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Old 12-12-2011, 11:59 AM   #1
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Max Brawn
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Question Body Weight and Starting Great: I Am A Novice Powerlifter

I feel like at this point in my training career I should be gaining weight as much as possible, granted not tons of fat, but some fat is fine as long as the weights on the barbell are getting heavier. I want to compete someday, but I feel like I would benefit more in the long run by gaining as much as I can early on, that way when I do start competing I can find a weight class to cut down to. Is this flawed logic?

I understand that the goal is to be very strong in relation to your body weight, and that the heavier you are the more you are expected to lift. But my thinking is that, based on that very premise, if I weigh more I will be ABLE to lift more, nevermind expectations. They only assist my purpose. My goal is to be as strong as physically possible, for my body.

Consider Ed Coan, who was 5’ 6” at 220 lbs. He must have had much more lean body mass than I do, and he weighed 7 lbs more than me and was shorter. My point being that I absolutely have more lean body mass to gain, and while that proves I am carrying “too much” fat right now, doesn’t that fat help me get stronger and thus bigger?

It could be argued that gaining weight is necessary when adding weight to the barbell warrants it, but i would ask isn't that too late? If a lifter "waits" until he stalls then considers that maybe he wouldn't have stalled had he been heavier or had more mass, shouldn't that be curtailed by consistently increasing body weight until needing to reduce weight for some specific reason?

I do want to clarify that I'm not talking about gaining 300 lbs of fat for the sake of having more mass under the bar. I am really questioning the height/weight relationship and using it as a rule. With all the physiological differences from person to person these rules seem to put a limit on a lifter's potential that may be unnecessary. Since it is true that a man can be 5' 5'' and weigh 145 lbs and another man also at 5'5" can weigh 200 lbs, these height/weight “guidelines” seem a little bizarre. True, it depends on the musculature and fat content of the individual, but the fact that 2 men at the same height CAN weigh that differently speaks volumes about the possibilities.

While it is likely that the 145 lb individual is very lean, the 200 lb man could be either very muscular or very fat. While the 145 lb individual is considered “fit” because of his leanness and can maybe run well or swim well, it is reasonable to assume he couldn’t do the things the 200 lb man does well, assuming he’s not all fat. Even then, I’d bet the 200 lb man would make a better sumo-wrestler than the 145 lber.

What dictates how much you should weigh? First, I would say your goals. If you lift weights to get stronger or exercise for general fitness, surely leanness is a high priority. Your age should also be taken into account; a 70 year old man probably shouldn’t attempt bulking up 50 lbs.

So, let me appeal to those who have come before me and have thus earned and learned experience in the sport in which I aspire to be great. I am young and I want to be great in this sport. I want to be remembered in this sport. If you could start over, what would you do differently in regards to training, body weight, and anything else that would help you climb to the level of which I speak?

Guide me, those who are much more experienced in this wonderful sport! I am yours to mold.
My Training Journal 5' 8" Current BW 207 (94) lbs (kg)

20 JAN 12 at 200 (90) BW - 385/275/405 (175/125/184) SQ/B/D

29 MAY 12 at 206 (93) BW - 135/175 (61/79) SN/CJ
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