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Thread: Amputee Questions

  1. #1
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    Hi Mark and others,
    Have a few random questions that you may be able to give me some guidance on, but they are from outside of your normal purview. Big fan of yours in general but I'm rusty on some concepts.
    Background: I am a male above knee amputee. About a year ago I started looking into Paralympic sports that I could possibly compete in. Since then I have lost a lot of weight through diet, running, and weight lifting. Currently sitting at 233 lbs and 6'4''. Recently, I became aware of ParaPowerlifting which is really just the bench press with your legs strapped to the bench at thigh level. The athlete from the USA maxed out at 379lbs for the 235lb and under weight class and the world record is around 530 at this weight class. I've done 315 a few different times since I was 20, with last time was a few years ago when I was attempting Starting Strength style LP(currently sitting at probably 225-250). The next Paralympic Summer games is September 2020 in Tokyo which would give me over 2 1/2 years to pursue this goal. I think with dedication 400 is certainly doable and while unlikely 500+ is not impossible. The main complication is that I can't gain past 235 for a variety of reasons.

    Current Plan:
    Goal is to lose 20-30 lbs in next two-three months while doing basic maintenance strength training.
    Start Starting Strength style LP with moderate caloric surplus until stall my guess is that this should take me to close to PR's
    Then settle into a bench centered program for the long haul

    Questions:
    Does it make sense to lose weight first then grow with a standard LP or do you recommend a slower recomp style diet coupled with the training in this scenario?
    Any recommendations on a program to prioritize the bench press? I do want to maintain a certain amount of lower body strength, but I don't think I can afford to gain a lot of mass there.
    I can't squat. I can do front and back box squats, leg press, and smith machine squats etc. Which should I prioritize for strength gain?


    SORRY FOR THE NOVEL. Any guidance here would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    It never makes sense to lose weight first and get strong later, because every bodyweight loss is composed of both LBM and fat, especially in the absence of training. Priority bench press would be MF bench, Wednesday pressing. Programs are found in PPST3. Do whatever lower body work you can, it will not compromise your bench press.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for taking the time to reply. I will certainly check out PPST3.
    Is it fair to say that in the absence of being able to gain weight, you favor a slow body recomposition over cut/bulk cycles?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    It never makes sense to lose weight first and get strong later, because every bodyweight loss is composed of both LBM and fat...
    To clarify, do you mean "it never makes sense to lose weight first, AT THE EXPENSE OF STRENGTH, and get strong later..."

    I mean there are obvious caveats with this, right? A 500lb man with diabetes would surely do better to lose 200lbs (while concurrently gaining strength) than to simply gain strength.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheSugarfoot View Post
    Thanks for taking the time to reply. I will certainly check out PPST3.
    Is it fair to say that in the absence of being able to gain weight, you favor a slow body recomposition over cut/bulk cycles?
    Explain again why you CANNOT gain any weight?

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewLewis View Post
    To clarify, do you mean "it never makes sense to lose weight first, AT THE EXPENSE OF STRENGTH, and get strong later..."

    I mean there are obvious caveats with this, right? A 500lb man with diabetes would surely do better to lose 200lbs (while concurrently gaining strength) than to simply gain strength.
    There are always caveats. The 500-pound man, yes. The 350-pound man, absolutely not. I apologize -- I thought that was obvious.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    Explain again why you CANNOT gain any weight?
    Most pressing reason is that I simply won't be able to fit into my prosthesis. I have one that is very form fitting. I can lose weight and add socks like a shoe that is too big, but if I gain, I'm on crutches.
    Other reasons are that in the weight class above 235 I don't think I can compete as the current record stands at 689. Also, health reasons just being an amputee your joints in the knee, hip, and lower back are already doing extra work, so being strong without excess mass is ideal.
    My muscle mass itself actually isn't terrible, but I guesstimate that I am currently still carrying about 20-30 unnecessary lbs of bodyfat. (BF% ~20%)

  7. #7
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    Fitting into your prosthesis is obviously important, especially if money is tight for an update. But this statement
    "Also, health reasons just being an amputee your joints in the knee, hip, and lower back are already doing extra work, so being strong without excess mass is ideal."
    doesn't really make that much sense. Muscles get stronger by growing, and that is the only mechanism by which strength improves after an initial short period of neuromuscular efficiency improvement. Being strong without excess fat, yes, but "mass"?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    Fitting into your prosthesis is obviously important, especially if money is tight for an update. But this statement

    doesn't really make that much sense. Muscles get stronger by growing, and that is the only mechanism by which strength improves after an initial short period of neuromuscular efficiency improvement. Being strong without excess fat, yes, but "mass"?
    This is just me misspeaking. By excess mass that does not contribute to strength I meant fat mass.

  9. #9
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    There is a woman named Dana Shealey who competes in powerlifting with a prosthetic leg. I've seen her lift and she's a very hard working and dedicated individual. I've never asked her about the specifics of her training, but she serves as an example that you can gain more lower body strength than you might think even with one leg.

    YouTube

  10. #10
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    starting strength coach development program
    Quote Originally Posted by hamburgerfan View Post
    There is a woman named Dana Shealey who competes in powerlifting with a prosthetic leg. I've seen her lift and she's a very hard working and dedicated individual. I've never asked her about the specifics of her training, but she serves as an example that you can gain more lower body strength than you might think even with one leg.

    YouTube
    Do they have her weigh in with the prosthetic on?

    Wasn't there some dude that only benched and had no legs and he just crushed his weight division? I'd be interested to see how they handle this.

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