Transferability of Barbell Strength

Antti

More than 2500 posts
@Antti, my only disagreement is with the word "necessary." If we're talking about what's necessary for someone to achieve "maximum" strength, I must confess that we then have to start talking about the word "maximum" - does that mean everyone should become a SHW lifter because, surely, a high level of skill _and_ "maximum" size is the only way to achieve maximum results?

Engineers will tell you everything is a compromise. In my former life as an avid bikie, it was always "light, inexpensive, strong - pick any two." I don't think you're suggesting that every new trainee ought to strive to weigh 400 lbs. but, if you were, I couldn't disagree if maximum strength without compromise was the stated goal.

We also need to consider the specifics - one of the reasons the deadlift was chosen for PTTP, I believe, is that it offers the most potential for CNS/skill improvement without hypertrophy. I know, e.g., that when I do a pressing program, I am going to gain muscle size in my arms and shoulders - I'm fine with that, and I don't mean to suggest that adding muscle size isn't good, just that it's not necessary. One can also do a pressing program along the lines of the one I suggested to @pet' which he reported worked for him - that was a DDD/PTTP approach of low daily volume, high frequency, and aimed for improving pressing primarily by improving skill.

-S-
Yes, if we are talking of maximum strength, it stands to reason that the largest among us will grow up to be in the superheavyweight category. The exact weight class is a matter of individual proportions. The greatest strength athletes in the World, the ones with the greatest maximum strength, are very muscular.

That is what I implied when I talked about "a certain level". We can get plenty strong without getting bigger, no question about it. But at some point it soon becomes efficient, and ultimately, necessary, if the goal is maximum strength. Again, we have to be clear that the discussion is not about what level of muscle or strength we deem suitable for ourselves.

But if I understood you correctly it appears we have, so to say, reached the same page. Although there can be some differences of opinion when it comes to the new trainee looking to reach some common strength standards.
 

Oscar

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Interesting discussion. About the discussion on absolute strength vs. bodyweight percentage strength, my opinion is that both have to be considered. This is why TSC includes both, as does the Iron Maiden/Best tamer. It´s true that the couch doesnt get any lighter for lighter guys, but its also true that I lift couches twice a year, and I lift my body up from the chair 50 times a day. Also, many strength-related activities are bodyweight -dependant, such as running fast, climbing, and so on.

If I may, I would suggest than a test such as the TSC is more representative of functional strength than a 48 kg TGU. This is probably why the TSC was designed this way.

@Antti , about this:

I think the kettlebell training has had an influence on how my barbell training has developed. The years of training with the kettlebells have taught me the core principles, like tension, bracing, breathing etc. I developed a good hinge. My body awareness was high. So, I wasn't surprised I managed to progress adequately with the barbell. But I don't think the kettlebells I had, at max a 40kg or 2*24kg, prepared me at all for the sheer absolute weight I was about to get involved with, apart for the overhead press. So there was little carryover that way.
You are a strong and heavy guy, so it appears to me that the kettlebells you had available were not heavy enough. Maybe you would have benefitted from heavy doubles (32+32), or heavy two hand swings with those T-shaped devices you can load with plates (dont remember the name). So this doesnt seem to me as a fair comparison. I know that buying a lot of KB is not cheap, but if compared to 40 years of gym membership, is not that expensive either.
 

Antti

More than 2500 posts
Interesting discussion. About the discussion on absolute strength vs. bodyweight percentage strength, my opinion is that both have to be considered. This is why TSC includes both, as does the Iron Maiden/Best tamer. It´s true that the couch doesnt get any lighter for lighter guys, but its also true that I lift couches twice a year, and I lift my body up from the chair 50 times a day. Also, many strength-related activities are bodyweight -dependant, such as running fast, climbing, and so on.

If I may, I would suggest than a test such as the TSC is more representative of functional strength than a 48 kg TGU. This is probably why the TSC was designed this way.

@Antti , about this:



You are a strong and heavy guy, so it appears to me that the kettlebells you had available were not heavy enough. Maybe you would have benefitted from heavy doubles (32+32), or heavy two hand swings with those T-shaped devices you can load with plates (dont remember the name). So this doesnt seem to me as a fair comparison. I know that buying a lot of KB is not cheap, but if compared to 40 years of gym membership, is not that expensive either.
I too think the TSC template is a pretty good one, not perfect, but pretty good.

I agree that more and heavier kettlebells would be nice. If I won the lottery I'd buy some right away.

When I think of what I like the most with the barbell lifts it's the squat and the deadlift. Both require a lot of weight. As far as I've gone with my upper body and ballistics so far I'd be really happy with a 48kg kettlebell.

Luckily I'm blessed so that I don't have to choose just one way of training. I can do all three in the ways I see the best.
 

Bro Mo

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
This conversation reminds me of the movie Despicable Me when the one villain calls himself "Vector" because he has both magnitude and direction.

In the end, everyone's "vector" is different because we have different directions we want to take ourselves in. I will say the magnitude from the barbell has transferred better to the other things I want better than the other things I want transferring to the barbell.

The TGU is very transferrable for me in life but it doesn't help my deadlift much. The inverse is different though, my deadlift helps my TGU. I could say the same for bench pressing, etc. Push-Ups don't increase my bench press as much as my bench press helps my push-ups. From a magnitude perspective, I feel I get more from the barbell. From a vector perspective, I get the most from performing the specific task I want to accomplish.
 

MikeTheBear

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
I'm pretty sure this is almost exactly @Bill Been's point, so I'm not sure if this is arguing for or against.
I meant to do a follow up post to clarify what I meant. I was pointing out what I would consider a logical fallacy in the article. It is the strawman fallacy although in this case it would be more appropriate to call it a "strongman fallacy." The article picked a human marvel of strength. I'm not even sure Brian Shaw is human. At the event where I met him, while I walked to my car I saw Brian talking to two men in black suits who looked a lot like Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.

Weight that for Brian is light would be heavy for us mere mortals. And as @305pelusa mentioned, Crossfit events also include bodyweight moves and running. So the article was also cherry-picking its example by focusing on an event in which Brian would obviously excel at, even without knowing good technique.

Bottom line, Brian's strength levels are not realistic for most of us to attain. As I said, from my experience, strength has diminishing returns in events that require more endurance.
 

305pelusa

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Figured this might be a fun thread for some of the people here like @Bill Been and so on. We talk a lot about "imagine a scenario with male weighing X, no experience in Y, only trained heavily with Z, how will he do? etc" so this is a good chance to try your guesstimation skills I suppose:

PL 1RM Max Estimates from Calisthenics
 

Kozushi

More than 2500 posts
I don't think there is anything you could do with a 40kg weight (i.e. a kettlebell) that would make you as strong as doing something with a 200kg weight (i.e. a barbell), providing you can lift it. It's just plain everyday common sense.

Kettlebells are a nice, light weight, alternative to functional strength and functional movement training. That somehow a light weight used no matter how matches a much heavier weight is completely illogical.
 

Shahaf Levin

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
That somehow a light weight used no matter how matches a much heavier weight is completely illogical.
It get more logical when you take in to account that the body reacts to the internal forces generated in the body rather the external stimulus itself. Take a KB swing for example, a highly skilled lifter can put 500 lbs. force through the feet swinging a 24kg bell (53 lbs.). That was measured in some experiment with Pavel a few others. I don't remember were exactly but I will look for the citation.

The key is a skilled lifter. Skilled lifters/athletes can generate higher drive with less stimulus, that's why in Westside barbell dynamic effort method "novices" use ~75% of 1RM and advanced lifters ~50%, and that's why you can make progress swinging and snatching 24kg bells for a very long time. I, on the other hand, cannot put 500 lbs of force swinging a 53 lbs bell, I am not sure I can even produce such force safely, and when I will, it will require the same external stimulus.
 

Antti

More than 2500 posts
It get more logical when you take in to account that the body reacts to the internal forces generated in the body rather the external stimulus itself. Take a KB swing for example, a highly skilled lifter can put 500 lbs. force through the feet swinging a 24kg bell (53 lbs.). That was measured in some experiment with Pavel a few others. I don't remember were exactly but I will look for the citation.

The key is a skilled lifter. Skilled lifters/athletes can generate higher drive with less stimulus, that's why in Westside barbell dynamic effort method "novices" use ~75% of 1RM and advanced lifters ~50%, and that's why you can make progress swinging and snatching 24kg bells for a very long time. I, on the other hand, cannot put 500 lbs of force swinging a 53 lbs bell, I am not sure I can even produce such force safely, and when I will, it will require the same external stimulus.
How does the force production compare to different lifts? I mean, how much force do the other lifts produce?

"500 lbs of force" really says nothing to me as I do not know the context and there's nothing I can compare it to.

Also, shouldn't force be measured in Newtons?
 

Shahaf Levin

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
How does the force production compare to different lifts? I mean, how much force do the other lifts produce?

"500 lbs of force" really says nothing to me as I do not know the context and there's nothing I can compare it to.
Good question, I don't have an answer, which is worth looking for. The measurement was done with a force plate so I assume that slow grinds will not produce more force then the combined weight of lifter and lifting apparatus. Jumping, running and other ballistic movement will produce more force than the sum load of lifter and apparatus.

Also, shouldn't force be measured in Newtons?
Yes and no. Newtons is the standard physical unit for force. However, since most people find it hard to relate Newtons to "real-world" examples many times the units are scaled by the gravity constant to kgf (Kg force), which more often than not is written without the force part outside of physics context (lbs. by that meaning is lbsf).
 

Antti

More than 2500 posts
So, if we don't know the context or relevance of the force plate measurement of the swing, we can't really use it meaningfully in the discussion.

I can understand that velocity/force/power training has its place in a training program. I'm not sure, however, what the impact really is. What I remember from the programs and schools of training I've read about force training is used only as auxiliary training. Lots of good programming forgo it entirely. For example, the programs affiliated with Strongfirst/Pavel typically recommend an intensity range that isn't optimal for fast lifts. So it seems to me that absolute weight is clearly more important in most circles.
 

Shahaf Levin

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
So it seems to me that absolute weight is clearly more important in most circles.
I think we all agree that absolute strength is the "master quality" all other strength qualities are derived from, regardless of the modality in which we choose to train.

What I remember from the programs and schools of training I've read about force training is used only as auxiliary training. Lots of good programming forgo it entirely.
True. I think it's more of general approach and goals of training. The way to asses a program IMHO is by how closer you get your goals, and at what energy expenditure.

For example, the programs affiliated with Strongfirst/Pavel typically recommend an intensity range that isn't optimal for fast lifts.
Mmm... Not sure about that one, maybe in the SFL/barbell parts. In Easy Strength there is quite an extensive talk about speed deaflifts. And the KB part of SF if filled with ballistics...

So, if we don't know the context or relevance of the force plate measurement of the swing, we can't really use it meaningfully in the discussion.
That's the context of my original post

Kettlebells are a nice, light weight, alternative to functional strength and functional movement training. That somehow a light weight used no matter how matches a much heavier weight is completely illogical.
 

Antti

More than 2500 posts
I do not remember the part of the speed deadlifts in the ES. Was it done more than as an auxiliary exercise? I will have to check it out.

To my understanding, programs recommended here often have an intensity range around 65%-85%% 1RM. That seems to be the soviet weightlifting base volume range. Maximal force training is typically done at lower intensities.

I do agree that the KB ballistics are taught by different rules. Why and how exactly that is is an excellent question, but perhaps best saved for another time.
 

Kozushi

More than 2500 posts
This feeds into my personal questioning of the utility of lighter one handed swings versus two handed swings with a heavier kettlebell. Yes indeed one handed swinging a kettlebell is awkward and harder to do, but this stops me from putting more force into the swing, so I feel it's holding back my strength development.

It's like the question of doing presses with one kettlebell alone or with one in each hand. I really can't see how the guy doing one at a time is going to be stronger than one guy lifting two at once! If we're talking about dynamic weighted balance then yes, lopsided training makes sense for a chaotic sport setting, but I'd think the sport training itself would more than compensate for anything missed in a double-handed, much heavier (therefore) lift.
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Senior Certified Instructor
@Kozushi, we are straying from my area of knowledge here, but I believe you'll find this discussed, perhaps only briefly, in the S&S book itself. A one-armed swing or press does a few things. It trains your body to both resist forces trying to bend it and not only that, it trains your body to transmit force from the ground in those circumstances. This will build a more resilient athlete, and that's an extremely valuable thing. As such, however, you're right that it's not as much direct assistance for one's deadlift as a two-handed swing.

So you have to ask yourself what purpose the swing serves in your training, which we might broadly categorize as GPP for the one-arm swing and direct deadlift assistance for the two-arm swing. But it's important to realize that one's deadlift or one's specific performance in a sport doesn't necessarily benefit only from direct assistance.

-S-
 

Kozushi

More than 2500 posts
@Kozushi, we are straying from my area of knowledge here, but I believe you'll find this discussed, perhaps only briefly, in the S&S book itself. A one-armed swing or press does a few things. It trains your body to both resist forces trying to bend it and not only that, it trains your body to transmit force from the ground in those circumstances. This will build a more resilient athlete, and that's an extremely valuable thing. As such, however, you're right that it's not as much direct assistance for one's deadlift as a two-handed swing.

So you have to ask yourself what purpose the swing serves in your training, which we might broadly categorize as GPP for the one-arm swing and direct deadlift assistance for the two-arm swing. But it's important to realize that one's deadlift or one's specific performance in a sport doesn't necessarily benefit only from direct assistance.

-S-
Having spent a few weeks or more at a time with one swing variety and then another what I felt was that while the one handed but lighter swing was better for movements in my sport that closely mimic that kind of a pull, in every other respect including cardiovascular ability, explosiveness, and absolute strength, the two handed swing with a heavier kettlebell was better cross training for judo.

I see the logic to the anti-twist aspect of one handed training, and of course it's valuable, but (and of course this is just me speaking anecdotally and by feel) the anti-twist benefit is trumped by the simple fact that two handed moves with heavier weights are dealing with more weight and more power. Also, it isn't like you can let your body crumple to the left or to the right side if you're deadlifting a barbell or two hand swinging a kettlebell any more than you can let your body crumple if you're doing a one sided move. There is still certainly anti-twist strength being developed in two handed moves for the simple fact that neither side of the body can let up.

For me the two handed swing is with the 40 and the one handed with the 32. I can blast the 40 quite violently, and I feel the cardio pump through my whole body, and I tire out my whole body also. With the 32, almost 1/2 of my body is getting a rest for every set of swings.

If I didn't have any weight heavier than the 32, then I would certainly swing it nearly always single handed as it's too easy 2 handed, but I am definitely getting the idea now that heavier 2 handed is better than lighter 1 handed, as a basic principle of developing strength of virtually any kind.
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Senior Certified Instructor
With the 32, almost 1/2 of my body is getting a rest for every set of swings.
I don't think that's true.

If I didn't have any weight heavier than the 32, then I would certainly swing it nearly always single handed as it's too easy 2 handed, but I am definitely getting the idea now that heavier 2 handed is better than lighter 1 handed, as a basic principle of developing strength of virtually any kind.
If you like heavy, 2-handed swings, you should try deadlifting a barbell.

-S-
 

jca17

More than 300 posts
If half your body is resting during one arm swings, youll be pleasantly surprised with how much power youll get when you try engaging the whole body. One arm swings do wonders for my grip and shoulders (not referring to muscular development, but health and function). As the book describes: one arm swings for strength, two hand swings for power. Muscle contraction exceeds actual voluntary maximum contraction with one arms swings.
 

Kozushi

More than 2500 posts
If half your body is resting during one arm swings, youll be pleasantly surprised with how much power youll get when you try engaging the whole body. One arm swings do wonders for my grip and shoulders (not referring to muscular development, but health and function). As the book describes: one arm swings for strength, two hand swings for power. Muscle contraction exceeds actual voluntary maximum contraction with one arms swings.
Yes, thank you for reminding me of this. Both strength and power have their uses. Perhaps in my sport, power is more important, but I shouldn't get caught up in making kettlebelling the slave of my sport as it's its own thing.
 
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