strength without bulk

Has anyone read ‘Power to the People’ by Pavel Tsatsouline?. It is a short and cheaply put together book (albeit at an expensive price), but 95% of the advice is spot on. I would be interested to know if anyone here has benefitted from the advice. The concept of quality training, instead of quantity training, is the theory behind acquiring more strength without the unnecessary muscular bulk (i wish Mike Tyson had read this book before taking on Lennox Lewis, because then he could have come into the fight at 215- 220lb with much greater speed and strength than he had at 235lb. That way he would have knocked Lewis out no problem, as his speed of foot would have negated Lewis’s reach advantage. To try to get as close to 6’ 5" Lewis’s 250lb as possible- as a 5’11" man was a catastrophic error on the part of Team Tyson, because he was an incredibly slow fighter with short arms and with a great deal of unnecessary muscle, he just got picked off by a taller guy. Still what do i know!) I believe Dwain Chambers suffers from the same problem in track terms, which is why he was picked off by J J Johnson in the recent 100m relay final at the world champs. Chambers needs to realise that he is not competing in a bodybuilding contest (his ‘contest’ with Levrone confirms that he is into the bodybuilding thing and reads Flex regularly which is how he came upon Levrone’s challenge). He is far too big to be a perfectly functioning athlete, although like his UK counterpart John Regis (who coincidentally? has been a part of Dwain’s development) he does very well in spite of his excess muscle. It is obvious that if he was lighter he would be even better (maybe sub 9.85 in average conditions, not those that he ran his 9.87 in, as he would easily be capable of running sub 9.8 in those if he was lighter), because 1)his power to weight ratio would improve, as his strength could easily be maintained 2)his thighs would not chaffe together as much; obviously the friction between his thighs impedes his running action and acts as somewhat of a break on his leg speed 3)he wouldn’t cramp up as much as he is known to do, because lighter guys are known not to cramp up as much.
I am sure that Dwain’s excess muscle is the result of the type of training he is doing, although he probably does have a genetic tendency to acquire muscle faster than his peers. To become what he has become, it has to be intentional in some part, unless it is down to something in particular in any ‘special diet’ he may be following. I believe that he is doing at least one of the following, probably all three, 1)training at, or very close to, muscular failure 2) performing reps above 5 in his sets 3) and also performing too many sets in a workout. These 3 largely contribute to the tearing down of muscle that when repaired contributes to increases in muscular mass. Strength/power can and should be built without resorting to these practises, unless one requires muscular bulk for sport or aesthetic purposes.
Tsatsouline argues, correctly in my opinion, that strength can be increased dramatically whilst keeping muscle development to a minimum, if one limits the sets and reps (and overall amount of exercises performed) in such a manner that no more than 10 reps are performed for each exercise in a workout. e.g 5 sets of 2 reps at 90% of 1rm is a good training protocol for power athletes, or 3 x 3 etc. This methodology suits me because i too have a tendency to pack on more muscle than i can ever need, especially in the lower body. i.e Before reading Tsatsouline’s book 6 months ago, i had 26" thighs and 171/2" calves (yes i am caucasian) whilst weighing 93kg bodyweight at 5’10" and with a pb in the FULL squat of 180kg + 100m pb was 10.79. I had 24" thighs (hardly any definition though) as an 18 year old before commencing strength training. The 180kg squat was attained by following a 5 sets x 5 reps methodology, not bad in itself. After implementing Tsatsouline’s methods, my full squat went to 225kg (495lb) in six months, bodyweight remained surprisingly constant, but incredibly my thighs dropped to 251/4", albeit with much greater definition. My current 100m pb is 10.61.
Before reading Tsatsouline’s book i didn’t think it was possible for Jonathon Edwards, who lets face it LOOKS about as strong as a choir boy, to power clean 150kg. After reading the book i thought that he must be doing very limited reps and sets, which would partly explain why he has relatively small muscles. After coming across this great website and forum, my hunch was confirmed when i read Shaun Pickering’s statement that Edward’s does 2 or 3 sets of 1 or 2 reps. Now that explains his phenomenal power to bodyweight ratio.
I hope Chambers listens to the comments of Michael Johnson, who said that he is too heavy and clumsy looking, and starts to look into ways of dropping some of that bulk.He will be a better athlete for it.

Caution: Myself and my training partners have found that whilst Tsatsouline’s tension methods do increase strength rapidly (which we all know is a needed facet of the sprinter), in our experience it also made us feel slower and tight, probably because some of the tension is left in the muscles after the set and indeed the workout. This is obviously not good, as it slows reactions and prevents the relaxed state so crucial for speed. Clearly from my 100m improvement i found a solution. After each set and at the end of the workout, i would stretch the worked muscles and relax my body as much as possible by shaking the muscles and joints. For a few seconds after each set i would also practise quick hand and feet drills. These all served to rid the built up tension when i no longer needed it to lift. In the off season strength phase this is unlikely to be a problem, but in the competition phase i would advise that people should practise these speed and loosening habits to get rid of the tension that successful strength training builds up.

How does Chambers compare to MJ in weight and height and body measurements anyone?

MJ wasn’t the skinniest 200/400 guy from what I remember (maybe the beefiest) and it didn’t hold him back too much did it?

At his heaviest (Atl) MJ was 182lbs … nearly 25lbs less than Dwain. MJ was also taller.

There is no way that Michael Johnson and Dwain Chambers can be compared in mass terms. Because MJ was taller his weight to height ratio was well below that which Chambers currently has. Even if it wasn’t hypothetically, you can’t even compare MJ to other athletes cause he was pretty much a freak compared to the rest of the athletic elite. Dwain is good but in a totally different talent pool compared to MJ.

My comparison of Regis and Chambers in the thread starter is probably also a little misguided. Regis carried his excess bulk mainly in his upper body (even though he had some of the biggest thighs around), but the size of his legs was not great enough to impede his running. Chamber’s legs are way too big and i think it impedes his running, as he just looks to be struggling with the bulk.

Can you expand on the application Tsatsouline’s tension methods please?
As I understand his concept the tension would restrict fast explosive meovements?

Also …
Do we have any threads in the archives on the changes in Chambers training over the past year or two - apart from coach?

I’ll try to keep this as brief as i can, as i don’t want to start repeating everything in the book (caution: a training partner has had the book for a couple of months now, so what i say is based on memory, although i understand the concepts fairly well).
Tsatsouline argues that strength and power largely comes from the ability of the neurological system to tap into, to a greater extent, the latent speed and strength that exists within us to start with. Muscle size obviously does play a role in strength and power, which is why generally speaking the world records are heaviest in the correspondingly heavier bodyweight categories, but the size of the muscle plays much less of a role than almost anyone realises. For example, the world record in the clean and jerk for the 77kg weight class is 210kg. The superheavyweights who are above 105kg (and for the purpose of arguement lets ignore those like Chemerkin and Rezazedeh who are above 140kg because they carry far too much fat to make for a valid arguement) ‘only’ clean and jerk around 240- 250kg in competition (Rezazedeh’s 263 kg world record aside at about 160kg bodyweight). The guys up to 140kg are fairly lean and probably carry over double the amount of muscle mass than the 77 kg guys, yet they only lift about 40kg more. This 40kg is where the muscle size comes into play and makes a difference, not for the bulk of the weight hoisted though. The neurological system, through training, is responsible for most strength and power. Think about all those humongous, pumped up steroid bodybuilders, many of whom have very poor strength despite having huge muscles. Compare skinny Jonathon Edwards, at 72kg bwt, power cleaning 150kg and squatting 230kg, to the former Mr Universe Lou Ferrigno who at the 1977 World Strongest Man contest STRUGGLED to Clean and Push Press 125kg. I actually think that in a way the fact that the body grows muscle in response to training is a bad thing for the uninformed because it has confused them as to the role that muscle plays in strength and power.
Where strength is concerned (not power or related movements obviously) it is simply a matter of training the body to exert more tension. In laymans terms this means tensing the muscles as hard as possible (before you actually start to lift it as well) throughout the whole of the lift, not just the muscles that are being used to lift, such as the legs in the squat, but the whole of the body (i don’t have the time or the space to explain why, but the concept is known as ‘erradiation’). The neurological system adapts to the weights we are using by simply learning through continued training to generate more tension. This is how we get stronger. Incidentally, sports scientists have revealed that the average trainee only taps into to about 30- 40% of their potential tension/strength, where as elite strength athletes only tap into about 50- 60%. This is due to an inbuilt safety mechanism within all human beings because if we could use 100% of our potential tension/strength we would actually rip the muscles right off the tendons and ligaments. The only time human beings use 100% of their maximum strength/tension is when they are executed on an electric chair with 1000s of volts of electrical charges going to the muscles, at which point the muscles do rip from the body (so i am told!). Texas may be the best place to break world strength records!
Obviously tension techniques should not be used for power exercises (even though they will improve power overall due to the increase in the strength component of power that comes from getting stronger on the strength exercises) because the lifts would be so slow that it would defeat the object of training for power. Remember though, the stronger you become, the more powerful you will become because they are related. e.g you have two identical twins, one focuses on strength to the extent that he can deadlift 300kg. The other can deadlift only 200kg(at roughly the same weight) but also practises power cleans and he can handle 100kg for a 1rm. If they had a power clean contest, who would win? The 300kg deadlift guy would obviously win, because 100kg to him is only one third of his deadlift. He would handle this like a toy. Because he doesn’t practise power cleans it is unlikely that he would be proportionately as good as his 200kg deadlift brother, whose power clean is exactly one half of his deadlift (as it roughly is amongst average guys who donate equal time to both lifts), which would mean that the 300kg deadlift brother would be doing 150kg. More than likely he would be capable of at least 125kg. My point is that sprinters should not neglect the strength element (and indeed the learning to generate more tension which is the fastest route to increased strength) of training, just because they compete in a power sport. By actually sticking to power exercises like cleans and snatches, and neglecting to train for strength, your power will not increase as rapidly as it would if you practised strength exercises and techniques as well, because of the relationship scenario that i have outlined above.
As an aside, the habit of going to muscular failure is the biggest training mistake made in the past 50 years (yes steroids allow you to find a way around it, which is why some of the top guys get away with it) because it wears down the neurological and nervous systems which is exactly what you don’t want if you seek strength, speed and their combination in power.
Speed improvement is exactly the same (totally ignore the tension methods now if you haven’t realised to do so, THEY ONLY APPLY TO STRENGTH). It is with speed training that the neurological system becomes more efficient in reducing response time and learning to recruit fast twitch muscle fibres, just like in training for strength the neurological system just learns to exert increasing levels of tension through the accumalation which comes through practise. Power improvement/training is also a result of the neurological system being better able to exploit as much of one’s strength as possible in the shortest possible time using the body’s existing speed. Obvioulsy genetics play a determining role in both potential and starting capacity of all facets of athletics, be it strength, speed, power,etc. Some people are just born with more fast twitch fibres and neurological efficiency than others.
The application of tension methods is nothing magic nor really a method as such, it is really just an appreciation of what strength actually is and a conscious effort to apply as much tension as possible on all sets relating to the development of strength. We all apply tension when we are lifting weights anyway, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to lift anything. But mainly this is a subconscious thing, as most concentrate on just moving the weight with the muscles. The mind is the key to strength, as one should be consciously trying to tense as hard as is humanly possible. If you do this just before the lift to the completion of the lift, never relaxing but constantly trying to focus the mind on generating more tension, your weights will literally start to fly. This is why weights that can’t be performed for more than 5 reps build strength, because they cause you to generate more tension. All high and higher reps do is create little tension and cause muscular fatigue which is exactly what you need to avoid for strength and speed increase.
Tension training does not restrict fast explosive movements, otherwise all strength (which is nothing more than tension) training would be useless for sprinters. All tension techniques are is a conscious effort to just increase what we are already doing anyway (because we haven’t appreciated what is responsible for our strength in the past and the tension we have been generating is really only as much as the weight demands of us- it has largely been sub- conscious), as by performing strength training we are already applying tension training. Now we are just consciously trying to apply as much of it as possible, irrespective of the tension required to lift any particular weight. You will soon start to see weights that you previously struggled with, literally flying.
The only problem that i see is that applying maximum tension causes one to hold the breath, which can be extremely dangerous for those with high blood pressure.
Tension may remain in the muscles temporarily after the set and indeed after the workout if you have applyied a large volume of it. It is not permanent, obviously. You will be slower at this point in time. It is IMPERATIVE that all speed and power work should be performed BEFORE the strength work. As i noted in the thread starter, practising applying greater tension is the key to strength, but some tension may remain in the muscles temporaily after the workout. This can easily be overcome by doing things that you know help relax the muscles. e.g take warm baths, meditate/relax, breathe through the stomach deeply and smoothly, get your wife/girlfriend to give you a massage, stretch, do quick feet/hand drills for a few seconds to help the muscles ‘remember’ the speed they had before the set, limber up the limbs by shaking them etc. Do anything that you know helps relieve tension from the muscles, it won’t take long to get rid of it. Don’t take this to extremes and be frightened off from proper strength training (which is crucial to your speed development) just because it MAY temporarily slow you down for a few hours. Obviously if you have a sprint race on the saturday, and you practise strength training for five days in a row upto the meet, of course you are going to be slower. Lets not lose sight of common sense here. Tension training will not be a problem at all in the off season/strength phase, and it shouldn’t be at all in the competitive season if you are sensible and learn to relieve tension after training, do power/speed work before strength training. Of course if someone did exclusive strength training applying maximum tension in training, trained in this way all the time, never attempted to relieve any tension that built up in the muscles, was not a sprinter and thus did no speed or power work, then they MAY not be capable of fast explosive movements (although this would probably be relative to what they would be capable of if they trained correctly as a sprinter should). But then again, if this individual had built up their strength to say a 270kg FULL squat at 90kg bodyweight i for one would definitely not bet against them being explosive. I hope my response has helped you no23.

The reason Tyson came in at 235lbs is cos he got lazy in the gym. His fault. Get lazy in the gym, get beat, simple as that.

Because he was an incredibly slow fighter
. Tyson is no longer 25 years old. He was probably one of the fastest heavy’s of all time from 1985-1991 when he was invincible. Tyson at 36 is a shell of his old self…

“A good big guy will always beat a good small guy”…

…or to summarise. Increase average intensity, keep total time under tension <12s per movement and don’t forget the RFD component (not a problem for sprinters).

That’s rubbish that Tyson got lazy just for the Lewis fight (may be for the Nielsen fight when he came in at close to 240lb). He claims never to have trained seriously for a fight in over 10 years, over which time he continued to weigh in the low 220s, if the Lewis fight was one among many of his lazy ones why did he choose to come in at 235lb? Are you trying to tell me that he just got even lazier? He weighed 222lb for the Golota fight in 2000, and 226lb against Etienne in his last fight. I hope you are not going to tell me that he trained harder for those tomato cans than he did Lewis. No, he was genuinely up for the Lewis fight because he knew it was his first superfight since Holyfield 2. What’s more, he did his training on the island of Maui away from the strip clubs of Vegas, so that he could train and be focused. Numerous sources claimed that he was in good shape (although they probably didn’t realise how heavy he was) for the fight as he had sparred many rounds in training. Don’t believe the crap that he didn’t train, thats just Mike making excuses. There was too much pride at stake for him not to take the fight seriously. He looked terribly slow and unfit because the excess bulk slowed him down. Barry McGuigan was spot on in the pre fight commentary when he stated that ‘Tyson has come in intentionally heavy because he is going to go for broke in the early rounds and try to use the extra weight to get Lewis out of their early on because he knows that’s his only chance of winning. Lewis stands a better chance of winning if the fight goes into the later rounds(Douglas- 10 and Holyfield- 11) and Tyson knows that he cannot outbox Lewis and win on points’.

Tyson was not PROBABLY one of the fastest heavyweights of all time, he WAS. No i don’t expect him to be as fast in 2002 as he was in 1988, but as i say he was riduculously slow in the Lewis fight because of his intention to get close to Lewis’s weight so that he wouldn’t be outmuscled in the clinches. He was much faster in the Etienne fight in 2003, after the Lewis fight, because he came in at 226lb. His poor speed (especially foot) in the Lewis fight was nothing to do with him being lazy and not training.
Neither was Tyson INVINCIBLE between 1985- 1991, the talent pool was just lacking until Bowe, Holyfield and Lewis came on the scene in the early 1990’s. I believe at least one of them (although i am a huge Tyson fan, always have been, always will be) would have claimed Mike’s scalp in his prime. His prime was not up to 1991- by which time he was already on the wane, it lasted until 1989 when Kevin Rooney stopped training him. It is not true to speak of his prime after the first Bruno fight in 1989. He got hit with far too many shots in the fights with Bruno and Ruddock from 1989- 1991. His decline was almost as fast as his rise without Rooney constantly drilling D’Amato’s style into him.
I definitely agree with you RICKYHATTON that Tyson at 36 was a shell of his former self, but that doesn’t deny the fact that he did train and the option to come in heavily muscled was a foolish one. A good big un will beat a good little un, but Tyson was not good he used to be excellent. I think he would have koed Lennox in his prime, unless Lewis outboxed him. He is not even a good little un anymore, unfortunately.

Tyson was not the fastest heavy weight of all time, Ali was…but if you accept Roy Jones as a heavy weight (~192) he’s faster than them both.

interesting thread, and i was discussing this same topic today with one of my training partners.

ive been using the Sheiko powerlifting programes now for 5 months. the protocols are a little more comples than Pavels, but i believe the same principles are at work. I have been weighty training for years, mainly BB style, with little progress, played with 3x3 system and westside, but was injured alot of teh time from Thai boxing/grappling. It wasnt until a holiday in thailand over christmas last year and a meeting with a couple of guys from belarus that changed my ways…

since training with the sheiko routine…

BW has dropped from 102kg to 93kg with little change to diet, or other activities Alot of people comment that it looks like ive stopped training (loss of bulk, not increase of waist!) in the mirror i certainly look less ‘bulky’, and nothing like my former training partners who still strive for the BB look, yet whos lifts i blow away while warming up

all my lifts have increased beyond my expectations, and to the surprise of most people at the gym. 5 months ago 120kg bench in the rack was a strain and took 3 days or so to recover from, now its 160kg 3xweek with ease and no fatigue or DOMS. likewise with the Sq and Dl

I am never tired, even after working an 8 hour shift as a chef in a busy restraunt, AFTER a 2 hour Sheiko workout in the morning

a RC injury that troubled me for years, has gone, with very little treatment, and despite the fact i am benching 3+ times per week with 80 - 90% 1rm range weights.

i do however feel that tightness you speak of, my left Hammy is very unstable atm, with 2 pulls in weeks (not serious, but hampering LB traing a little) and hand/foot speed is only just returning after adding some plyos a couple of times per week.

I am a little lost to explain the absence of overtraining or fatigue, given the demands of these types of WOs

but with my current results im not complaining

“The guys up to 140kg are fairly lean and probably carry over double the amount of muscle mass than the 77 kg guys, yet they only lift about 40kg more. This 40kg is where the muscle size comes into play and makes a difference, not for the bulk of the weight hoisted though. The neurological system, through training, is responsible for most strength and power.”

You’re ignoring the fact that the 77kg guys at the elite level average around 5’6" and the elite guys in the superheavy class average around 6’. My physics is rusty, but wouldn’t the superheavies have to generate much greater forces than the lighter guys in order to move a heavier weight a significantly greater distance? It’s not as simple as saying, “77kg athlete cleans X and 140kg athlete only cleans X+40kg, therefore the 77kg athlete’s nervous system is much more efficient”. What about different lever lengths? My guess is that the forces generated at the hip of a superheavy are much greater than those generated about the hip of the lighter athletes.

Tyson has not been the same since he and trainer Kevin Rooney parted ways. He could put together lightning fast 3, 4, 5, etc. punch combinations. This was well before MT went to prison. That change marked the beginning of the erosion of his skills as a fighter. Nothing else since has mattered-imho. Certainly Don King was of no help.

Sorry you misinterpreted me. I would never suggest that Tyson was the fastest heavyweight of all time, i am well aware that a few others were faster. I was referring exactly to the wording used by RICKYHATTON, in that i meant Tyson was not PROBABLY one of the fastest heavyweights of all time, he WAS one of the fastest heavyweights of all time. Not THE fastest though i never meant that. Of course Ali was faster than Tyson, and Floyd Patterson (because like Roy Jones he was a small heavyweight) was as well. Maybe Ezzard Charles for the same reason. I can’t think of many others though. Joe Louis, whilst being the greatest heavyweight of all time in my opinion, was visibly not as fast as Mike. Neither were Liston, Frazier, Foreman, Marciano, Holmes (fast jab), Walcott, M and L Spinks. Before the 1930s, it is hard to tell how fast they were moving on film due to the speed of playback.

I thought someone would mention the fact that superheavies are taller than 77kg and therefore that partially explains some of the extra weight advantage, which would not be muscle. If you read my earlier posts completely you would realise that i am aware of the role height plays in ones mass ratio. As my post was far too long anyway, i didn’t want to have to spell this out as well, but trust me when i said they probably had double the muscle (this was a conservative estimate as well) i was taking height into account as well. An extra 6" in height does not account for someone weighing twice as much as another. More over, bear in mind that it doesn’t take much (as you would think) of an increase in girth to actually account for double the muscle mass. For example, i remember Stuart McRobert of Hardgainer fame writing about this point that, all other things being equal a 14" forearm has DOUBLE the amount of muscle mass than a 12" forearm. If a superheavy has a 32" thigh and a 77kg guy has say a 23", can you imagine the difference in muscle mass. I am no expert, but it COULD be as much as triple even, but certainly more than double that’s obvious.
I also (without wanting to write it for fear of an even longer post) took into account ( i wasn’t crassly trying to make things as simple as you say i was) the good point you make about the superheavies having to lift the bar higher. Still, the height difference in how high the bar is raised and the extra weight that comes from being taller does nowhere near account for why the small guys lift so closely to the big guys.Clearly it accounts for some of why the gap is so narrow. But as the superheavies have maybe 2- 3 times the muscle mass of these smaller guys, my point about the role of muscle size still stands becauses if muscle size was central to lifting heavy weights then these guys should be lifting at least DOUBLE the weight of the lighter guys, but they clearly are not. Your points do not account for this. It is glaringly obvious that something much more than just muscle size is responsible for power and strength- namely the neurological system.
Also i never said that the lighter guys were more neurologically efficient, i was implying that top lifters are all neurologically efficient. It is obviously hard to determine who is more so. My point was that superheavies lift more because muscle size obviously has some role to play and the excess weight that they lift is down to this, clearly. I agree with you that if the influence of height is taken into account, the gap would be larger. But it still does not explain why the lighter guys lift so near to the superheavies, when the latter have several times more muscle mass. The point remains that muscle mass plays a much lesser role in strength and power than anyone realises. The efficiency of the neurological system is mainly responsible.
David W can probably answer the question of who generates more force at the hip, i don’t know. It doesn’t affect the validity of my argument.

Excallant thread.

It has been pointed out that by doing no more than 10 reps per exercise, e.g 5 x 2 or 3x 3, you are deffinately not going to have huge hypertrophy, but are going to get a good strength gain…
However, I am an ectomorphic legged, chicken legged, thighs have gone down to 22.5 in"(2 thirds the way up), from previously just over 24 inches and it’s pissing me off. I don’t seem to be able to get them back up, no matter what I do. I am 6 foot 1.5 in" tall with a mesomorphic upperbody which I no longer train and it still oversizes my legs.

I think I NEED the hypertrophy, but strength is still most important.

For me, would the following be good ?

10 minute rest puase set. 2 reps, with just 30 sec rest between each block of 2 reps, continous for 10 mins then go home.
This would equal about 24 rpes in total, enough for hypertrophy or whatever, whilst still using a heavy weight.

Man, I’ve even been looking at how bodybuilders train, some of u may have noticed my Kevin Levrone/Leg press thread which shows I’ve been looking at what bodybuilders do. Maybe that wasn’t a good idea as functional strength and power for sprint speed is what I want.

What if I get very nuerologically(spelling?) efficient without putting on more muscle, is that not sacrificing my potential. Should I also need to get some hypertrophy (my legs can afford it without chaffing), in order to increase the base of the pyramid? But not just base work.

I’d really appreciate anyones rep and set scheme for guy with ectomorphic legs, (heavy upperbody), who needs to run faster.

You also forget that the smaller guys can keep the bar closer to the body - smaller gut :slight_smile:
That has big leverage advantages.

Also they don’t have to pull the bar as high - remeber olylifters rack the weight in the fullsquat position. Which bring in leverage advantages for the shorter limbed guys rising out of the rock bottom position.
The taller guys also have to jerk the bar higher, since they can’t dip down as much etc and etc.
Way too many variables

If the muscle mass is functional, and the neural effeciency is high, and then all things being equal the guy with more muscle mass generates more power and strength. Nueral effeciency = More fibers contracting = more strength. If each recruited fiber can generate more torque, which it will if it’s larger, then your stronger.
You can’t recruit what you don’t have :slight_smile:

But too much muscle size may slow contraction speed
Also the tendon angles change which may or may not help.

Rob - obviously neural efficiency plays a big role in elite strength and power performance. I don’t think anyone is going to argue with that.

The point I was making was that your example is flawed because the difference between a 5’5" 77kg lifter’s 210kg C&J and a 6’1" 140kg lifter’s 250kg C&J is more than just 40kg. The distance the weight is lifted is different. The forces that must be generated at each joint in order to accelerate the weight are different because the taller lifter must overcome greater mechanical disadvantage. In effect, the two lifters are doing two different exercises. Much of the larger lifter’s muscle mass is recruited in order to a) overcome mechanical disadvantages resulting from more acute joint angles at the start of the movement and, as Colin mentions, the bar path being further from their centre of mass and b) generate sufficient forces to accelerate the bar further than the shorter lifters.

I am sure that we can argue what methods are better to improve intra and intermuscular performance of the nervous system…but do a KC eval and soon better firing patterns will increase. Yet very few do this because it requires a lot to monitor and maintain the NME of the system.