Is A Large Mid Section An Aide For Olympic Lifters?

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Is A Large Mid Section An Aide For Olympic Lifters?

Postby beforewisdom » Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:44 pm

A billion years ago in college I used to lift and hang out with the campus weight lifting club. Most of them where strength althletes: power lifters or olympic lifters. I saw several guys start off slim and then get huge midsections as they progressed. They told me a huge midsection was an asset in olympic lifting as it helped provide momentum during the clean and jerk phase.

Is this true or is it folklore?

It didn't explain powerlifters. These were college guys and I think it was a macho thing mixed with some superstition to eat as much as they could stand while training heavy and that is what it is about for them. For other strength athletes I think it is a mixture of not being able to put on muscle without gaining a little bit of fat and not particularly caring if they gain weight.

What do others think?

Is it possible to do strength training, seriously, without getting a big mid-section?

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Re: Is A Large Mid Section An Aide For Olympic Lifters?

Postby baldy » Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:49 pm

Depends on the weight class. A powerbelly (refereed to as excess soft tissue mass in olympic lifting) certainly doesn't cause any problems or limit the lifter. You very rarely see it on any lifter other than the super heavyweight 110+kg class.

Are you having a little think about getting back into lifting?
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Re: Is A Large Mid Section An Aide For Olympic Lifters?

Postby Talyn » Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:57 pm

I would think that for any weight class other than the open class (eg, superheavyweight), additional fat mass would only hinder you; as in it would make you less competitive as a weightlifter or powerlifter.

From a purely non-competitve viewpoint, eg would it help you physically... I don't think it would matter either way. Maybe it would for benching, because the ROM would be much less, but it's marginal.
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Re: Is A Large Mid Section An Aide For Olympic Lifters?

Postby beforewisdom » Mon Jan 09, 2012 4:02 pm

baldy wrote:Depends on the weight class. A powerbelly (refereed to as excess soft tissue mass in olympic lifting) certainly doesn't cause any problems or limit the lifter. You very rarely see it on any lifter other than the super heavyweight 110+kg class.

Are you having a little think about getting back into lifting?


Possibly, but only at a preliminary level.

My other concern is injuries. Old ones I want to stay un-re-injured. I remember, at least back in the day, that strength training involved doing heavier and fewer reps. That sounds like an increased risk of irritating things. I know must athletes beyond a certain point live with pain and injuries. I'm trying to decide if I want to risk that.

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Re: Is A Large Mid Section An Aide For Olympic Lifters?

Postby beforewisdom » Mon Jan 09, 2012 4:03 pm

Talyn wrote:I would think that for any weight class other than the open class (eg, superheavyweight), additional fat mass would only hinder you; as in it would make you less competitive as a weightlifter or powerlifter.

From a purely non-competitve viewpoint, eg would it help you physically... I don't think it would matter either way. Maybe it would for benching, because the ROM would be much less, but it's marginal.


So it is probably just the subculture of eating/drinking heartily, along with it being unavoidable of gaining fat with muscle?

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Re: Is A Large Mid Section An Aide For Olympic Lifters?

Postby ninearms » Mon Jan 09, 2012 4:39 pm

beforewisdom wrote:I remember, at least back in the day, that strength training involved doing heavier and fewer reps.


It usually does, but it doesn't have to. Jim Wendler's 531 program is one way which uses higher reps to build strength, but straightforward 3 sets of 8-10 will work wonders for beginners and people coming back after a lay off. Have a look at Sosso's recent log, or mine from about a year ago, to see that you can get stronger whilst still using higher rep ranges. In fact, for someone making a return to lifting that's what I would recommend anyway.

As far as the original question goes, it's usually just an excuse for being fat. Yes, a wider trunk will allow more weight to be moved, but in a weight class sport having that extra width made of muscle will do you more good than just being a fatty, especially as having a fat belly usually means you have fat legs, fat arms, etc, and fat legs aren't much use for a weightlifter.
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Re: Is A Large Mid Section An Aide For Olympic Lifters?

Postby Talyn » Mon Jan 09, 2012 4:56 pm

beforewisdom wrote:So it is probably just the subculture of eating/drinking heartily, along with it being unavoidable of gaining fat with muscle?


Pretty much yes. The image most people conjure of a powerlifter is some big fat guy, mostly because all the really good ones lift in the open bodyweight classes.

Some trainers work under the philosophy that you will always gain fat whilst gaining muscle, so just embrace it and eat as much as possible and get really big and strong (for example anything Mark Rippetoe has to say about nutrition). But this isn't totally necessary, it is just easier/quicker for the most part as it requires little control of ones diet. But once you start thinking about lifting in competitions with a weight restriction, you will be very grateful if you are as strong as possible (as in lower bodyfat) for your weight class.
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Re: Is A Large Mid Section An Aide For Olympic Lifters?

Postby ninearms » Mon Jan 09, 2012 5:06 pm

Image

Some fat weightlifters yesterday.
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Re: Is A Large Mid Section An Aide For Olympic Lifters?

Postby JP » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:52 pm

no fat weightlifters in my gym!

Though very few abs either...

about injuries, training strength recreationally, or for personal satisfaction or for some other sport does not and should not lead to any injuries, and you can make sure (as far as its possible in any sport) that it wont happen.

But taking strength sports seriously injuries will be part of the game, and it becomes a game of minimising them and finding ways to work around them, prehab/rehab and coping with them.
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Re: Is A Large Mid Section An Aide For Olympic Lifters?

Postby Mellos » Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:31 pm

Whether it´s a good idea to have a little extra fat or not depends on many factors (like weightclass, natural or not, genetics etc.).
But there are also chubby guys in the middle weightclasses.
Usually they wouldn´t be really obese but Martirosyan (spelled correctly?) carries a few extra pounds and still became world champion in the 77 kg class while his rival Lu Xiaojun could enter a bodybuilding comp any given day.

Also there is one guy in my lifting club who used to weigh 7 kg more (he was really fat) and produce about 80-90 relative points. Saturday, weighing 81 kg, he could only achieve 60 pts I believe. His weight loss may not be the only reason for that but still I´d say that it didn´t do him much good.
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Re: Is A Large Mid Section An Aide For Olympic Lifters?

Postby ninearms » Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:57 pm

Martirosyan chubby???

Image

At the top level there are pretty much zero chubby lifters lighter than 105kg, and most 105s are jacked. Even Aramnau is leaner than his big fat face and puffy hair initially suggest, and he's only 5'8".

Image

BW generally affects the C&J more than the snatch, hence why you can have guys like Rybakou or Blagoev who'd outsnatch most lifters in the 3 classes above them, or guys like Ihor Shymechko, who is one of the best SHW snatchers, but his C&J lags behind because he is about 9ft tall and very lean for a super.
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Re: Is A Large Mid Section An Aide For Olympic Lifters?

Postby Mellos » Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:31 am

Last year Martirosyan had a little powerbelly ;)
See 14:08 (I remembered it to be a little bigger though)
Current PBs:
195 kg SQ, 130 kg Bench, 245 kg DL, 200 kg SQ w/ wraps

Long Term Goals:
@ 75 kg: SQ - 252,5 kg, SQ w/ Wraps - 267,5 kg, DL - 307,5 kg, Total (w/ and w/o Wraps) - 710
@ 82,5 kg: SQ - 275 kg, SQ w/ Wraps - 277,5 kg, Total (w/ and w/o Wraps) - 772,5 kg

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