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Friday, October 26, 2007

What Are Decent Weights?

Continuing on from the previous installment, technique on the 'big 3' - squat, bench and deadlift is paramount but of course there is the small matter of how much weight you should be aspiring to lift. The truth is that on these major lifts you CAN and with application WILL lift much more weight than you ever imagined.

Despite all the advances at the cutting edge, the state of the average modern gym trainee is actually often a step backwards from fifty years ago or even a hundred years ago. Granted back then, far less people trained, however the average results in terms of strength, power and muscular development of those that trained would be impressive by today's standards. These days we can often get too fancy and forget that effort and dedication will see us further than the latest wonder supplement. The reason it is useful for us to look so far back is for some sort of benchmark that we can use to gauge what is a 'decent' weight in our own training. Whilst powe! r lifting informs our technique, it is a highly specialised sport that more often than not uses special support equipment to maximise lifts. As such it is not the best benchmark for what the average all around trainee who may engage in a number of other physical activities or sports and have different goals - notably physique orientated as opposed to piling the most weight possible on the bar.

By going back at least 50 years, we are also comparing ourselves to trainees in a time where sports technology was far less advanced and thus a better measure of what should be eminently achievable with effort alone. In fact with the technological advantages available to us now, the various benchmarks are a VERY realistic target indeed. In 1939 Bob Hoffman a pioneer in weight training devised a set of standards for excellent (Gold) very good (Silver) and good lifts (Bronze) in dozens of exercises. These were set for ANY average all round trainee to achieve, not a lifting special! ist. Whilst the list is very extensive and adjusts for various! body we ights, the Gold standard for the squat in general is a little over double body weight, the bench press around one and a half times body weight and the deadlift around two and a half times body weight.

In the power lifting world these are not huge numbers but you will rarely see these sorts of numbers being put up by guys in the gym. The few guys that do will have the physiques to show for it. The critical thing though is this: The reason the average trainee doesn't is not because they CAN'T. It's because they've never been told that they CAN - or for that matter...never correctly shown how! But don't be alarmed...Ultimate Body Success will inspire you so you can and show you exactly how as well.

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