Strong comes in all sizes

Strong comes in all sizes

I have the privilege to work out a couple mornings a week with one of
the strongest guys I know. Pete loads his barbell during warm-ups in
increments that weigh nearly as much as me. His deadlift alone is 100
pounds more than my bench, squat and deadlift combined. He brings
thundering old-school strength to his lifts, but I know he works hard
and pays attention to the details too. I’d have been intimidated to
talk to someone as strong as him in a gym a few months ago – the sight
of the massive weights stacked on the barbell would have sent me
scurrying like a mouse. No way would someone like that talk to a puny
beginner like me.

But I would have been wrong. Pete is generous with his knowledge. He
doesn’t see me as a slightly built newbie, he sees a fellow lifter
grinding through sometimes savagely hard workouts with the single goal
of getting stronger. He’s paused to spot me, to offer tips and ask
questions that help me see how I might improve.

We work from the same program that Ben developed for us, a three times
a week lifting series that rotates between work at 80, 85 and 90% of
our one-rep maxes on squat, bench and deadlift. The program is
identical – excepting the amount of weight of course. To that I’ll say
a heavy weight is a heavy weight whether you’re male or female, tall
or short, or seeking to bulk or to cut.

Our program also includes a lot of (mostly body weight) assistance
work meant to increase strength for the actual lifts. During the
course of a week we’re both doing equal numbers of anything from
push-ups and sit-ups to back extensions and body rows. Size has
nothing to do with these. A push-up is a push-up. Then of course we do
the dreaded prowler sprints. Those breath-sucking, muscle-annihilating
massacres, the heart-crushing dashes pushing a weighted sled that can
leave athletes in a quivering, heaving mess on the floor (or sidewalk,
as the case may be, as it was for me this morning). We run the same
distance for the same grueling number of reps, taking turns,with Pete
slinging on a couple extra big weights for his go.

We’re doing all the same work with the same goal in mind: stronger,
better, tougher. Size has got nothing to do with it. When it comes
down to it, it’s each man or woman fighting to lift the heaviest
weight they can. Obviously my numbers can’t compare to Pete’s but I
hope that with a lot of work, I can be as strong for my size as he is
for his.


One thought on “Strong comes in all sizes

  1. Great blog. I’m also a girl in a gym lifting as much as I can and I see the same respect from the guys there now. At the beginning it’s daunting, but it’s definitely worthwhile for the results.

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