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Neptune

The Effect Of Size Vs Strength

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The bigger you are, the stronger you'll be. That's not up for discussion.

What I was wondering was exactly how true does this law hold? Could I get as strong as the big guys given enough years of training? Being 6'0, 150lbs and struggling to gain weight, I wondered if my strength would ever increase or if my size is limiting me indefinitely.

I took some data points. I asked IS members for the circumference of their arm around the humerus, and their max bench press. Obviously there are more muscles involved than just those around the humerus in the lift, but it works to get a general idea of the lifter's size.

Note that there is a lack of data points, but hopefully I can increase the accuracy of this test with more participation.

Plotting the data we have so far we get:

Rf7eFeg.png

I found the exponential curve fit a little better than the linear curve. The R value of .927 tells us that the data is fairly clustered together. I'd imagine the reason the graph is exponential is because circumference is derived from the cross sectional area of your arm. This makes sense because it's the actual mass of your arm doing the lifting and not your skin.

If we take the data and plot max bench vs cross sectional area, we get:

AtkTGRG.png

This time a linear model fit best, just as suspected.

What can we take away from this little experiment?

To get the obvious out of the way, if you're a small guy, chances are you won't have a big bench. And since the data points are for (arguably) average lifters, and not pro-PLers, it can give you an idea of where you need to be in terms of size to achieve a certain goal.

Hopefully I can get more data points and come up with a reliable equation for every lift. I think that would be quite interesting.

Discuss.

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Was the circumference measured relaxed or flexed?

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the other thing that's interesting about this graph (if formula is true) is that if you're a certain size and fall below the curve, it means you're likely a lazy ass and haven't worked hard enough to achieve "average potential." Could be enlightening when evaluating certain lifts you might be avoiding.

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Now do the same for thigh circumference and squat numbers! :D

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Thanks for the heads up imissed this thread.

Problem with the size v strength argument is fat doesn't lift weights. High bodyfat will give a larger measurement which will skewer results.

However, the take home point is still the same, the more muscle the more "potential" to lift heavier weights without much complexity in your training.

IMO the less muscle the more you'll have to think about programming to match a naturally bigger lifter.

I have a friend, under 75kg, built like a barbell, with a bigger raw squat than me of 231kg. The difference is I got there with simple linear progression, he had to use Westside principles with a knowledgable world class coach and powerlifting team.

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the other thing that's interesting about this graph (if formula is true) is that if you're a certain size and fall below the curve, it means you're likely a lazy ass and haven't worked hard enough to achieve "average potential." Could be enlightening when evaluating certain lifts you might be avoiding.

a bit of a misguided statement in my opinion, too many variables to assume someone's being lazy because they don't match the statistics

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