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What is your definition of "In shape" and are you training to acheive that?

Discussion in 'General Health/Fitness & Injuries' started by DFS, Mar 16, 2010.

  1. BigDog

    BigDog Well-Known Member

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    Great point. I suspect that 95%+ of the guys on this forum would be more than happy with being built like a male ballet dancer - strong, lean, muscular. I sure would.

    Lynn Swan (old school Pittsburgh Steelers receiver) did a lot of ballet training, which a lot of other players scoffed at as he made an impossible catch, and ran into the end zone.
     
  2. Nathan

    Nathan Active Member

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    That was actually my intention, I started off with the statement that many good, valid points were made by you and by the article. So, shall we agree to mostly agree? :)

    Sorry, my whole post wasn't exclusively limited to addressing you. Needachange said "trying out squats and deads for the first time and then hating them" which I know doesn't mean he's saying that is everyone's experience. Neither am I saying the opposite is everyone's experience. He was positing that it's possible for people to hate those exercises (and I agree) and I posted a counterexample, simply to make my point that I think some people walk into a gym and try squats and deads and fall in love with it.

    Here, I disagree. I think for the beginner through intermediate (judged by level of fitness or by level of skill at power lifting), power lifting transfers very well into general fitness, and only beyond a high level of specialized skill will it start to negatively impact most other activities.

    Yes, because I have specific goals to reach, whereas our discussion is of general fitness. I think our difference here is subtle but important. A beginner who trains solely for power lifting will become more generally fit, and I think quite effectively. I think more so than someone who solely trains running, tennis, swimming, or cycling. Will these latter people still get fit? Sure, but I think they're missing something important if they don't lift. If I could choose something for a beginner/intermediate general fitness practitioner to replace "power lifting exercises" with, Crossfit comes to mind, but mostly because that incorporates a fair bit of lifting heavy stuff too :)

    Again, I really disagree. I think you'd find that a far smaller percentage than you think would have any difficulty doing just fine at this. And I think my examples stand quite well as strong lifters who would do just fine running hills or shadow boxing, and they have a foundation to let them excel at those things should they choose to. If we limit our discussion to those very few people going for huge numbers, then I agree with you. They do let themselves get huge and are unlikely shadow boxers :) But I think they're the vast minority.

    I think we generally agree on the point, but not necessarily the lack of validity of the power lifting approach. I do see some tendency among the hardcore proponents of Stronglifts to suggest that it (after diet) is the primary way to get fit. But, in general gym-goers I think the opposite is true, they're jogging, walking, doing ellipticals, circuit training, doing high rep curls and working on their bench for a whole day and wondering why they don't see the results they'd like. For beginners... I don't think that is as effective as a good, simple, whole-body lifting routine combined with good nutrition. Those that choose to add cardio or HIIT to that, awesome! As they progress towards specific goals or to the point where they're stalling out on the basic lifts, then it's time to make some decisions, follow different paths. Once beyond this point... then yeah, find other things to try, get into new sports, or whatever. Be fit. Controlling your nutrition remains at or near the top of the heap for doing this, and I think the power lifts can be useful for almost anyone in almost any endeavor. They don't have to be taken to the extremes, and if they aren't then they can remain the core of any other activity for the lifetime of an athlete. Must they? No. But they can.
     
  3. cajunman

    cajunman Well-Known Member

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    So your knowledge base of knowing ONE POWERLIFTER entitles you to make the above comments? That’s how it is VERY RELEVANT. You have NO CLUE what you’re talking about. You don’t have a clue what the TYPICAL POWERLIFTER is, you only know ONE. I'm willing to bet your concept of "train like a powerlifter" is equally ignorant.

    Gee, I don’t know why anyone is interpreting what you said as an attack on powerlifters or bodybuilders…well, except for the part about them NOT BEING IN SHAPE AT ALL by your definition!! :rolleyes:

    Parting thought: I am a big fan of Bill Pearl. His Keys to the Universe is an awesome book. But my favorite part is probably the one that has nothing to do with lifting weights or bodybuilding – it’s titled “On Being a Champion” or something like that. It’s just a list of how to be a class act – and one of them is respecting the accomplishments of others and the efforts of others.
    It speaks volumes that you felt the need to slag off on powerlifters and bodybuilders to feel good about your own way of training or definition of in shape or whatever.
    So in all this intelligent thoughtful conversation, I hope people can find a way to define a positive for themselves that is not built on a negative on others.
    (Maybe you should take a little more from Ross Enamait – he’s a classy guy, and I’m not aware of him slagging on anyone. You might be surprised how many powerlifters read his stuff.)

    Parting thought the sequel: Bruce Lee believed in "adopt what is useful". I can talk to endurance cyclists and marathon runners about how they structure their training and have a pretty good time, and stimulate some good thinking. I respect what they do, they respect what I do, can I borrow or adapt any of their training concepts for what I do, can they borrow from me? So while someone may not want to be a bodybuilder or a powerlifter, they may borrow from the different training (and dietary) methods in order to achieve their larger goals.
     
  4. JoeSchmo

    JoeSchmo Well-Known Member

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    Actually, powerlifters would do very well in sprints because they require exactly what powerlifters have -- the ability to generate large forces over a short span of time.

    Also, you may be oversimplifying things a bit. Sure, powerlifting per se does not require a great deal of muscular endurance, but, to imply that strength athletes by default are want to climb a flight of stairs without a defibrillator handy is a bit of a stretch. Strongman competitors for example, have great endurance and most of us would be puking long before they would.
     
  5. JoeSchmo

    JoeSchmo Well-Known Member

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    Hell, Mariusz boxes for real. He also recently competed in an MMA event and won.
     
  6. Nathan

    Nathan Active Member

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    Yes indeed. Will be interesting if he ever fights Tim Sylvia or Brock Lesnar (UFC heavyweights, for the unfamiliar).

    I think this largely comes down to a mis-perception of the 'typical' power lifter. If you look only at the guys going for record numbers with no weight classes, they're monsters and carry loads of fat since bulking and power is the majority or entirety of their concern. For anyone else, AAPL, Olympic lifters, etc. you can't really find the blob-monster type lifters except at the largest weight classes, and even those big guys have capabilities to sprint or vertical leap like you wouldn't believe, and their work capacity/volume would leave most of us in the hospital.
     
  7. DFS

    DFS Well-Known Member

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    You are very angry...relax my friend. :)

    I do have a clue what I'm talking about, but thanks for your opinion on what I know based on a few passages of text I wrote. Of course I'm continually learning, as everyone should be, so there is certainly more to learn on my part. :)

    I'm entitled to have my own definition of an ambiguous phrase such as "in shape". You are entitled to vehemently disagree with that definition (as clearly you do). It is not an attack on power lifters or power lifting to say they don't fit my definition of "in shape". In fact, it's an opportunity to have discussion on the phrase, which was exactly my intent. :)

    Where did I not respect the accomplishments of others and the efforts of others? And where was it exactly that I was patting myself on the back for anything to make myself feel good? You are completely reading and interpreting things in my writing that are flat out not there. Also, ask yourself this...why is it many power lifters read Ross Enamait's stuff? I can tell you're intelligent (albeit angry) and will figure that one out on your own. :)

    Your final passage (Parting thought the sequel) is exactly what I've been saying the whole time!!! What exactly is the malfunction here causing your anger my good friend? :)

    I hope those were not indeed your parting thoughts. :)
     
    #27 DFS, Mar 17, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2010
  8. cajunman

    cajunman Well-Known Member

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    I'm entitled to have my own opinion on the somewhat vague question of whether or not you have a clue. You are entitled to vehemently disagree with that opinion. It is not an attack on you to say that I don’t think you have a fucking clue. In fact, it's an opportunity to have discussion on whether you indeed have any kind of clue, which was exactly my intent, as well as enabling you to engage in some continual learning. So tell me, how do powerlifters train exactly? What is your experience with the conditioning levels of powerlifters, or how do you come about the knowledge to comment on the conditioning levels of powerlifters?

    If your desire is to communicate your definition of what "in shape" is, here are three statements:
    1. This is my definition of in shape: blah blah blah. Period.
    2. This is my definition of in shape: blah blah blah. The athletes that most closely match my definition of in shape are blahblahs.
    3. This is my definition of in shape: blah blah blah. Oh, and I don’t think bodybuilders and powerlifters are in shape at all.

    Which one is the most positive? Which one the most negative? Why?

    Figure that out on your own. Like I said, it speaks volumes that you chose the option that expressly slags off a group, rather than one with a positive focus.

    To boot, you haven’t even provided any specifics to your definition of “in shape”. The only definition of “in shape” that you have offered is some nebulous “well balanced mix of maximal strength, explosive strength, speed strength, and strength endurance” and “a healthy and useful body”.
    What does that mean, exactly? Can you be a little more precise? Use your continual learning and intelligent thoughtfulness and start spelling shit out.
    I may as well say that my definition of “in shape” is a “proportional mix of strength, power, work capacity, and coordination in a functional form” and it is just as much meaningless babble.
    Even with that vague definition, I have a hard time grasping how bodybuilders and powerlifters completely fail - in the sense of not being in shape at all. It sure seems like you started out from the point of wishing to exclude bodybuilders and powerlifters from attaining your definition, rather than analyzed them as athletes after constructing your definition. (Why even analyze groups of athletes against your definition anyway? What purpose does it serve?)

    So what is your definition?

    I am not your friend. I am not your good friend. The only malfunction in this conversation is someone whose knowledge base is zero yet continues making broad brush pronouncements about groups of people whose training he doesn’t even understand. The only anger is the weary frustration of dealing with another yoyo who continues to assert that he has a clue and refuses to listen to those who know more about the subject. The only issue is someone looking to validate his preconceived notion that bodybuilders and powerlifters do not meet his ill-defined, poorly articulated, murky definition of “in shape” and does not want to learn anything.

    Maybe you should try some of that continual learning you claim to do, pull your head out of your 4th point of contact, and re-examine what you think you know and why you think you know it.

    So I close with the Zen wisdom of Patrick from Spongebob Squarepants: “Dumb people are always blissfully unaware of how dumb they really are...”
     
  9. Nowhereman

    Nowhereman Well-Known Member

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    I actually asked Alan Aragon this question not to long ago

    I think the benefits of powerlifting and bodybuidling are being overlooked. Doing these has its advantages such as; improvement in cardiovascular risk factors, improves heart function, reduces blood pressure, reuduces risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, prevents chronic diseases, improves bone strength.

    Those were benefits from just a few studies. I consider myself fit, I might not be able to run up a flight of stairs in a consitent manner, but I don't need to. I might not be able to win the Tour De France, but I don't care to, I might not be able run a marathon, but I have not desire to. I lift weigths off the ground, set them down, rinse and repeat, and for my lifestyle that is enough. My cholesteol has improved, BP too, and overall outlook on things. I am not putting these other forms of training down but they just don't suit my personality.

    One thing, I haven't seen (unless I missed it) yet is the impact of nutrition of fitness, which I think plays a part as well.

    I don't think anyone will agree 100% since there isn't a definition of fit, it changes depending on the context.
     
  10. DFS

    DFS Well-Known Member

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    I prayed for you this morning. Best wishes on your journey my friend. :tu:
     
  11. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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    Cajun, you're way over the line with that last post. You've gone past the point of disagreeing and are now being rude and hostile. I am asking you to please keep the conversation civil.
     
  12. BigDog

    BigDog Well-Known Member

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    The most interesting part of this dialogue (to me) is that it's a great reminder of what the human machine is capable of. We can add muscle, to increase strength. We can improve our cardiovascular capability by using it - in different ways. We can work on flexibility by stretching our muscles in different ways. Etc.

    The adaptability is extraordinary.

    The downside to adaptability is that it's hard to be great at everything - both philosophically, and physically.

    So, NBA players, who exhibit great endurance, balance, etc. in addition to basketball skills have many traits that could roll into tennis. But they would do badly at a strongman competition (possibly a few exceptions - but not many). At the same time, the strongman would probably do badly in the NBA - even if they had NBA level skills - not because they are lesser athletes, but because they have trained themselves to lift/move/pull heavy things, generally in a straight line. They are not well trained for movement and changes in direction or plane (jumping).

    That said, an average NBA player would kick my butt at a strongman competition, and the average strongman would probably be much more mobile than we give credit for. Why? Because it's almost impossible to train for one thing without benefitting another.

    The question that seems to be causing conflict is something along the lines if "Who is the better athlete, the power lifter, or the cross training athlete?. Assuming equal levels of accomplishment, and assuming that their training reflects their goals, then here's my answer: Both. Or Neither. It depends on what they want to do.

    My personal choice would be to be a little bit bigger; stronger; a lot leaner and more flexible than the "average" guy, while having great CV capability, balance, and kinesthetic sense. It's still vague, but you get the point. So, I've always used a blended program, and have added a TRX suspension trainer and crossfit workouts to my programs. They help me do what I want to do - or at least I think they do.

    But I have a ton of respect for powerlifters who eschew cardio (like Mastover) as well as people who are training for marathons. That's what they want to do, and I feel like I can learn from them, and appreciate their sharing their methods and opinions on the board. Their opinions are no less valid than mine - and frequently come from positions of greater expertise and knowledge - due to the fact that their goals are different.

    No matter what though, we should appreciate the flexibility that our human machines afford us, and we should know that there isn't one "right" or "wrong" answer.
     
    #32 BigDog, Mar 18, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2010
  13. cajunman

    cajunman Well-Known Member

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    Ok, pop quiz:

    Here are two national-level powerlifters:

    [​IMG]

    Someone who knows about powerlifters, please identify their weight class. Then offer an opinion as to whether they could "jog around the block without passing out".

    Listen, you are entitled to whatever definiton of fitness you want to set for you as an individual. You are entitled to reject whatever training methodology you feel does not suit that definition.

    But don't insult a sport based on your stereotype in your head. FACT: powerlfiting weight classes go (for men) from 115 lbs to unlimited (275+, some feds 308+). This is a bigger spread in terms of athlete size than what you see on the football field (that's American football for the Brits out there). Yet if I stereotyped all football players based on my mental image of an offensive lineman, and used that to try to back up the statement that all football players are not in shape at all and have poor conditioning, well, I think everyone can see the flaw there.

    Compare athletes of similar size to athletes of similar size. Apples to apples, oranges to oranges. A 300-lb athlete, in any sport, is not going to be turning cartwheels and backflips while running around the block. I seem to recall conditioning was one of the biggest criticisms of the heavyweights in Ultimate Fighter, and I think the MMA fanboys would be similarly offended if I used Roy Nelson as an example of MMA conditioning.

    Whatever. I have nothing more to say that can be kept civil, so I'm out of this conversation.
     
  14. George

    George Senior Member

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    Dunno about the guy on the right, but Mike T lifts in the 275 class. Dude is scary strong. :dreamy: I'm guessing he won't have much of a problem getting around the block. Does he do any conditioning/GPP? I'm only familiar with his program so far as what he posts on youtube.

    Unless they're Shane Hamman. :p
     
    #34 George, Mar 18, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2010
  15. cajunman

    cajunman Well-Known Member

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    George is our first winner, with the correct ID on 275-lb class Mike Tuchscherer. He does GPP. Mike's GPP article for Strength Athletes

    George gets extra credit for identifying an exception to backflipping 300-pounders. I will avoid claiming that Shane's ability to dunk or backflip as a 300+ lb dude is related to powerlifting, because let's face it, he is a freak.
     
    #35 cajunman, Mar 18, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2010
  16. Jaer

    Jaer Well-Known Member

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    BigDog, I think you've done well at bringing this back to the original question.

    It is impossible to train one thing without benefitting others. My lifting has helped my cardio. My squats help my sprints. It's all connected and that's wonderful.

    My definition of "in shape"--as in the visual I get in my head when asked to picture someone who is in shape--is someone with visible muscles, particular the abs (this does not mean a definite 6-pack, but visible ab muscles) and with some thickness/fullness to the muscle rather than just lack of body fat; super skinny run-way models are not in shape in my mind.

    My definition of "fit" is a bit different. For some reason, I base my opinion on fitness on a person's ability to do a variety of body-weight exercises (this is probably do to my gym classes throughout middle and high school and all the "fitness tests" that accompanied them). I don't have specific numbers in mind, but someone who can do a decent number of pull-ups and push-ups, do some short-term high-speed cardio (e.g., sprints), and manage a longer-distance slower-pace cardio endevour (e.g., a jog, a wilderness hike, bike ride, kayaking) is fit. They have the power and endurance to handle their body weight across different activities.

    People who can squat 600 lbs is strong, but they might not be, by my definitions, in shape or fit. But then again, they might be, and training to lift 600 lbs probably helped.

    Personally, I am neither in shape nor am I fit (again, by my definitions); I'm closer to fit then I am to in shape. I want to be both. Training to be in shape--dropping the bodyfat--will help me reach my definition of fitness: I currently can't do enough pull-ups for me to think of myself as fit, but when I drop the fat weight, even without increasing muscle or strength, I will be able to do more. No doubt my sprints and hikes will improve at a lower body weight as well.

    So while I train to get in shape, I am also helping meet my idea of fitness.

    Jaer
    is going to be in shape--and not a round shape!
     
  17. DFS

    DFS Well-Known Member

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    BigDog and Jaer...awesome contributions to the thread. I enjoyed reading what you wrote.

    I think I know cajun where we went wrong. I was talking about power lifters who train exclusively for power lifting (or anyone training exclusively for anything). You're talking about a completely different class of power lifter, people who use both GPP and SPP. Those dudes are "in ridiculous shape" by my definition and probably by most peoples definition. But I hope you can concede that there does exist a group of power lifters (majority or minority, I simply don't know) who train exclusively for power lifting, and such people would not fit the typical definition of "in shape".
     
  18. JoeSchmo

    JoeSchmo Well-Known Member

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    :nod:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoCZne0g-e8

    (Can't embed....sorry)


    Strongmen too. Those guys have incredible endurance .... and many of the events require them to exert MAXIMAL force for a couple of minutes or longer. By those standards, shadow boxing for 3 rounds would seem like a walk in the park.
     
  19. mastover

    mastover Well-Known Member

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    I definitely disagree with this. Although I began as a competitive powerlifter, I train exclusively for drug tested bodybuilding competitions. Nothing else. But the carryover effect cannot be denied. If it weren't for me being "in shape" from my training, I, along with a few oncologists and holistic practitioners, have come to the conclusion that recovering from cancer twice, and a host of other neurological maladies, would've been a pipe dream.

    And in upholding John's request for keeping things civil, I'll offer no other opinions.
     
  20. gazareth

    gazareth Senior Member

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    I train "exclusively" for powerlifting. I'm not in "great" shape but I sure as hell wouldn't puke my lungs up if you asked me to do some hill sprints. "Training like a powerlifter" doesn't necessarily mean being a fat bastard doing endless singles with near-maximal weight and low volume. Sure, many SHWs such as those you see in Westside videos are fat and not much good at anything except moving big weights through limited ROM in ridiculously freakish powerlifting gear, but the vast majority I know are pretty damn conditioned.

    I invite you to come train with us at my gym, amongst 10-12 guys who train "exclusively" for powerlifting, and see how you deal with one of our "3 lift" days :nod:
     

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