Training Transference??

So, yesterday, at 160 lbs, the same weight I’ve weighed for about a month, I experienced an oddity yesterday.

Haven’t bench pressed, or even done any remotely similar exercises during the Fall because my coach is more concerned with my ROM being where it needs to be for jav than chest strength. Have done some pull-ups, lat work and light stability lifts, but no lifts with triple digit poundage in a long time.

Tested max bench yesterday. After a general warm-up, 10 reps of the bar, then 5x135, then 3x185, I started maxing. Last year, around this time (using the same program), I maxed at 200, so I decided to start at 205. And it flew up so I was pleasantly surprised.

I threw on 225, went up smoothly, and I was psyched because that equaled my PR from back when I put emphasis on benching and carried more chest muscle.

I decided I’d go for 245. It went up and I was very pleased I could keep going. Already I was in shock.

Because I tend to not have a high work capacity for quality, I decided I’d jump to 275 just to see how close it’d be because in the least I was more than pleased with 245. I just barely got it up.


Because of improved footwork with javelin, my legs have been getting roasted by throwing sessions so I haven’t been able to lift as intensely lower body, primarily because of fatigue and tightness in my block leg.

The only way I can muster I could possibly see this gain is CNS freshness from less intense lifting. But even that doesn’t explain how I’d see such a significant PB in a lift I have not just been not training, but assumed I was harming as I’ve had significant chest stretching to hit jav positions. Not only that, but the 3x185 warm up felt fairly difficult and I don’t think I could’ve done more than one rep at 225 or 245, and 2 max at 205. I’ve had no major lifestyle changes since last time I did 1 rep bench to a failure weight (late summer), but have given myself a significantly lower volume of work than I have in the past over the course of this year (30 min - 45 min max lifting 4x per week).

I recall a post a while back talking about how cf got injured at some point in his lower body, so he continued to train but using bench press and saw massive gains within a month because of the base he had built up sprinting. I agree with the idea that looking at cns work like filling a glass with water is a good idea, but that in order for that training to move other places there has to be some movement towards that specificity. Benching wouldn’t increase my speed directly. But once I lowered the volume of it and used it as a primer then I could see speed gains by sprint training making use of the prior CNS development in general. But what I feel like I just experienced is as if any CNS development would be directly transferrable to an increased capacity for untrained output.

Is it possible that I experienced a similar phenomenon as charlie, except without even training the lift? Could someone chronically overtrain to the point that a 3 month rest of an area could result in such significant gains in the unworked muscles? Is it all in my head and I just finally, momentarily overcame a mental block? I also have taken a 3 month hiatus from sprinting, does stuff as odd as this ever occur for speed, not just weight room? Is there any advice how to make sure I see this sort of monstrous improvement in movements specific to track?

(An additional note: the day before I was going to max out on clean, but 245 felt too dangerous to get under so I stopped, and that’s a weight I typically get up without a problem as of late. Maybe left over tiredness from throwing two days before?)

TLDR; didn’t bench for 3 months, then maxed out with a 50 lbs PB with 275@160lbs (previous best 225@150-155lbs). What happened? Can I get this to happen for other things?

The amount of hidden strength in your chest/shoulers/arms from loosening them up and increasing your range of motion, has just been realized.

I do this all the time with clients - increase range of motion and bang, they are stronger. A lot stronger.

So you think this is primarily a strength gain from the shoulder stretching? I was under the impression mobility would only create significant power gains in movements that actually hit large ranges or certain positions to hit that are tough to attain, whereas there really is not “stretch” portion of a bench press for anyone remotely flexible. particularly the lack of heavy upper body work and the extreme gains in ROM I’ve seen in that joint had led to believe I’d probably struggle with 205, esp considering 185x3 did not feel easy.

would this sort of strength gain occur with increased ROM of other joints too? and if its the increased ROM, then what do you think of the reps discrepancy? I don’t even know how I can increase max strength if once I do more than a single I have to lift a significantly lower percentage. but, then again, maybe that’s a sign that increasing my max shouldn’t be such a priority then, haha

There is no cut n dry percentage to increase in strength gains from increasing mobility.

removed a few trigger points in my pecs major, instantly increased range of motion in shoulder (under 1hr) and bench increased by 10%)

Tight thighs, and flexibility issues in hips. Removed tension, and increased deadlift from 1 x 160kg to 3 x 180kg in one session.

Inability to do many chin ups, maybe 3, remove tension in lats and biceps, range of motion drastically improves, and rep out 10 chins like it’s nothing.

Inability to do push ups, removed tension in right triceps and bang, push ups like a boss.

All of these few examples in less than one hour.

As to what i does to running… goodnes it’s profound.

Taking a break from weightlifting has been shown to result in muscle fibre conversion towards fast-twitch fibers. An increased 1rm while higher reps still feel heavy sounds to me like you’ve become more fast-twitch dominant.

I had heard of this before, but because it was a significant break from the lift or similar exercise if this were the case then I would have to assume my bench was being terribly overtrained, which would be strange because I never did more than 5 sets twice a week… 3 months doing not even push ups seemed like a really long time to see a 50 lbs PB and a 75 lbs increase from the same time last year on the same program. Perhaps it’s a compounding type of deal where loss of muscle mass or specific cns training was outweighed by muscle fibre composition and increased mobility

it’s just funny because I believe I was considered relatively flexible before I even started doing any of the mobility work for javelin. but if I’ve learned anything from this site (and angela in particular) it’s that everyone has different training needs for peak performance, perhaps high weight room volume should have been swapped out for lots of mobility work a looong time ago, haha.

bench press/pushups always did feel a bit awkward to me, but everything seemed to click when testing. perhaps the mobility work even did something as simple as allow me to set my shoulders in a more stable position and even with less pectoral/arm training, the increased efficiency of force application demolished throwing on maybe 300 lbs power potential but with breaking on it such that I struggled with 225.

it honestly was freaky because I had never even felt remotely close to that weight on the bar so I was shocked I could control it down to my chest let alone push it back up. I suppose if I ever get back to benching I’ll put a much larger emphasis on maintaining mobility, knew it would help in power production for things like jav long pull or sprinting mechanics but it looks like I totally underestimated how much this type of stuff could help my lifts in general.

still is funny that I felt like 3x185 was hard and with the same mobility 225 flew up, 245 was smooth and 275 worked. perhaps if I pushed the reps to failure I’d be able to get it up a lot more times than I’m used to expecting. maybe squat, too. mobility has certainly improved in my hips over the past year, but it is not at the same place as my shoulders now are.

I’m curious to run a 60m now, maybe I’ll ask my coach to let me run a 60m unattached indoor just to see. with higher than ever strength numbers, totally fresh cns as far as anything specific to sprinting and better flexibility if I see an improvement like I did in bench it’d be awesome, but a huge facepalm at the same time. was always up with the 10.5 100m kids through 10 or 15m, but then once their strides really opened up I never felt like I could stay loose and apply any sort of power to the ground after that

The study I’m thinking of measured fibre composition three months after weight training was stopped, ie exactly what you did.

ahh, nvm then. do you recall if they saw max strength gains, however? The study I recall (maybe the same one or a summary of a similar one) said the fibres converted from type 2 a to type 2 x or b, but was in reference to running or jumping speed (my recall of it is a bit fuzzy).

I can’t imagine muscle loss wouldn’t occur in a muscle not worked for a 1/4 year, or that this type of fibre “upgrade” would be so significant to outweigh muscle gains or everyone would be doing it to max out. I’ve heard of unloading, but short of overtraining recovery, injury rehab or training program switches I don’t think I’ve ever seen a weight lifting strategy call for a 3 month hiatus of working a specific motion with the intention to see a max increase, haha

regardless, I think it’s probably likely the result I saw was a combo of fibre composition change, cns freshness and improved general shoulder stability and ROM. Just didn’t think these could outweigh the detraining I assumed would take place over 3 months of no pushes or presses or the warnings about “over flexibility” (probably not there yet, but was under impression that any long term increases in flexibility from static stretching reduced muscle strength and had to be accompanied by appropriate strength increases in the muscle’s ROM to prevent weakening)