How Strong is Strong

My Strength Question post a few days ago was one of the most viewed in quite a while so I figured I’d post a follow up piece.

I original wrote this for T-Nation in 2007 or 2008 and reposted it on my site a few months later.

It’s interesting, ask a strength coach what a good bench press is for a 200 lb male and chances are you’ll get a good answer. Maybe everyone won’t be in agreement but, everyone will have an opinion. Ask a good strength coach what constitutes good single leg strength or good vertical pulling strength and I don’t think you’ll get the same level of agreement or, if everyone will even have an answer. The answer might even be something like “what do you mean?” Last spring and summer I set out to answer both questions. How much single leg strength and upper back strength are actually possible? I think if you are going to train, you need a goal. If we are going to train for strength, we need to know what strong is. The four-minute mile is a great example. In 1957 Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile. On that day he broke a twelve year old record. By the end of 1957 sixteen runners had also broken the four-minute mile. It’s amazing what someone will do once they have seen that it is possible. Twelve years to break the record and sixteen followers in one year. My goal is to raise the bar on both single leg strength and upper back strength by telling the strength and conditioning world how strong strong might be…

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3 Responses to “How Strong is Strong”

  1. I agree with so much of what is in this article. Even though I specialize in training older adults,much of this still applies to my clients. Overhead lifts are something I have become a big user of. Every one of my clients that I feel can overhead lift does. Single leg work is another thing thing I use a lot. Step ups can really boost an older persons confidence around stairs.

  2. I enjoyed reading this first time round on T-Nation and was very lmpressed by the female athlete in the video. No swinging, no kipping, good demonstration of strength and control.

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