Andrew: “exercise scientists as well as practitioners in the field have been using one rep maxes on big lifts to determine overall strength for years and my understanding is that this measure is pretty reliable and accurate. i’m sure there are studies to back this up although I’m afraid I can’t point you to a specific one. do you have a better way to test overall strength?”
Charlotte’s Note: I think I understand where we are missing each other now. The one-rep max does make sense as an objective way of comparing one’s strength to someone else’s, like in a competitive setting. For me, I measure only against myself (well, and sometimes Gym Buddy Allison but she always beats me…). I measure increased strength by what I can do – like I know I’ve gotten stronger when I can climb a 5.10 rock wall instead of a 5.9 Or if I can do my favorite hike in a shorter amount of time than before.
Lucas: “Many people seem to think that lifting weights is lifting weights is lifting weights. That’s not the case. … each protocol can be sorted into 1 of 2 general categories: Strength Training and Bodybuilding.”
“To understand these categories, we must understand the goals of each. In Strength Training, the goal is to get stronger. To put it more precisely, the goal is to increase the amount of weight that you can lift for a single repetition. This is achieved by increasing the power production capacity of muscle fibers and by improving the ability of the nervous system to recruit those fibers.In Bodybuilding, the goal is to increase the visible amount of muscle on your body. This is achieved via hypertrophy (the process by which the body creates new muscle cells and/or increases the size of existing ones) and by reducing body fat.There is some overlap in these two goals. In the process of building strength, you will begin to appear more muscular. In the process of building muscle, you will start to get stronger. But the two are not the same.”
Charlotte’s Note: I was totally confusing the two in my last post. And Lucas is exactly right (and I think this is what Andrew was trying to tell me as well). Thanks for clearing that up for me, guys!! PS> I’ve added Lucas’ blog to my blogroll – definitely check it out, he’s a smart cookie!
Gee, this feels like revealing my body stats on a mating & dating site!! *blush* (I’m a 42-19-36, in case you are wondering… oh, wait, that’s Barbie. Nevermind.) Here are mine & Allison’s one-rep max numbers and our categories according to Rippetoe (keep in mind that we are in different weight/height categories so Allison had to lift more weight to achieve her level):
Charlotte – 155lbs (Intermediate)
Allison – 185lbs (Intermediate)
Charlotte – 70lbs (exactly halfway between intermediate & advanced)
Allison – 72lbs (intermediate)
Charlotte – 90lbs (intermediate)
Allison – 105lbs (intermediate)
Charlotte & Allison – 225lbs (Elite is only 199)
*I’m confused on this one. It seems wrong to me that we’d be past elite on this one exercise. Maybe we were doing it wrong. We did have a personal trainer from our gym checking our form & he said we were fine. Maybe we are crazy strong in the legs. Or maybe we did something wrong. (And no we weren’t using a machine) Hmmph.
Charlotte – 65lbs (novice), 95lbs (between intermediate and advanced)
Allison – 85lbs (novice), 115lbs (between intermediate and advanced)
*This one we did just dismally on. The first weight listed is what we did freestanding, with a weighted bar. We were so bummed that we didn’t even really make novice that we moved to the Smith machine and tried again. Those are the second numbers. Although I do realize using the Smith machine was cheating as, while you are still lifting the weight, the machine stabilizes the bar for you, thus making it easier.
I am not a novice!! (except in the power clean). I am pretty consistently “intermediate”, which I’m very happy with. While this is just one way to measure strength, I have to say this was a LOT of fun. Plus we had a lot of spectators at our gym: giving us tips, encouraging us, checking our form and it just generally turned into a big party – fun for everyone! Thanks for the idea, Andrew!
Everyone should try this – although I will add: you definitely need a spotter. No excuses!! Don’t try and do this one on your own. Enjoy!
PS> All of this really makes me miss Becky. GIRL – if you are reading this, you must try this and post your numbers. Just so I can say I know an elite power lifter:)