muscle strength proportion and ratios

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Mcteague
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muscle strength proportion and ratios

Post by Mcteague » Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:10 am

In the testing weight training section there is a chart that describes basic strength standards for five lifts for persons ranging from untrained to elite athlete. I am also aware of "ideal" proportion charts. Which I have seen on the web.
Are there any references that describe the proportionate strength standards of all the muscle groups of the body in a generally fit person?
What I mean is; for example a person who could curl 150lbs but only squat 10lbs would be way out of proportion in their muscular strength.
(kind of funny to imagine what this guy looks like)

I would think that there is in exercise science some basic standard of proportion for all of the muscle groups. So if ones ideal weight is used as a basis we can know how much that person should be expected to be able to Press, squat, curl, etc for all muscle groups in a ratio to that approximate correct body weight

It seems to me that knowing those general proportional standards would be a better way of establishing proper lift load for training especially for the beginner like myself than working from 1 rep max. Which I think is more appropriate for the already fit or athletic person.
I would really like to know how strong each muscle should be in proportion to each other in a generally fit person. Not necessarily someone who is specializing in a particular activity. Just someone who is generally athletically fit. Of course I know that some adjustments might need to be made. But I am interested just as a general guideline

I have not found this information. It would surprise me if this was not something that people in sports and exercise science did not know. Any help or references are appreciated. Thank you


jml
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Post by jml » Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:31 am

http://www.tmuscle.com/readArticle.do?id=1823834
Don't worry a lot about ratios.

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Post by Mcteague » Mon Jun 14, 2010 10:43 am

jml wrote:http://www.tmuscle.com/readArticle.do?id=1823834
Don't worry a lot about ratios.
I am not worried. But as an adult beginner trying to lose weight and get in shape I have observed some things at the gym.

1. Most men over train their arms and chest. It is practically all I see most people working on.
2. Most people use very poor technique. Using most of their body weight to do things like lat pull downs and cable crunches so they can think they can lift hundreds of pounds.
3. If you walk past most beginner male adults and glance at how much weight they are lifting you will see a look of shame in their eyes. A lot of people using machines will put it on a higher weight when they finish so people will not know how weak they are.

My interest in approximate muscle strength proportions is just for a basic guideline. I would like to know how, theoretically, the muscles of a fit person work together. I also want to use it as a basis for determining approximate workout loads.
I think it is a mistake for beginners and novices to work based on 1 rep max numbers. First it is easy to injure yourself when you are not in shape. Second it is not always easy for beginners to figure out. Third often people have naturally stronger or weaker body parts. For example I am 6'5" I rarely have to lift things over my head. So my shoulders are a little weaker than a shorter persons might be. It is something I need to work on. But my back is pretty strong. I think it makes more sense to try to work all the muscles in way that might increase those differences.
It seems better to me to look at what the persons approximate correct body weight should be, and then to begin working each body part in accordance to a predetermined ratio of expected strength proportions. You would adjust for sex, age, general level of physical activity, and bone size.
This seems to me to be a better method of obtaining general fitness than working from 1 rep max. Remember that I a discussing people in their first year of training. I seems to me that you before you can be athletic you have to be fit and before that healthy. People might specialize, like for specific sports later. But my goal, and I think a correct one for beginner,s is a balanced fit body. Knowing the approximate strength ratio proportions would be a useful tool toward that end.

(Disclaimer) I am a complete beginner at fitness and exercise. So no one should listen to anything I say or write and think I know what I am talking about. I like this site very much and find it very helpful. All my posts will be questions not answers, There seem to be experts here. Listen to them not to me. Everything I write might be completely wrong, and probably is

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Post by stuward » Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:25 am

If you're a beginner, it doesn't matter what you prioritize, you need to work on everything. Pick any general beginner balanced program and you will make progress. However, the following may be helpful.

A person's posture tells you a lot about how imbalanced a person's program is. If his shoulders are back, head is erect and his arms hang straight at the side, he probably has a balanced program. If he's hunched over and you see the backs of his hands when viewed from the front, it's a good bet he can use more rowing and less benching. In your case, if your posture is good and you have no glaring mobility issues or injuries, you're probably balanced enough to do a balanced program.
I think it makes more sense to try to work all the muscles in way that might increase those differences.
This seems backwards to me. You should be trying to reduce the differences. Priority should go to your weaknesses.

Use the standards chart and pick the "Novice" Column since you say "I am a complete beginner at fitness and exercise. " Therefore in a few months you should be a novice so this should be your short term goal. You may be closer in some lifts than others. Maybe you are already past Novice in some. Your priority should be on the lifts you're weakest at. However, until you have trained each lift for a few months, you really don't know which lift you are truly weak on. Do a balanced program and assess in a few months.

This seems to me to be a better method of obtaining general fitness than working from 1 rep max.
1RM numbers can be estimated from higher rep attempts. There's a calculator on this site. 1RM is a handy shorthand for comparisons but you're right, you shouldn't really attempt one as a beginner.

Edit: You ask about muscle strength balance. It's really irrelevant. Muscles provide the force that drives the movements. Measuring your strength in the basic movements is more relevant since weaknesses in a movement is what matters. If your bench is significantly different than your clean, you are imbalanced. You still don't know what specific muscle is weak but by working more on the weak movement, you will strengthen that weak muscle.
Last edited by stuward on Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by ApolytonGP » Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:30 am

This site has a 1RM calculator. Unless you are PLing, or sorta PLing, actual one 1RM attempts are not "needed". Sure, do them, if it's fun for you and you are willing to take the risk. But there is no need to ever do one, for the majority of fitness oriented, "want to look better naked" people. Just do your working sets and add weight weekly (or whatever rapidity makes sense to you).

If you want balance ratios, just take the numbers, here (there is a table of ratings) for the good, advanced, etc. and just make ratios by dividing. I don't know that I would get too excited about being "perfectly" aligned to those ratios, as it's not unusual for people to have good and bad lifts, or even for that to change over time, with some training. But it could be a good discussion topic. Run the numbers and come back and tell us what the results are. Then we can chat out what it means.


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Post by Mcteague » Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:19 pm

Thanks for the replies. By the way I meant decreases those differences or does not increase. What I wrote was a typo
thanks again for the advice and information

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Post by Matt Z » Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:35 pm

"I would think that there is in exercise science some basic standard of proportion for all of the muscle groups. So if ones ideal weight is used as a basis we can know how much that person should be expected to be able to Press, squat, curl, etc for all muscle groups in a ratio to that approximate correct body weight" - Mcteague

First you should understand that the idea of an ideal weight is a flawed concept. Height-weight charts aren't really designed for people who weight train, and many lean, muscular atheletes weigh much more than the charts say they should.

Secondly, theres tremedous variation in pound-for-pound strength. For example, two men of similar height, weight, bodytype and body-composition can be vastly different in terms of how much they can actually lift ... even with similar experience levels and training methods.

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Post by Matt Z » Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:46 pm

PS) Bodytype is important by the way. For example, lifters with proportionally short arms and legs have an advantage in lifts like the squat and bench press.

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Post by Mcteague » Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:48 pm

I have noticed the problem with the correct body weight charts. A few weeks ago I was watching the Superman movie. Lois Lane asked his proportions. He said 6'4 about 225 lbs. She seemed pretty interested, even excited. But according to the bmi chart Superman is a fat ass. So I know enough not to take those guidelines to seriously. I am 6'5 and just came down to 290 from 320. When I get to 225 I expect to look pretty hot. In fact I may give Lois a call.

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Post by stuward » Mon Jun 14, 2010 5:03 pm

You know of course that BMI doesn't take into account body composition so is useless for comparing individuals. It's of some use in comparing populations as body compositions average out over large numbers. Of course our policy makers and medical community haven't quite grasped that concept yet.

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Post by ApolytonGP » Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:51 pm

BMI is close to useless. That said, a lot of fatties who think they are Arnold underneath the fat are kidding themselves. Bet you look hot at 210. :wink:


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