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TOPIC: Lifting heavy – good long term?

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October 9, 2012 4:53 AM
Not another weight lifting question - well no, not really I hope.

I’m a lapsed heavy lifter from twenty years back, my lean muscle is now covered by two stone of fat excess and I am coming back to strength training but using mostly bodyweight movements, which I prefer.

My preference is because I have seen a lot of friends destroy their joints, particularly knees, shoulders and elbows, in the name of strength and I feel like it is just not worth looking good if you are going to head for so much pain long term.

Better surely is to aim for say three or four sets of 8 – 10 and perform them slowly and strictly than to perform heavy sets of five? Even if they are strict sets, you are still subjecting your joints to incredible force, particularly when you rep out at the end of the movement and the weight is momentarily bone stacked.

I know I am going to be shot down for such a sacrilegious view but I felt I wanted to post this just to say you don’t have to aim for massive weights and low reps if you don’t want the lifter’s physique – you can build a significant amount of strength in muscles and around joints and use mainly bodyweight exercises at more conservative numbers of sets and reps.
October 9, 2012 5:32 AM
Overload is overload. Though I wonder if a lot of liter's later problems aren't due primarily to stupid exercises like upright rows.
October 9, 2012 5:43 AM
Yes, upright rows put the elbows in a stupid position for their own good! I do use bent over rowing and I'm working on negative chin-ups - my love hate relationship with bodyweight exercises; being two stone overweight chin ups are impossible - can't rep out even one!
October 9, 2012 5:47 AM
Simple answer - whatever works for you. There isn't a best way.
  15809555
October 9, 2012 5:57 AM
I have been lifting heavy for over 10 years and, if done properly (not locking out joints, moving slowly and CONTROLLING the weight) you really should not have any problems. My joint issues are years of repetitive abuse through sports and not knowing any different while I was in grade school and high school. Now that I am in the fitness industry and have recognized that I have limitations, my training has changed and my form is way more important than how much weight I lift.

I like how it feels to lift heavy and the benefits that I see. When I am training my clients, I tell them not to lift "barbie doll" weights. A "stress" on the muscle is needed to make a change to the shape of the muscle. When I am training, if I can do more than 10 reps, I am increasing my weights. But obviously, you need to listen to your body. I do chest presses with 40 pound dumbbells, tried increasing to 45 and realized that I can't handle that at this point. So I do drop sets or super sets instead (for now). In about 2 weeks, I will make an attempt to do 45 pounds again.

Good luck!
  19504851
October 9, 2012 5:58 AM
oh- and current research says that there is not a drastic difference in muscle strength/size when going from 2 to 3 sets or 3 to 4 sets.
  19504851
October 9, 2012 6:18 AM
"oh- and current research says that there is not a drastic difference in muscle strength/size when going from 2 to 3 sets or 3 to 4 sets. "

That's interesting - it seems to suggest that it is best to stimulate growth by lifting heavy in a short time rather than blasting the muscle with a long session of sets. That would actually put the joints under less stress overall - so long as you warm up first of course.

thanks and good luck with those 45 pounders!
October 9, 2012 7:51 AM
I've lifted pretty heavy for the better part of 20 years and have only had one gym related injury. Tore my pec benching. All my other injuries have been running/sports related. Several knee surgeries, torn achilles, plantar.....

You can get injured doing anything. From lifting, to yoga, to getting up off the couch, to walking across the street. I think the key is do everything as best you can and not worry about it. My aim is to be sensible and safe, but never to be scared of what *may* happen.
October 9, 2012 8:23 AM
QUOTE:

"oh- and current research says that there is not a drastic difference in muscle strength/size when going from 2 to 3 sets or 3 to 4 sets. "



Depends if you can up the intensity. A couple of balls to the walls sets is different fannying around for a couple of sets...
  15809555
October 9, 2012 8:34 AM
QUOTE:

I've lifted pretty heavy for the better part of 20 years and have only had one gym related injury. Tore my pec benching. All my other injuries have been running/sports related. Several knee surgeries, torn achilles, plantar.....

You can get injured doing anything. From lifting, to yoga, to getting up off the couch, to walking across the street. I think the key is do everything as best you can and not worry about it. My aim is to be sensible and safe, but never to be scared of what *may* happen.


Well said. If you avoid all exercise to avoid injury, you risk eventually get injured anyway - picking something heavy up for example. Or a lifetime of poor posture. Worrying about it is silly, just don't do dangerous exercises and maintain strict form as best you can.
Edited by DopeItUp On October 9, 2012 8:40 AM
October 9, 2012 8:50 AM
Poor form and mobility accounts for a vast majority of lifting injuries, especially to the knees and shoulders.

What is sad is that a lot of advice out there about form is absolute garbage. And the vast majority of lifters totally neglect mobility and prehab type exercises until it is much too late.

Most weightlifters have bench press syndrome from overemphasising pressing; a major cause of long term shoulder problems that shows up with the inability to dip and shoulder pain from overhead work.

Poor ankle and hip mobility combined with squatting tend to create knee issues. There's a double whammy when people follow the absolute worst form advice possible and squat to parallel (the point of maximum stress on the knee joint). You can argue the merits of shallow vs. deep squatting, but both are way better for the knees than parallel squatting.
  12040936
October 9, 2012 10:16 AM
Thanks for this - loads to think about.

I am starting to come round to the thinking that I do need to lift heavy in good form and I could actually be causing more potentil harm by doing loads of repetitive body resistance movements like pressups when 2 or 3 sets of heavy bench press would have been kinder on my body.

I used to lift heavy in my yoof - seems I'm coming home :-)
October 9, 2012 11:20 AM
QUOTE:


You can get injured doing anything. From lifting, to yoga, to getting up off the couch, to walking across the street. I think the key is do everything as best you can and not worry about it. My aim is to be sensible and safe, but never to be scared of what *may* happen.

So true. Just this a.m. Found out my friend's mom is having spinal surgery from a yoga injury.
I know 2 people who had knee surgery this year from soccer injuries and I from skiing.
And 2 people with bad plantAr fasciitis and 2 others with metatarsal fractures from being overweight, no exercise at all.
1 with a hip stress fracture from running 10 to 15 miles per week. 1 with an ITB tear from running 50 to 70 miles per week.
1 with a back injury from deadlifitng with bad form.
I'm at this moment icing my hamstring that I likely irritated with stupidly overdoing the sprinting.
October 9, 2012 11:31 AM
Gotta do what's right for you but remember that physique is more a function of diet. If your diet is crap your physique will be crap regardless of what you do.

Injuries are freak occurrences that will happen regardless of what you do. I pulled both hamstrings once playing in a flag football league, once doing hill sprints, suffered a disc protrusion from bending down to stretch my hammies, and a pectoral rupture from benching. I've never injured myself working towards a true 1, 2, or 3RM. I'm lucky I guess.
October 9, 2012 11:57 AM
Bad form and bad programming lead to injuries. Don't hate the game, hate the player.
  20711900
October 9, 2012 12:06 PM
QUOTE:

Thanks for this - loads to think about.

I am starting to come round to the thinking that I do need to lift heavy in good form and I could actually be causing more potentil harm by doing loads of repetitive body resistance movements like pressups when 2 or 3 sets of heavy bench press would have been kinder on my body.

I used to lift heavy in my yoof - seems I'm coming home :-)


Do harder pressup (pushup?) variants.

You should be able to alter the variants to increase the difficulty such that you reach failure in 10 reps or less infinitely.

Pushups -> decline pushups -> diamond pushups -> decline diamond pushups -> one arm emphasized pushups -> incline one arm pushups -> wide leg one arm pushups -> narrow leg one arm pushups -> pseudo planche pushups -> pseudo maltese pushups -> tuck planche pushups -> straddle planche pushups -> planche pushups
  12040936
October 9, 2012 12:14 PM
Thanks Waldo - I've saved this to my PC to work through. Back is not such a probem as I cant do a single pullup yet, but I could eventually progress through negative to regular to weighted pullups.
October 9, 2012 12:26 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

Thanks for this - loads to think about.

I am starting to come round to the thinking that I do need to lift heavy in good form and I could actually be causing more potentil harm by doing loads of repetitive body resistance movements like pressups when 2 or 3 sets of heavy bench press would have been kinder on my body.

I used to lift heavy in my yoof - seems I'm coming home :-)


Do harder pressup (pushup?) variants.

You should be able to alter the variants to increase the difficulty such that you reach failure in 10 reps or less infinitely.

Pushups -> decline pushups -> diamond pushups -> decline diamond pushups -> one arm emphasized pushups -> incline one arm pushups -> wide leg one arm pushups -> narrow leg one arm pushups -> pseudo planche pushups -> pseudo maltese pushups -> tuck planche pushups -> straddle planche pushups -> planche pushups


The only time you can really put push-ups nearly on-par with bench pressing is if you can load them somehow. To effectively do this you need a training partner and a wide range of chains or a weighted vest that can handle a tremendous load. EIther ways it's still not the same because muscle recruitment isn't the same. Keep in mind I'm not saying there's anything wrong with push-ups. Though BW Dips are superior to BW Push-ups.

@OP: Chin-ups/Pull-ups are tricky to build and a good way to do this is negatives or buy heavy bands that you can slip a knee in and get some support on the concentric portion. My girlfriend actually started this and went from only being able to do 5 pull-ups with a heavy band to 12 in a week. Once she gets to 20 she's going to do BW and then add a band back after failure with BW.
Edited by JNick77 On October 9, 2012 12:28 PM
October 9, 2012 12:38 PM
Thankyou JNick. I hadn't thought of Dips - mainly because I don't like them, but definitely one to progress to from pushups. I take your point about pullup progression and will be doing similar to build mine.
October 9, 2012 12:56 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:

Thanks for this - loads to think about.

I am starting to come round to the thinking that I do need to lift heavy in good form and I could actually be causing more potentil harm by doing loads of repetitive body resistance movements like pressups when 2 or 3 sets of heavy bench press would have been kinder on my body.

I used to lift heavy in my yoof - seems I'm coming home :-)


Do harder pressup (pushup?) variants.

You should be able to alter the variants to increase the difficulty such that you reach failure in 10 reps or less infinitely.

Pushups -> decline pushups -> diamond pushups -> decline diamond pushups -> one arm emphasized pushups -> incline one arm pushups -> wide leg one arm pushups -> narrow leg one arm pushups -> pseudo planche pushups -> pseudo maltese pushups -> tuck planche pushups -> straddle planche pushups -> planche pushups


The only time you can really put push-ups nearly on-par with bench pressing is if you can load them somehow. To effectively do this you need a training partner and a wide range of chains or a weighted vest that can handle a tremendous load. EIther ways it's still not the same because muscle recruitment isn't the same. Keep in mind I'm not saying there's anything wrong with push-ups. Though BW Dips are superior to BW Push-ups.

@OP: Chin-ups/Pull-ups are tricky to build and a good way to do this is negatives or buy heavy bands that you can slip a knee in and get some support on the concentric portion. My girlfriend actually started this and went from only being able to do 5 pull-ups with a heavy band to 12 in a week. Once she gets to 20 she's going to do BW and then add a band back after failure with BW.


Seriously....

A good form one arm pushup (chest to deck, NO TWISTING) is harder than a BW dip. By a decent margin. A good form pseudo planche pushup is harder than a BW dip. Within the continuum these are still relatively easy. Once you start getting into the true planche variants, that is when the resistance goes through the roof.

Anyone that says they can do a tuck planche pushup yet can't do a weighted dip +0.3 BW is full of dung, period. Even that is on the low side, +0.5 BW is much more realistic.

The straddle and full planche variants are so insanely hard few people on this earth are capable of doing them. If you can't weighted dip +1.0 BW at least your chances of being able to do a full planche pushup are laughable. Even then, the full body demands of the planche mean that even if you can do a >+1.0x BW dip, you have no chance of being able to do a planche unless you train for it, despite having in the ballpark of enough pressing strength.
Edited by waldo56 On October 9, 2012 12:58 PM
  12040936
October 9, 2012 1:01 PM
Well, your body is going to start breaking down for one reason or another eventually, no matter what you do.
October 9, 2012 1:17 PM
QUOTE:

Well, your body is going to start breaking down for one reason or another eventually, no matter what you do.


Nah - Yoga Guru, Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar, died at the age of 95 because it was his time - not because his body had broken down. He was still able to perform challenging yoga routines right up to the last.

We shouldn't expect body breakdown to be the inevitability of increased years.
October 9, 2012 1:26 PM
To Waldo - Oh My God! Looked up planche pushups on You Tube (plenty of stuff there) and those guys are not real!!!

I'm sold on bodyweight strength - I want some of that and far more in line with my Yoga.

I'm gobsmacked!
October 9, 2012 1:27 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:

Thanks for this - loads to think about.

I am starting to come round to the thinking that I do need to lift heavy in good form and I could actually be causing more potentil harm by doing loads of repetitive body resistance movements like pressups when 2 or 3 sets of heavy bench press would have been kinder on my body.

I used to lift heavy in my yoof - seems I'm coming home :-)


Do harder pressup (pushup?) variants.

You should be able to alter the variants to increase the difficulty such that you reach failure in 10 reps or less infinitely.

Pushups -> decline pushups -> diamond pushups -> decline diamond pushups -> one arm emphasized pushups -> incline one arm pushups -> wide leg one arm pushups -> narrow leg one arm pushups -> pseudo planche pushups -> pseudo maltese pushups -> tuck planche pushups -> straddle planche pushups -> planche pushups


The only time you can really put push-ups nearly on-par with bench pressing is if you can load them somehow. To effectively do this you need a training partner and a wide range of chains or a weighted vest that can handle a tremendous load. EIther ways it's still not the same because muscle recruitment isn't the same. Keep in mind I'm not saying there's anything wrong with push-ups. Though BW Dips are superior to BW Push-ups.

@OP: Chin-ups/Pull-ups are tricky to build and a good way to do this is negatives or buy heavy bands that you can slip a knee in and get some support on the concentric portion. My girlfriend actually started this and went from only being able to do 5 pull-ups with a heavy band to 12 in a week. Once she gets to 20 she's going to do BW and then add a band back after failure with BW.


Seriously....

A good form one arm pushup (chest to deck, NO TWISTING) is harder than a BW dip. By a decent margin. A good form pseudo planche pushup is harder than a BW dip. Within the continuum these are still relatively easy. Once you start getting into the true planche variants, that is when the resistance goes through the roof.

Anyone that says they can do a tuck planche pushup yet can't do a weighted dip +0.3 BW is full of dung, period. Even that is on the low side, +0.5 BW is much more realistic.

The straddle and full planche variants are so insanely hard few people on this earth are capable of doing them. If you can't weighted dip +1.0 BW at least your chances of being able to do a full planche pushup are laughable. Even then, the full body demands of the planche mean that even if you can do a >+1.0x BW dip, you have no chance of being able to do a planche unless you train for it, despite having in the ballpark of enough pressing strength.


I YouTubed this and I'll give you that, it is hard, but you can't just factor in strength. Each video I watched the person wasn't more than 8% bodyfat at most, so for your average person this just isn't happening and you have to rely on more common movements such as Bench, OHP, Squat, DL, Chin-ups, Dips, GHR's, RDL's, etc for strength training.
Edited by JNick77 On October 9, 2012 1:28 PM
October 9, 2012 1:41 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:

Thanks for this - loads to think about.

I am starting to come round to the thinking that I do need to lift heavy in good form and I could actually be causing more potentil harm by doing loads of repetitive body resistance movements like pressups when 2 or 3 sets of heavy bench press would have been kinder on my body.

I used to lift heavy in my yoof - seems I'm coming home :-)


Do harder pressup (pushup?) variants.

You should be able to alter the variants to increase the difficulty such that you reach failure in 10 reps or less infinitely.

Pushups -> decline pushups -> diamond pushups -> decline diamond pushups -> one arm emphasized pushups -> incline one arm pushups -> wide leg one arm pushups -> narrow leg one arm pushups -> pseudo planche pushups -> pseudo maltese pushups -> tuck planche pushups -> straddle planche pushups -> planche pushups


The only time you can really put push-ups nearly on-par with bench pressing is if you can load them somehow. To effectively do this you need a training partner and a wide range of chains or a weighted vest that can handle a tremendous load. EIther ways it's still not the same because muscle recruitment isn't the same. Keep in mind I'm not saying there's anything wrong with push-ups. Though BW Dips are superior to BW Push-ups.

@OP: Chin-ups/Pull-ups are tricky to build and a good way to do this is negatives or buy heavy bands that you can slip a knee in and get some support on the concentric portion. My girlfriend actually started this and went from only being able to do 5 pull-ups with a heavy band to 12 in a week. Once she gets to 20 she's going to do BW and then add a band back after failure with BW.


Seriously....

A good form one arm pushup (chest to deck, NO TWISTING) is harder than a BW dip. By a decent margin. A good form pseudo planche pushup is harder than a BW dip. Within the continuum these are still relatively easy. Once you start getting into the true planche variants, that is when the resistance goes through the roof.

Anyone that says they can do a tuck planche pushup yet can't do a weighted dip +0.3 BW is full of dung, period. Even that is on the low side, +0.5 BW is much more realistic.

The straddle and full planche variants are so insanely hard few people on this earth are capable of doing them. If you can't weighted dip +1.0 BW at least your chances of being able to do a full planche pushup are laughable. Even then, the full body demands of the planche mean that even if you can do a >+1.0x BW dip, you have no chance of being able to do a planche unless you train for it, despite having in the ballpark of enough pressing strength.


I YouTubed this and I'll give you that, it is hard, but you can't just factor in strength. Each video I watched the person wasn't more than 8% bodyfat at most, so for your average person this just isn't happening and you have to rely on more common movements such as Bench, OHP, Squat, DL, Chin-ups, Dips, GHR's, RDL's, etc for strength training.


Right, your average person will never get there. The resistance is just flat out too high. It requires strength:size ratios that mean either a very slight but super strong build, or ultra strong normal sized people. If you start eating for hypertrophy and focus more on the physical aspects than pure performance, your chance of ever doing a good form planche pushup is quite low.

But since there is a fairly linear progression all the way there (granted it takes full body strength once you get to the planche variants, despite being a pressing dominant exercise), most people will never get strong enough to get there and will never run out of resistance, hence my saying that resistance is infinite.
  12040936

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