

The problem with relative strength is that strength and bodyweight are not linearly correlated. You cannot really use a simple strength/bodyweight formula to compare athletes from different weights. This has been demonstrated years ago and as a result they tried to develop complex formulas based on statistical analysis to be able to compare lifters from different classes (the Sinclair formula in olympic lifting for example).

Furthermore, body dimensions/levers should also be considered. Prof X gave the example of a midget. This can help us illustrate how body size, not just weight, can make a difference. Take the bench press. A 150lbs ‘‘little person’’ (is that still the PC term?) will be able to bench press twice bodyweight much more easily than a 5’11’’ 150lbs ectomorph! The ‘‘little person’’ has to press the bar only about 10-12 inches which the taller guy might have to lift it 24 inches.

The same thing can be said about a superheavy lifter of 300lbs. A guy who is 300lbs with a fairly low level of bodyfat will have an advantage over a 300lbs guy who has very high level of bodyfat… simply because the leaner guy has more muscle for the same body weight.

Let’s face it… when we watch someone lift weights we are first impressed by the total amount lifted. We will rarely stand there, watching the lift, and mentally calculate the relative strength value of that lift! Our first raw instinct is to be impressed by peoples lifting big heavy things. That’s why the strongman events are moving more toward lifting and carrying BIG odd objects instead of barbells (back in the days of Kazmeir, Samuelsson, etc. they still had the bench press and deadlift in the WSM). Pulling a truck is visually more impressive than someone deadlifting 700lbs in plates.

We are visual creatures and things that strike us visually affect us more than things that need to be analysed.

It’s the same thing with bodybuilding… while I have nothing but respect for ligther weights competitors, and admit that some have great physiques… the fact remains that those who go to bodybuilding showns want to see the big boys… the ligth-heavies, heavies and superheavies simply because at first glance they are more impressive.

This is why in high level amateur competitiors you will almost never have someone below light-heavy win the overall.

actually from a post i made, people told me that having a very low body fat doesnt always help in strength. for most people they said its around 12% body fat that they are as strong as they can be with as little fat as possible without losing any strength.

strength is a lot more about training, whereas bodybuilding till you reach a professional level is more about diet

[quote]lordstorm88 wrote:
A guy who is 300lbs with a fairly low level of bodyfat will have an advantage over a 300lbs guy who has very high level of bodyfat…

actually from a post i made, people told me that having a very low body fat doesnt always help in strength. for most people they said its around 12% body fat that they are as strong as they can be with as little fat as possible without losing any strength.

strength is a lot more about training, whereas bodybuilding till you reach a professional level is more about diet[/quote]

12% body fat for a powerlifter IS a low body fat percentage.

How about who gives a flying fuck. Do what you want, be who you want and fuck what other people think. Christ.

[quote]Professor X wrote:

12% body fat for a powerlifter IS a low body fat percentage.[/quote]

Yep, my friend Hugo Girard is at 12% (he is 330) and he is very lean, probably the most impressive person I’ve seen ‘live’.

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
Professor X wrote:

12% body fat for a powerlifter IS a low body fat percentage.

Yep, my friend Hugo Girard is at 12% (he is 330) and he is very lean, probably the most impressive person I’ve seen ‘live’.[/quote]

S.C.A.R.Y.

Since we mentioned midgets…: What if a midget is deadlifting, and he is short enough that when hes locked out, the bar is firmly on the floor, cant he add as much weight as possible, and because hes still locked out it counts?

Off topic, but i bet a midget weighing 50lb could “dl” 1000lb, giving him a 20x bw?

[quote]ahzaz wrote:
Since we mentioned midgets…: What if a midget is deadlifting, and he is short enough that when hes locked out, the bar is firmly on the floor, cant he add as much weight as possible, and because hes still locked out it counts?

Off topic, but i bet a midget weighing 50lb could “dl” 1000lb, giving him a 20x bw?[/quote]

I hope no one dignifies this with a response.

you just did

[quote]Odds are the 240lbs person is naturally bigger, and so he doesn’t even have to do the ‘catch-up’ work the 120lbs person would have to do when gaining size/strength…

Done and done, should get some interesting feedback on this.[/quote]

What do you mean by naturally bigger. The theoretical 240 pound guy probably just eats more than the skinny dude. I don’t care how strong they think they are, skinny dudes are just unimpressive.

And if you really want more feedback, you might try changing the subject. I thought this was going to be another PX stalker thread.