Real World Strength Weak Links

xagunos

Level 6 Valued Member
In regards to odd object lifting whether it be stones, furniture, another person or anything that is heavy that isn't a typical strength implement, what muscles tend to be the limiting factors?

I've been coming to the conclusion that many times the upper body particularly grip is the weak link for most real world scenarios. I also seem to have found if mobility is not an issue, the hips and back by themselves are fairly strong enough to carry most odd objects and will almost never give out before muscles like your arms or grip. In other words, if you cannot grip it, you cannot lift it.

I also grew up wrestling where grip strength was a huge advantage and powerful hips definitely helped however some of the best wrestlers I knew weren't terribly strong at squats or deadlifts but they were masters at being able to "use" their hips thereby being in control of their own center of mass as well as their opponent.

Does anyone else feel the same way?
 

Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
I can't talk about wrestling or people, but I have had to work around lifting and logistics and do the occasional everyday lifting, like moving appliances and furniture and so on. I also lift and carry weights recreationally.

In the real world my problem is almost never the pure weight but the dimensions and where to get a grip.

With farmer handles and a barbell etc they're easy to get a grip but the load is heavy.

I can't really remember my grip failing outside the gym. In the gym, it occasionally happens, and I also often use straps. I will train my grip but I will not let it be a limiting factor in my training.

I do a fair bit of loaded carries and they all have specific weak points. Suitcase carries hit the sides, zercher carries the abs and upper back, yoke carries about everything, but mostly the core and the hips.

Regarding injuries, I think injuries around the grip are typically much more rare or at least less severe than the typical other injuries one can get while lifting, inside or outside the gym.
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

Most of the time, grip is the issue because:
- there is no handle
- obliged to use either pinch grip or one phalange grip
- sweat on the hands

There is also the 'conveniency':
- terrain with debris, not even, etc..
- legs are bothered by the item so we have trouble to walk.

There are probably plenty of other things though

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

KimoSabe

Level 6 Valued Member
In my experience, you'll rarely find yourself lifting a 1RM in the "real" world. So the limiting factor isn't so much any single muscle or even the lungs, but work capacity, i. e. can you do this for a few hours at the same, relatively easy-to-medium pace (and possibly not be totally destroyed the day after).
 

JW513

Level 5 Valued Member
I'm in construction, you do get stronger, but you also learn how to manipulate the weight so it feels lighter. Like big trash barrels, i used to kinda bear hug them to the dumpster... It dawned on me to carry them on my shoulders... It feels way lighter up there, but you have to be strong enough to get it up there. Plus, the terrain on job sites can be awful... Try using a jackhammer held horizontal in 10 inches of mucky clay water that was like quicksand. You just get good at leverage, and manipulating the weight...
 

Bauer

Level 6 Valued Member
I think for me long levers and the distal center of gravity make things more difficult or awkward in real life. Even a light bag of groceries (not American style; with handles) or a suitcase can become awkward to carry and hit the shoulders and spinal stabilizers hard. At least after some time. So strength endurance and movement quality play a role here, too. And pressurized breathing.

I often have to carry a stroller down a spiral staircase and although it is light it is more difficult to me than carrying a 24 kg bell.

Thinking of it, sandbag carries for time could be a great way to train this stuff. But TGUs and 1H swings are great, too...
 

Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
One more point I forgot to mention is that I have got tremendous carryover from the big compound exercises, both in carries in the gym and the odd lifting outside. The basics; squat, press, hinge, row etc are the real deal and the base. Like the basic motor skills are the base for every fine skill.
 

JeffC

Level 7 Valued Member
In terms of lifting and carry odd objects the biceps are the first to fatigue in most cases. The chest also plays a large role in being able to crush and hold an object with open palm.

Anyone who thinks training biceps is a waste of energy is mistaken.

I see a lot of people mention forearm and elbow pain, even anterior shoulder pain, that can be fixed, in part, by stronger biceps.

Right now my low back is a weak point, was my strongest point, due to tightness and imbalance. I am working to fix that problem.
 
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Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
In terms of lifting and carry odd objects the biceps are the first to fatigue in most cases. The chest also plays a large role in being able to crush and hold an object with open plan.

Anyone who thinks training biceps is a waste of energy is mistaken.

I see a lot of people mention forearm and elbow pain, even anterior shoulder pain, that can be fixed, in part, by stronger biceps.

Right now my low back is a weak point, was my strongest point, due to tightness and imbalance. I am working to fix that problem.
But... but... preposterous!

It is true. Just had a chat today about the importance of training biceps, how it's a necessary part of strength development. And it doesn't really take that much time or effort.

It's odd how easily people dismiss the biceps. They're so obviously important. Like something so basic as carrying a child in one arm should give every parent a clue about the biceps.
 

Kettlebelephant

Level 7 Valued Member
In terms of lifting and carry odd objects the biceps are the first to fatigue in most cases. The chest also plays a large role in being able to crush and hold an object with open plan.

Anyone who thinks training biceps is a waste of energy is mistaken.
Bear Hug Carries , KB Horn Carries/Goblet Carries and Bottoms-Up Carries are my favorites for that.
Set a timer for 5min and do as much work as possible with one of those carries. Especially the first two will make you feel your biceps ;)
 

North Coast Miller

Level 7 Valued Member
- Static biceps holding strength
- Grip
- Core activation capable of supporting loads away from center of balance
- Muscles of the rotator cuff capable of maintaining tension through the armpits/keeping shoulder socket tight

characteristics of day-to day I noticed that were not addressed by my existing exercise selection:
-no lockout
-elbows float around 90° +- 20° without full flexion or extension, primary role is stabilization to transfer movement from shoulders/trunk.
-load manipulated away from the body center of gravity (this is huge)
-unsymmetrical bilateral push/pull, push/push, pull/pull
-grip endurance relative to tool holding - eg sawing different from filing different from hammering
 
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Philippe Geoffrion

Level 6 Valued Member
It’s funny how in this thread, we need to be reminded of training the biceps while in many other sites...

“What exercise will build a peak to my biceps” will appear infinite times along with a list ad infinium of the moves people will do for their biceps.

It is funny how the strength athlete will neglect the biceps, almost purposefully, to dissociate him/herself from the bro lifters...it reminds me of Greg Nuckols article on elbow flare in the bench, and how he believes powerlifters adapted the elbow tuck and tricep emphasis bench solely because it was the opposite of the bodybuilders flared elbows and pec emphasis...

However, the biceps are soooo underrated in the aforementioned regard. If you’re like me and have long arms, you may find you can’t really “farmers carry” many things without them dragging along the ground so you flex the elbows. Also, most things we move, must be hoisted up into things, like furniture into a truck. Good luck power cleaning a couch. How do you lift it into your truck bed? Perhaps a little back bend and of course, elbow flexion.
I found recently my elbow and wrist pain were immediately alleviated with band curls.

The biceps don’t deserve the “mirror” muscle reputation as being functionless, nor does the chest in a raw bench or the quads in a raw squat. However, back to the original question. If I zercher carry something, which is mostly how I’d carry odd objects, my upper back gets fried over long distances. As for bending over to pick things up repeatedly, my low back, as it’s easy to just round over to pick up light things, like 50 lbs produce boxes I used to lift all day, then to “hip hinge” towards them like a deadlift.
 
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Don Fairbanks

SFG II
Certified Instructor
Interesting thread and it has answered a question that has been rolling around in my head every now and then since my SFG I in 2016. Why did I still have a bicep pump, and sore biceps on Wednesday following a Fri-Sun cert? At the time it was strange, like I had just finished a three day chin up cert. The biceps are more important than I thought.
 

Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
It’s funny how in this thread, we need to be reminded of training the biceps while in many other sites...

“What exercise will build a peak to my biceps” will appear infinite times along with a list ad infinium of the moves people will do for their biceps.

It is funny how the strength athlete will neglect the biceps, almost purposefully, to dissociate him/herself from the bro lifters...it reminds me of Greg Nuckols article on elbow flare in the bench, and how he believes powerlifters adapted the elbow tuck and tricep emphasis bench solely because it was the opposite of the bodybuilders flared elbows and pec emphasis...

However, the biceps are soooo underrated in the aforementioned regard. If you’re like me and have long arms, you may find you can’t really “farmers carry” many things without them dragging along the ground so you flex the elbows. Also, most things we move, must be hoisted up into things, like furniture into a truck. Good luck power cleaning a couch. How do you lift it into your truck bed? Perhaps a little back bend and of course, elbow flexion.
I found recently my elbow and wrist pain were immediately alleviated with band curls.

The biceps don’t deserve the “mirror” muscle reputation as being functionless, nor does the chest in a raw bench or the quads in a raw squat. However, back to the original question. If I zercher carry something, which is mostly how I’d carry odd objects, my upper back gets fried over long distances. As for bending over to pick things up repeatedly, my low back, as it’s easy to just round over to pick up light things, like 50 lbs produce boxes I used to lift all day, then to “hip hinge” towards them like a deadlift.
It's the same with the bench press. It's in the top two popular gym lifts and many gym bros and bodybuilders are actually really good at it. Must be bad then, right? Don't mind the massive number of athletes who find it indispensable, like in many different sports of track and field, from sprinting to shot put. Or like when Pavel got a bit of backlash for choosing the bench as the best press.
 

Philippe Geoffrion

Level 6 Valued Member
It's the same with the bench press. It's in the top two popular gym lifts and many gym bros and bodybuilders are actually really good at it. Must be bad then, right? Don't mind the massive number of athletes who find it indispensable, like in many different sports of track and field, from sprinting to shot put. Or like when Pavel got a bit of backlash for choosing the bench as the best press.
Too true but also...Darn you, bench press for being my long arms’ nemesis and for taking my pec tendon!
 

Philippe Geoffrion

Level 6 Valued Member
One forgets the reason why pecs are so awesome until you see the ultimate punishing powerful display of them from Bolo in “Enter the Dragon”, bear hugging the unfortunate guard into oblivion.

I also heard a story about Sandow, who in a fit of anger during a wrestling match after having suffered nerve damage in his forearm by his adversary, charged the opponent like a raging bull, wrapped his arms around him in forceful embrace and with the strength of an anaconda, squeezed the life from the poor soul until several bones of his rib cage suffered the same fate as twigs under the herd of a stampede.
 

watchnerd

Level 5 Valued Member
If I zercher carry something, which is mostly how I’d carry odd objects, my upper back gets fried over long distances.
Huh.

I never zercher carry odd objects over distance.

My default, since I was probably 12, is to heave it up on my shoulder -- bag of concrete, bale of hay, log, 2 x 4, another human, a bicycle, a big rock, deer carcasses, etc.

You can carry something a pretty long distance once you get it up on your shoulder. If you stop and switch sides every once in a while, you can go for miles.
 
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