Tag Archives: shankle

Size verses Strength

On the podcast this morning, we got on the topic of how muscle size relates to strength.  Many do not realize this, but size of a muscle is very, very closely related to the strength of the muscle or amount of tension that muscle can produce.  So why aren’t the biggest bodybuilders the strongest athletes?  Well, strongest at what?

 

This is an interesting question and the answer is part physiology, and part physics.  The physics part is pretty straightforward.  The human body applies strength through a system of levers, or bones.  The arrangement of these levers is just as important to how much force can be applied in any movement as the amount of tension the muscles involved can generate.

 

Let’s look at an example.  Donny Shankle is a pretty strong guy.  He also has an extremely long spine as a proportion of his height.  For a lifter proportioned like Donny, flexion/extension of the torso is always going to be difficult.  If you have trouble imagining why this would be, imagine you tried to hold a 1 meter stick with a 10 pounds attached to the end perfectly vertical.  Not too hard, but now imagine you tried to hold it at a 10 degree angle.  What about a 45 degree angle?  The 1 meter stick represents Donny’s spine, or the spine of anyone built like him.  Imagine how much easier it would be to hold the stick either at either angle if it was a 1 FOOT stick instead of 1 meter.

 

This is why Donny is a superior front squatter, where the torso is kept very close to vertical, a reasonable back squatter where the torso has a moderate forward lean, and a terrible deadlifter where the torso developes lots of forward lean.  Do you ever wonder why the world record holder in the squat rarely also holds the record in the deadlift?  Same reason.

 

Luckily for Donny, he chose a sport (weightlifting) that utilizes the body God gave him very well.  But the reason why the biggest muscle isn’t always the strongest has a physiological basis as well as a physics basis.  The weightlifting snatch and the powerlifting deadlift at first glance would seem to be very similar lifts.  Yet one regularly leads to the development of pretty big muscles, and one rarely does.  Now I love Weightlifting as much as anyone, and more than most, but let’s be honest.  A big snatch doesn’t automatically mean big muscles.  Developing a big snatch is as much about speed as it is about strength.  Applying force at high rates of speed is a neural adaptation more than a muscular one, and developing motor patterns is more important to snatching big than big muscles are.

 

Bodybuilding and weightlifting are two activities at opposite ends of the spectrum, and powerlifting is somewhere in the middle.  But just as you will never see a 500 pound bench press and a 5 minute mile done by the same person, you will never see a 20 inch arm and a 200kg snatch by the same person either..   Some things are just mutually exclusive.


Tour of England


 

I flew into Bristol Friday April 14th and I have been doing seminars in the UK for the last two weeks. The first one was at AFS CrossFit inAndover which was a pretty big seminar with 31 people attending. AFS is a nice gym and quite a few good lifters were in attendance. Chris Murray was probably the best, he is moving to 77 from 69 and was weighing about 74 on the day of the seminar. Very quick lifter who was also very consistent with his movements the whole day. He was able to snatch 125kg and tried 133kg for an all time PR but missed. He still had a hell of a day.  Quite a few people also attempted the Pendlay certification with several passing.  Overall a great introduction to the UK!


Another milestone.

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Two days after making 2k in 7 min 24 sec I tried a 5k, and this morning at 6 am and was able to record this time, 19;54.1, just barely faster than a 2 minute pace .   As usual, I was pretty good about sticking to my pace throughout.

I started thinking about thinking about doing a 5k below 20 minutes when I first got a rower, about 2 or 3 months after I had my stroke and started rowing seriously.  That was almost 2 years ago so this has been a pretty big milestone for quite a while and I am VERY glad I finally achiever it.

I just found out today that the OTC has a few C2 rowers, so I will be able to keep up my rowing while I am there for the world team camp.  I leave tomorrow, and will be there for almost 3 weeks, leading up to the World Championships in Houston.  I am trying to think of a good goal to try and hit while I am at the OTC and before I get back to South Carolina.  Anyone have any good ideas?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Tuesday, October 27th

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This has been a difficult week of training.  I have a 2k C2 Rowing contest on Saturday, so I have been trying to put in some extra work on the rower, but still keep up with my running.  This means for a while I was getting up early to do intervals (frequently 10ea 500 meter intervals with 1 min rest between) then running at lunch, then doing more rowing at night.

I am done with that part of my training at this point, so no more really high volume stuff.  At this point I am just rowing in the morning, and running at lunch.  Only two more days of that, actually, as I will not row or Thursday or Friday of this week, although I might still run on Thursday.   I am actually pretty nervous about the Rowing competition Saturday with Veronica (Jareds GF).  Something like this is so different than what I am used to that I really have no clue how to peak for it.  I have been rely;ing on my friend Jim Storch to help with that, but doing something this different is still a bit scary.

I included a picture of my new running shoes with this blog.  Since I am running around 3 miles a day now, I have to buy few shoes about every 4 weeks.  Anyone who knows me will know how hard it is for me to buy new shoes that often.

But, once this rowing thing is over I am leaving for the OTC for the pre-worlds camp, will be there for 2 weeks, then it is on to Houston for the world championships to watch Travis Cooper, Jared Fleming, Caine Wilkes, and Holley Mangold compete for Team USA.

Once that is over, it will be back to my normal boring life.


Rowing and more rowing.

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After my 5k run on Sunday, I woke up Monday morning and decided to give a 5k row another shot.  I managed to do it in 20 min and 12 seconds, a pretty decent PR and very close to my goal of 20 minutes flat.  I believe that I am going to have to do some intervals this week, because it would be very hard mentally to keep doing hard 5k’s every day.  I think 10ea 500 meter intervals might work!


Another 5k.

I ran my second 5k this morning.  My time was 34 minutes and 22 seconds, which is a little slower than what I wanted.  It is a little faster than my last race, but I was aiming for something a little closer to 32 minutes.  Oh well, it is about a minute and a half faster than I have done before, and in a few weeks I am sure my next one will be better.

The race was in Uptown Charlotte, and started right in front of the Nascar hall of fame,as you can see in the picture.  That is Kasey Kahne’s car behind me, and the race raised raised money for Novant Health Hemby Childrens Hospital.

I need to focus more on my rowing for the next couple of weeks anyway.  I challenged Veronica (Jared Flemings girlfriend) to a 2k rowing contest last night.  I plan to continue running 2.5 miles every afternoon, but for the next couple of weeks I am going to row a 5k each morning before work.  The race is supposed to happen on Halloween day.

I really, REALLY want to beat Veronica.

 

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A little rowing.

Rower

I have really been concentrating on running lately.  I just ran my first 5k a couple of weeks ago, and I am planning on another one next weekend.  On top of that, I just had my bike tuned up, and have started riding it to work which has been a change of pace and actually made me a little sore for a while.  But we had a weekend seminar at MDUSA this weekend, and it has been raining lately and between getting up about 3o min early for the seminar and the rain,  I did not run or ride this weekend.  I probably needed the rest but this afternoon I was feeling a little lazy so I decided to try and row a good time for a 5k.

My old PR for a 5k row was 21 min 15 sec, and  today I rowed a 5k in 20 minutes 42 seconds.   I stuck pretty close to a 2.o5 pace the whole way, and I definitely think a 20 min flat 5k is doable at this point.  In fact I think if I went back to rowing a 5k once a week for the next 2-3 weeks it wouldn’t be that hard.

I guess I will see this weekend if all this cross training pays off with a new 5k running PR…