Topic: Gym Strong vs. "Real World" Strong  (Read 4734 times)

Offline dammit

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Gym Strong vs. "Real World" Strong
« on: July 26, 2010, 01:14:56 PM »
So, this is is a topic that has frequented my mind lately and it certainly came to light yesterday as I cleared up some land.  Let me lay down the scenario for you:

We're getting ready for our wedding and the place that our tent is going to be set up is in the midst of an old Apple-Orchard which now has my in-law's house in the middle.  Since the tree's have been left to grow on their own and are likely over 100 years old, you can imagine how many dead branches and trunks there were.  So all day yesterday (at least a good portion of it) I hauled the heavy limbs and stumps to the edge of the yard and hurled them over the edge and down the embankment. 

Nothing in the gym compares to or prepares you for that kind of movements.  Pulling a 200+lbs branch 50 yards that's adding weight with long grass and then having to lift and toss it is not something you can mimic easily in the gym.  I even drank Jack3d before knowing it was going to be a rough one.  Dragging heavy tree branches and throwing them was a combination of legs, torso, arms, forearms, shoulders and just about everything else.  Then, very similar to atlas stones, was deadlifting via bear-hug some stumps into a wheel barrow to move those around. 

Now, being from NH, this is nothing new to me since we have plenty of tree's to move after every storm or winter.  But, this brings to light how big the gap can be between "gym-strength" like benching, squatting, curling, etc..., and then "real-world" strong such as pushing a car, pulling debris, throwing out trash, etc...  I've noticed that when alot of actors are gearing up for movies, instead of hitting a common gym, they tend to head towards a GymJones type of place where functional training is the dominant style.  There is a gym near me that has been open for a year or two now and they do almost strictly functional training for Combat Training, Ju-Jitsu (MMA), and Boot Camp.  They focus on tire flips, rope-work, and body-weight exercises more-so than static lifts.  I'll be heading over there soon as they gave me a free pass to check it out for a week.

So, to those of you who've noticed that being strong in the gym doesn't necessarily increase your bat speed, help you throw a body in MMA, drag branches through your yard or anything else, what do you do?  I remember being a kid in gym class when they used to let you climb those 40' ropes up to the ceiling.  Those have been long-gone but they were functional!  Throw out some ideas here for those looking for something that'll give them an edge in day-to-day performance.


Note: I'm in no way going to back down from workouts that are proven to add mass because I'm totally vain and want to get bigger. ;)  However, being able to bench press 350lbs doesn't mean you're the stronger guy in the arena.  Anyone who's ever fought or performed in "outdoor" games knows the gym will keep you fit but not necessarily "fit" for your profession.
If you have one foot stuck in yesterday and one foot stuck in tomorrow, you are peeing on today.
 

Offline SunnyDzero

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Re: Gym Strong vs. "Real World" Strong
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2010, 01:20:32 PM »
i know what yours saying bro! i worked for my uncles friend at a christmas tree stand right after our 2 feet of snow right before christmas i live in MD btw now 2 feet of snow plus 7-8 foot sometimes 9-10 foot trees shoveling some snow off the tree then picking it up and moving them for 13 hours that day ill tell ya what i was exhausted!
 

Offline gridironwec

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Re: Gym Strong vs. "Real World" Strong
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2010, 01:27:28 PM »
I completely understand where you are coming from. That's why I love going to NX Level; I hope you guys know what this is. For football, they had us do tire flips, hit the tires with sledge-hammers, fireman carries and a whole other array of various exercises that can't be done with normal weights. They really preached to us about static movement and using your entire body during football. They also on sprinting (may seem random) that you flex core muscles to help you be faster. Now, all that stuff is new to me and I never really knew how to do it. I actually came out of that place being able to outrun our running backs that weigh 150-180 pounds (note that I'm line backer and I ran the 40 in 4.56 sec) and am still able to toss around a 300 pound lineman if I have to. Yes... I consider myself a freak.
The world aint all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it aint about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.
 

Offline Durden998

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Re: Gym Strong vs. "Real World" Strong
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2010, 01:29:43 PM »
To me theres a big difference between being gym strong and what I call work strong. In a gym we tend to move things in one plane(up, down, to the side, etc...)but people who are work strong move things in mult. planes all day long. I could whip my dads ass in a gym but you get me and him in the field or in the shop and he can lift strangly shaped things alot easier than I can. The only reason being strong at all is a concern to me is because I know I can add mre overload to my muscles the stronger I am. If I thought I could add muscle mass by lifting 2 lb weights then thats what I do. As far as "functional" strength goes I could really care less, my goal is to add as much muscle mass to my frame as I possibly can, but if you're an athlete or MMA guy then you'd def be concerned with the functional stuff.
Fear not the army of wolves led by the sheep
Fear the army of sheep led by the wolf
 

Offline SunnyDzero

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Re: Gym Strong vs. "Real World" Strong
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2010, 01:30:57 PM »
oh them tire flips and sledghammer drills :o for wrestling we had to run steps for about 2 hours then we got to lift our weight class up the steps for 30 min. well my weightclass partner was out i was 170 at the time and had to carry a big 230 weightclass guy was dispicable
 

Offline dammit

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Re: Gym Strong vs. "Real World" Strong
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2010, 01:35:34 PM »
To me theres a big difference between being gym strong and what I call work strong. In a gym we tend to move things in one plane(up, down, to the side, etc...)but people who are work strong move things in mult. planes all day long. I could whip my dads ass in a gym but you get me and him in the field or in the shop and he can lift strangly shaped things alot easier than I can. The only reason being strong at all is a concern to me is because I know I can add mre overload to my muscles the stronger I am. If I thought I could add muscle mass by lifting 2 lb weights then thats what I do. As far as "functional" strength goes I could really care less, my goal is to add as much muscle mass to my frame as I possibly can, but if you're an athlete or MMA guy then you'd def be concerned with the functional stuff.

Really agree with you here.  I tell my Dad that I am benching 300lbs and he laughs, saying he could barely hit 200lbs with help.  But when it comes to moving trees or engines or whatever else, he makes up for two of me.  I'm happy with my strength in static terms but knew this morning that I was certainly "out of shape" for hauling trees.  Another day of that and I'd be sore for a week.  I just found it funny that something I knew couldn't weight more than 100lbs would have be barely breathing while it'd be nothing for me to toss that on a bar and hoist it over my head. 

If I got into MMA I'd certainly swap up my routine and although functional training seems much more adept at cutting you up rather than bulking you up, I'm keeping my gym time in the gym for now with iron.  Like I said, I'd like to get up to around 210lbs and then maybe switch to functional for a bit till I shredded down to 190ish.
If you have one foot stuck in yesterday and one foot stuck in tomorrow, you are peeing on today.
 

Offline Durden998

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Re: Gym Strong vs. "Real World" Strong
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2010, 01:38:29 PM »
I dont consider myself an athlete anymore I'm a weight lifter, so I lift weights. Could a 130 pound MMA guy leverage me to the ground? Yes prob in about 2 seconds, and thats why I'm a weight lifter and not a MMA guy.
Fear not the army of wolves led by the sheep
Fear the army of sheep led by the wolf
 

Offline kerner530

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Re: Gym Strong vs. "Real World" Strong
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2010, 02:23:30 PM »
I completely agree with what everyone is saying. I personally have worked almost every field of construction from laying down asphalt to masonry to demolition during my summers off from school. Almost everyone that i have worked with has kicked my ass. Granted they have done this all their lives but even with the strength i have, i couldn't hold a flame to their torch. I just look at myself the whole 6-2 225 and think how the hell are they out doing me. But they are real world strong, im only gym strong. Personal experience here. I worked with my uncle laying down asphalt with another guy who is no lie 73 years old, my father worked with him before i was even born. We had to ALOT of hand shoveling and he out did me atleast 3 to 1. Let me tell you he kicked my ass that day.
The more difficulties one has to encounter, within and without, the more significant and the higher in inspiration his life will be.
 

Offline greg10

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Re: Gym Strong vs. "Real World" Strong
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2010, 02:29:47 PM »
agreed dammit.  In my opinion the only way to get better at dragging limbs is to drag limbs.  After a while it will get easier, just like lifting weights.  But when you go to split firewood with an axe, or dig a ditch with a pick and shovel, you will be back to square 1.  So I think you can do all the real world work you want to, but each time you do something new it will be a shock to your body.  That's what i've noticed from personal experience.
 

Offline jmlstocks

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Re: Gym Strong vs. "Real World" Strong
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2010, 02:38:00 PM »
dammit, I know exactly what your talking about as far as gym strength vs real world/sports/functional strength.  There is a really good book I purchased about a year ago that was very eye opening and dealt with this very concept.  It is a football conditioning book called "Complete Conditioning for Football."  It is written by Michael Arthur and Bryan Bailey who are the strength and conditioning coaches for the Univ of Nebraska football team.  In a nutshell it talked about a lot of fb players lifting the "wrong" way and that they were trying to lift for strength instead of power.  They said the proper way to lift for fb is to lift explosively (very fast) in order to work your fast twitch muscles.  Their favorite exercises for explosiveness were the Hang Clean, Rack Clean, Clean Shrug, Box Snatch, Hang Snatch, and Power Press.  Also gave a lot of plyometric type exercises for speed and agility.  Seems to be a good book whether your training for football, baseball, mma, or any of the more explosive sports.  Definately a good read even if you're not training for fb.
Lift Tracker:

Decline Bench:           340           Leg Press: 1713 (calculated max)                         Barbell Row: 313
Decline Bench            433
(with Slingshot-calculated max)   Trap Bar Deadlift 629
Seated Military Press: 220
Traditional Deadlift:    505
 

Offline Spdgreddy86

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Re: Gym Strong vs. "Real World" Strong
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2010, 03:24:47 PM »
I know a little bit about this. When I was in prison I could bench 300 pounds on a smith machine, but when It came to working in the fields creating/lifting and carrying 80lb potato sacs up and down turn-rows all day it made you not wanna workout in the evenings. Just doing that all day was a full bodied endurance workout. I dunno if any of yall have ever seen an 80 pound bag of potato's before but its about the same size as two rolled up sleeping bags on top of each other. 80 pounds isn't nothing but a big old bag that shifts its weight every step you take is pretty heavy. Resting it on your head doesn't help much either...you'd know if you ever walked through farm land before...
 

Offline dammit

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Re: Gym Strong vs. "Real World" Strong
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2010, 05:10:14 PM »
I know a little bit about this. When I was in prison I could bench 300 pounds on a smith machine, but when It came to working in the fields creating/lifting and carrying 80lb potato sacs up and down turn-rows all day it made you not wanna workout in the evenings. Just doing that all day was a full bodied endurance workout. I dunno if any of yall have ever seen an 80 pound bag of potato's before but its about the same size as two rolled up sleeping bags on top of each other. 80 pounds isn't nothing but a big old bag that shifts its weight every step you take is pretty heavy. Resting it on your head doesn't help much either...you'd know if you ever walked through farm land before...

Yeah, I'm old enough to remember having to grab a couple bags with my brothers when we were younger and they are no joke.  It's like carrying a drunken 150lb friend who's dead-weight is more like 250lbs. 

@Durden: I'm in total agreement with you in that right now, I'm a lifter and that's what I do and what I'm good at (or like to think so anyhow  :D).  Eventually, when my bodie's worn out from lifting, I'll opt for something that'll condition me for other challenges.

@Greg, that's a damn good post.  It's not just everytime you do something new...sometimes its new after just a few seasons.  Shoveling snow for example.  I do it EVERY winter and for the most part I love it!  I get a great workout and can work both sides of my body equally.  Problem is, it takes the first few storms before my body gets broken-in again.
If you have one foot stuck in yesterday and one foot stuck in tomorrow, you are peeing on today.
 

Offline kcitykid

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Re: Gym Strong vs. "Real World" Strong
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2010, 06:16:43 PM »
Crossfit...
Lift to beat yourself, not everyone else.

~The weight room is a grown man's playground~
 

Offline SoulMonkey

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Re: Gym Strong vs. "Real World" Strong
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2010, 10:57:43 PM »
I don't know about you guys, I apply a lot of lifting techniques to my job where I have to lift 50-200 pound odd shaped objects that constantly shift weight quite often 5 days a week. I actually noticed more ease when I applied a deadlift technique I saw on youtube and now I can lift so much more haul without much strain on my back or calling for a coworker to help out. In fact, I love my new found strengths and the like.
 

Offline dammit

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Re: Gym Strong vs. "Real World" Strong
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2010, 06:00:07 AM »
I don't know about you guys, I apply a lot of lifting techniques to my job where I have to lift 50-200 pound odd shaped objects that constantly shift weight quite often 5 days a week. I actually noticed more ease when I applied a deadlift technique I saw on youtube and now I can lift so much more haul without much strain on my back or calling for a coworker to help out. In fact, I love my new found strengths and the like.

Static lifting or getting something off the floor certainly is aided by doing gym-lifts like dead's.  It's the carrying part that is missed in the gym.  When I was trying to lift the stumps and heavier pieces cut up with the chainsaw, I was dead-lifting them up and into a wheel-barrow which was certainly helped by dead-lifting in the gym.  When it came to carrying them...that pretty much drained me.
If you have one foot stuck in yesterday and one foot stuck in tomorrow, you are peeing on today.