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Old 01-19-2013, 11:48 AM   #1
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Default Are you lifting too light?

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A phrase I hear a lot on the Internet and in gyms is: "You don't want to train too heavy." For a long time I was a big proponent of this as well. I would keep my working weights lighter, keep assistance exercise volume low and reps high and I wouldn't max out more than once a month. This was primarily during my days on 5/3/1 but also more recently on Westside where I was choosing harder variants of main lifts to keep weights lower; pulling from a deficit instead of the floor for example. Now during this time (over 2 years all told) I got stronger but I often had the same problem when I got to a really heavy session of singles or into a meet: my form would break. Getting out of position meant that I couldn't display the strength that I had built through all of the training.
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:50 PM   #2
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To me, that's always been the difference between "building" strength and "displaying" strength. It's also why lifts don't seem to have a direct carry-over to other lifts. You can build bigger bench press strength by getting stronger in the bar dips, but you won't be able to display that added strength in the bench press until you train your body to do the bench press again. Likewise, you have to train your body to display the strength through training for a max and teaching your body how to do them. Being good at running long distances doesn't automatically mean you can ride a bike long distances, but the increased aerobic capacity will display itself eventually as you learn to ride a bike. Hope that made sense?
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:55 PM   #3
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Agreed. This is why using a 1RM calculator to work out your max from a set of 10 is ludicrous.
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:56 PM   #4
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Further thought. . .

Al Gerard would train throughout the year with his new Trap Bar. Because of some injuries he'd use the Trap Bar exclusively to build more strength. As his competition neared, he'd switch back to squats and deads for a short time to re-learn the lifts and be able to utilize his new strength built with the Trap Bar. He couldn't just show up at a competition and squat, he had to basically remember how to do them.
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Old 01-19-2013, 01:00 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by LtL View Post
Agreed. This is why using a 1RM calculator to work out your max from a set of 10 is ludicrous.
I completely agree with that. A person can get good at doing reps but that doesn't mean that they can be good at max singles [and visa-versa].

Using myself and BtB as an example; I can squat over 300 lbs for 20 reps, I've gotten good at doing them, but my max is not that high. BtB on the other hand has a large max, but is not that impressive in the 20 rep squats. We automatically think that one would apply to the other, but that is not the case.
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Old 01-19-2013, 01:49 PM   #6
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Yep, I've also come across this in books and other internet sources where the lifter trains a different lift to increase strength on another lift but keeps their hand in with the other lift, that they're not really training, because otherwise they lose the edge that they built up on the initial lift.
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Old 01-19-2013, 02:49 PM   #7
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I've been reading a lot lately. I keep reading about how you don't need to train heavy all the time to get stronger, but when you go lighter you need to go fast to recruit all the muscle fibers. But I also know from experience that most people don't train heavy enough. They get it in their heads that they can lift a certain amount, and that's what they lift. They never push to new places, so their body never needs to get stronger.

Obviously, you need some of everything. You need to build speed and strength without destroying your body by training speed with lighter weights, but you also need to get some heavy weights on your back so when you go for new maxes or get to your meet your body will be ready to do what you want it to do. So the only question left is how much of each you do, and how often, which I'm sure is different for every person.
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Old 01-19-2013, 03:48 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Soldier View Post
I've been reading a lot lately. I keep reading about how you don't need to train heavy all the time to get stronger, but when you go lighter you need to go fast to recruit all the muscle fibers. But I also know from experience that most people don't train heavy enough. They get it in their heads that they can lift a certain amount, and that's what they lift. They never push to new places, so their body never needs to get stronger.

Obviously, you need some of everything. You need to build speed and strength without destroying your body by training speed with lighter weights, but you also need to get some heavy weights on your back so when you go for new maxes or get to your meet your body will be ready to do what you want it to do. So the only question left is how much of each you do, and how often, which I'm sure is different for every person.
There's definitely a balance to be struck but I'm now erring on the side of too much rather than not enough.
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Old 01-19-2013, 03:53 PM   #9
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Here's the direct link for anyone curious:

Are you training too light? | Lifting to Live
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:59 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Soldier View Post
I've been reading a lot lately. I keep reading about how you don't need to train heavy all the time to get stronger, but when you go lighter you need to go fast to recruit all the muscle fibers. But I also know from experience that most people don't train heavy enough. They get it in their heads that they can lift a certain amount, and that's what they lift. They never push to new places, so their body never needs to get stronger.

Obviously, you need some of everything. You need to build speed and strength without destroying your body by training speed with lighter weights, but you also need to get some heavy weights on your back so when you go for new maxes or get to your meet your body will be ready to do what you want it to do. So the only question left is how much of each you do, and how often, which I'm sure is different for every person.
My second ever powerlifting meet back years ago my last DL was 515....550 was loaded and i got it...at the time 515 was the max i ever got prior to the meet.
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