Thursday, June 27, 2013

Being well rounded

One of the reasons that I believe, and even most powerlifters believe, that strongmen are stronger isn't just because of deadlifting.  And though that's certainly a great indicator, I will say that the reason most strongmen are great pullers is because well, top level strongmen are built for pulling (duh).  Tall, long arms, strong backs.

However, one of the reasons I believe that strongmen are stronger than powerlifters is because they have to get strong in a variety of ways, using a variety of implements, and in a variety of movements.

A very prevalent thing I see in powerlifting is guys who can maximize leverages to "appear" stronger than they really are.  There's going to be people that take offense to that, but I give no shits.

You are most definitely supposed to use your leverages to move more weight, without question.  However one of the reasons that a LOT of guys end up spinning their wheels in terms of strength and muscular development over a long span is because they just keep trying to use their leverages, and stop trying to get stronger.

"Well I don't need to overhead press at a meet".  Yes, I know this, however your bench hasn't moved in a long time.  It may be that you've maxed out your leverages at this boydweight for that movement.  Or it may be, that other areas of your musculature need to get stronger in order for you to get past this plateau.  It's probably a combination of both.

Any "advanced" strength athlete should be able to clean and press their bodyweight for reps, pretty easily.  If you can't, you're either too weak to call yourself advanced, or too fat for your own good.

You should be able to do 20 bodyweight chins.  You should be able to front squat 80% of your back squat.

I've seen so many guys talk about "weak point" training and sound off on bullshit like "my lift stalls here, so I need to overload that part of the range of motion to beat that sticking point."  No man, you just need to get fucking stronger.  I've never ever seen a guy do board humping with less weight than he could bench.  That alone should tell you that you're not weaker at the transition point.  You miss at a certain weight because you're not strong enough to generate enough force out of the bottom to overcome that transition.  So simply put, get stronger.


You should be strong in any plane of pressing.  Overhead, incline, bench.

You should be strong front squatting AND back squatting.  If you squat low bar normally, do high bar squats.  It'll suck, but when you go back to low bar, you'll be even better.

You should also spend a significant portion of your offseason with no belt, no wraps trying to work up to your best set of squats, repetition wise, when you use those.

You should focus on stiff legged deadlifts and building a bigger and stronger back.  Make it a point to program your barbell rows and don't slack on your back work.

If you wanted me to tell you one secret to getting to a next level for yourself, it's to become well rounded.  You don't need to do a million movements to be well rounded.  It doesn't mean you need to have a bunch of special bars or add eleventy billion pounds of band tension to the bar.  But you should be well rounded with a barbell through multiple planes and types of movements.  This will fix "weak points" and boost your big three.  Strongmen know they can't just rely on learning leverages.  They actually have to get fucking stronger.  Think in terms of becoming a brute from top to bottom, and make it a point to get strong overall.

Clean and press, press behind the neck, incline, front squats, stiff legs, sumo pulls, block pulls, db pressing, various chin ups, all forms of rowing, curls.  Get strong with the BARBELL.  Get strong without any support on.  Get strong with dumbbells.  Put yourself in a mechanically weaker position, and when you go back to your stronger position, you'll be even better.  Then you can really focus on maximizing your strengths.  However now, you'll be well rounded and brutally strong from top to bottom.


  1. Weak point training is necessary sometimes, but I don't understand why people try to train their weak points by just doing the same lift a different way.

    If your bench lockout is the problem, then it's most likely weak triceps. Don't do board presses. Do a shit ton of dips. Board presses aren't going to give you diesel triceps and help your lockout. Focus on the cause of the weak points with different movements, don't just limit the ROM of the lift that suffers.

    All these limited ROM bullshit lifts only exist because people don't want to do the shit they actually need to be doing are trying to find a way around that fact. If you hate doing something because you suck at it and it makes you feel weak, that's what you should be focusing on. We've known that for thousands of years and people still ignore it.

    It's like some kind of mass psychosis. 6 year olds know how to get stronger, but grown-ass men think they can do something different and make it work.

    Keep preaching, brother.

    1. That's pretty much how I view it. If you miss a weight, get stronger. If you missed because your quads are weak, get bigger/stronger quads.

      You need to train the movement, but you need to fucking build stronger muscles too. There is a handshaking mechanism between getting bigger and stronger, yet too many guys get caught in the trap of just "training movements" (which you must do, yes) then forget completely that "oh, the muscles are doing the work."

  2. Ooh, I just thought of a great analogy.

    If you are lifting a weight with a motor and the motor stalls because it's too heavy, you don't try to redesign the machine with new cables and pulleys and shit. You just put a stronger motor on it.

  3. my man paul killing it

  4. Using leverages to appear stronger I feel goes hand in hand with people who get fat just to lift more weight, all for the sake of "only the weight on the bar matters." I think the reason most people get interested in powerlifting is because they like to be big and strong and generally not look like shit. Making yourself into a complete fatass just to lift more weight essentially ruining your life, ust doesn't make any sense for a sport that hardly anyone in relative terms follows and you can't make a living off. Fair enough pro football (soccer players) or long distance cyclists are tiny and look like shit , but that's they're fucking job that they make millions off. I know that kinda Away from the point but I just think that it all comes from the same kind of mentality.

  5. This guy looks fairly well rounded:

    (2,391 all time total for those that are wondering)

    Look at that walkout with 885...just stupid. Fuck.

  6. It's just like me and my bro-in-law. We both specialize in different types of lifts, but on the days we get together--we are training each other's lifts and not just our own. For instance, he is crazy strong at doing an alternating curl and press with a pair of dumbbells. I do overhead holds for time. Two different types of lifts. Obviously we will each be stronger at the lifts we specialize in, but we also put up a fair showing in the opposing lift and we know that matters. Because there is nothing worse than being completely outclassed in a staple lift. That's why being well-rounded is important, but I also believe in the value of attacking your best lifts with full-on force and propel yourself in a league of your own or at east until you are 3x better than when you started. One man can't be the best at everything. Be DAMN strong at 3 of your best lifts and be well-rounded in the others. Just like the strongmen---each and everyone of them have 1-3 lifts where they exell in. Phil Feister---WSM from 2006 was a mass monster. He was terrible in the deadlift and the squat, two major competitions---but excelled in nearly everything else.

  7. You specialise in overhead holds for time?