Form vrs. Function

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If you could have only one, which would you choose?

Peak fitness/athletic performance with moderately good looks.
12
63%
Your ideal physical appearance with moderately good fitness/athletic performance.
7
37%
 
Total votes: 19

Matt Z
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Post by Matt Z » Thu Apr 05, 2007 11:19 am

Among average gym rats, most seem to spend a lot more time and effort on the bench press then they do on other lifts like the squat and deadlift (if they perform these lifts at all). Also, the guy Ironman is describing may have been benching for years and only started deadlifting comparatively recently.

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Post by Ryan A » Thu Apr 05, 2007 1:36 pm

Ive seen it written several places that the reason smaller guys deadlift more and squat less relative the bigger guys is how the leverage changes as the weight increases and the height/girth of the lifter increases. Basically, the bigger guys can get more poundage out of the squat by getting wider around the midsection giving them more compressive support than by staying leaner around the midsection to give them better leverage in the deadlift. When their stomachs get larger, they become worse at deadlifting in general. There are always exceptions due to rare limb ratios and such but this is the general trend. That is why there are the 400 lb guys that can squat 1200+ lbs but cant deadlift as much as the 300 lb guys.

I was going to comment on something else too while I am here. A lot of people are saying that powerlifters look like monsters and while this may be true for the high end weight classes, it definitely isnt true for the lower classes.

I also find it interesting that so many people are focusing on powerlifters as "functional" bodytypes. In my opinion, neither group has much function outside the weightroom and I would much rather have both the physique and function of a pro defensive back or basketball player or better yet a decathlete than any of these weight guys. Most of these guys have incredibly healthy physiques that are extremely natural looking and are very functional. There is a lot of function that goes on outside the weightroom and most of sports success is based on that function first, and then the function gained from lifting weights becomes important.

I guess my point here is, for a truly functional body, it is hard not to have a great looking physique (and this is mostly genetics at this point as to HOW good it is), and so I really find it hard to distinguish between the two. If you train to have a great functional physique, the rest should follow to a reasonable degree. IE Pro athletes have low body fat etc.

There is my final 2 cents.

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Post by Ironman » Thu Apr 05, 2007 2:20 pm

Well my abs are fairly large and strong compared to other people my size. It is mostly due to the way I train abs and the exercises I use. I may throw in the odd machine here and there for some certain kinds of training. But for 90% of my training, I do cable pulldowns and standing claf, all the rest are db or bb. I also do most lifts standing. I only do presses on benches.
I am weak for my size though since I am a bodybuilder. Here are my 1 rep maxes.
bench 235, squat 275 and deadlift 325 pronated, no straps. My grip was starting to give as I got it back to the floor. I could probably deadlift a bit more with a mixed grip and even more with straps. I would guess in the 340 to 370 range.

The funny thing is I don't really do the standard deadlift much. (normal stance, normal grip, 45's). I mostly do romainian and sumo loaded with 25's and smaller.

I do all lifting in Nike airs with thick cushy soles. I know a lot of power lifters deadlift without shoes on. It's only an inch though.

I would think that would be normal because bench uses much weaker muscles and with squats you have your body weight in addition to the bar, where as deadlift you just pull it off the floor. Off course I do the lift properly with my butt and most people have way to much lower back in it.

So does that seem normal or are my ratios kind of odd?

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Post by hoosegow » Thu Apr 05, 2007 2:49 pm

I don't ever do 1 rep maxes Ironman, but here is my 3x7 numbers for squats (deadlifts lag just behind by being able to do a 4X6 at the same weight) and bench - 375 - 285 which would put my bench at 76% of my squat. Your's are at 85.5 %. I don't know if that helps, but it is a comparison. Anybody else?

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Post by Matt Z » Thu Apr 05, 2007 5:40 pm

"I also find it interesting that so many people are focusing on powerlifters as "functional" bodytypes. In my opinion, neither group has much function outside the weightroom and I would much rather have both the physique and function of a pro defensive back or basketball player or better yet a decathlete than any of these weight guys. Most of these guys have incredibly healthy physiques that are extremely natural looking and are very functional. There is a lot of function that goes on outside the weightroom and most of sports success is based on that function first, and then the function gained from lifting weights becomes important." - Ryan A

I never said that powerlifters were versitile, all-around atheletes, only that they train primarally for performance (ie function), while bodybuilders train primarally for aestetics (ie form). Performance can take many forms (strength, speed, endurance, agility, etc), and most sports require a combination of several of these qualities, plus various sport-specific skills.
Last edited by Matt Z on Thu Apr 05, 2007 5:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Matt Z » Thu Apr 05, 2007 5:51 pm

Of course, that's not to say that powerlifters and other strength atheletes are all slow, clumbsy, muscle bound and out of shape. Some may be, but most are surprisingly quick, agile, flexable, and well conditioned. Meanwhile, there's no reason a person can't maintain a relatively high level of general, all-around fitness while specializing in one area like strength or endurance (which is what I'm trying to do).

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Post by Ryan A » Thu Apr 05, 2007 9:17 pm

i wasnt specifically talking about your responses matt. It just seemed like in general people were thinking of powerlfters as the defintion of functional, which I think is a bit from the truth. I also believe the poll asks what you could have, not how you would get it. It seems like the poll became, do you LIFT for looks or function, even though lifting was never mentioned. So I just wanted to mention that I would choose to be no type of lifter because none of them are very functional, save for perhaps a few individuals.

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Post by Matt Z » Fri Apr 06, 2007 6:09 am

I guess that depends on one's understanding of what it means to be functional. The last thing I want to do is turn this into argument about which sport produces the most functional/versitile/well-rounded atheletes, as any answer given would be biased towards the physical atributes/skills which one values most.

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Post by TimD » Fri Apr 06, 2007 7:31 am

Good point Matt. I think I put in a description early on as to what I thought was functional - FOR ME-and that included keeping my jalopies posterior chain and shoulder girdle operational, i.e mobility, bending down, picking stuff up off the floor lifting it onto shelves, etc, etc. Functionality will differ for individual's varying needs, or for their sports. Let's face it, soccer players have much different goals in terms of functionality than powerlifters, or gymnasts. It's all relative.
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Post by hoosegow » Fri Apr 06, 2007 7:50 am

I hope you didn't take offense to that statement, Tim. I had a smile on my face when I wrote it.

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Post by TimD » Fri Apr 06, 2007 9:08 am

LOL, absolutely not Hoosegow. In fact, I loved it. I thought it was a great analogy, and it shows how's people's focus' can change due to time, age, etc.
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Post by Matt Z » Fri Apr 06, 2007 9:34 am

Perhaps I should have entitled this thread Aestetics vrs Performance. That might have clarified things somewhat.

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Post by Ironman » Fri Apr 06, 2007 1:12 pm

That's ok, it's been a good thread anyway.

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Post by Matt Z » Fri Apr 06, 2007 6:01 pm

The funny thing is that switching from bodybuilding type training to strength training hasn't had any effect on my appearance. The only noticable difference is that I've gotten signifigantly stronger.

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Post by Ironman » Sat Apr 07, 2007 4:27 am

All you have to do to keep muscle gains is eat right and do some kind of weight lifting. That's why. It doesn't take much to stay the same.

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