"Balance" of physiological adaptations "Balance" of physiological adaptations

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Thread: "Balance" of physiological adaptations

  1. #1
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    Default "Balance" of physiological adaptations

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    Dear Coach or anyone else,

    I get the whole thing about strength being the holy grail of physical fitness, I understand the reasons and I of course agree with them because they're true.

    The thing I'm wondering is why, theoretically, strength specialization isn't optimal for everyone? I think the answer is quite simple and obvious but I have to double-check.

    I saw You talking to the Onnit guys. Aubrey said something like "so in sport X, one would have to find the balance... getting stronger results in increased muscle mass and thus bodyweight. So one ought to get stronger to the point prior to diminishing returns and that point is the one at which the added bodyweight consumes too much oxygen for the added strength to be valuable. Strength means more submaximal contractions which means that one can go longer/harder. But there's a sweetspot which is when the mass requires so much oxygen that it overrides the benefits of the added strength".

    You talked about climbing and said that if you made a 165lb climber 180lbs, he'd be a better climber. But that You wouldn't make him a 295lb elite powerlifter.

    My question is Why?

    I mean, my best guess is the "sweetspot" thing. At some point he's strong enough to make the climbing movements easy enough to be able to scale the rock without fatiguing, at which point added strength just means a heavier climber, which is a bad thing of course.

    But, my question is a bit broader than that in that, well, first of all you also said that a heavier engine doesn't slow the car down. Unless one gets fat, one's strength increases with the added mass, and there doesn't seem to be a point at which one's weight increases more than one's strength, so to speak. Is it perhaps that climbing a high wall requires adaptations in muscle & liver glycogen and other stuff? Is this hampered by extremely big muscles? Theoretically, if a day had 100 hours in it, is there a reason why an endurance athlete couldn't also be a strength specialist? Is there some point of diminishing returns that isn't only about time and recovery? Obviously a cyclist needs to undergo "endurance" adaptations (and become stronger!), but again, assuming that he could maximize his endurance adaptations while also maximizing his strength adaptations, is there a reason why maximizing strength would be bad rather than good or neutral? If it is, is it the added weight? If there's a sweetspot where one's strong enough and has the other physiological adaptations to complete the race at a certain pace, added strength -> added weight would seem to be stupid. Is it that simple or am I missing something?

    You also told them that one either has punching power or not. Explosiveness is as we all know innate. So that makes perfect sense. Assuming equal tecnique ("making oneself heavy" by sitting on the punch), the velocity of the punch is all that matters (which means acceleration which means motor unit recruitment because a punch takes very little time to perform and a fist offers very little resistance). BUT, I also remember reading a thread in which you said that it's important for a boxer to be strong assuming that it's important to be able to hit hard. I wonder why? Is it the added bodyweight i.e. added weight of the thrown projectile? Because I think you'd agree that one's punches don't become faster from added strength. Maybe it's the follow-through?

    That's it.

  2. #2
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    It has to do with several asymptotic approaches to limits. Discuss.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by adamanderson View Post

    You talked about climbing and said that if you made a 165lb climber 180lbs, he'd be a better climber. But that You wouldn't make him a 295lb elite powerlifter.

    My question is Why?
    .
    Imagine you are doing a pull up: in order to pull yourself up you have to produce enough force to overcome the force of gravity. However, both your own force production and the gravitational force is a function of your bodyweight, and your own production has diminishing returns after some point.

    I've illustrated the scenario in the following graph:

    DeepinScreenshot_select-area_20190822091042.jpg

    The force generated is asymptotically approaching the red dotted line as bodyweight, and therefore gravitational force, increases linearly. Peak performance occurs when the force generated minus the gravitational force is maximized.

  4. #4
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    Its a mistake to consider strength qua strength as being an absolute in competitive sports.

    Strength is an absolute for living life and competitive sport is an occupation. If the aim is to be as strong as possible, then competitive sport, as an occupation, must take second place. If, on the other hand, competitive sport is your livelihood, or your addiction, then strength becomes a necessary, but not a primary aim.

    The only way to know if strength training improves competitiveness is to add it into the specific sport training and measure the result. If the numbers go backwards, then it's clear that strength training isn't helping. The thing about serious strength training, is that it isn't even considered by many competitive sportsmen, which it clearly should be.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by adamanderson View Post
    You also told them that one either has punching power or not. Explosiveness is as we all know innate. So that makes perfect sense. Assuming equal tecnique ("making oneself heavy" by sitting on the punch), the velocity of the punch is all that matters (which means acceleration which means motor unit recruitment because a punch takes very little time to perform and a fist offers very little resistance). BUT, I also remember reading a thread in which you said that it's important for a boxer to be strong assuming that it's important to be able to hit hard. I wonder why? Is it the added bodyweight i.e. added weight of the thrown projectile? Because I think you'd agree that one's punches don't become faster from added strength. Maybe it's the follow-through?
    I can't speak to the rest of your post, it's too esoteric for a bear of very little brain like me. But I think I have at least some answer(s) to this particular question.

    If you strike with the hands, if you are trained properly, it isn't all just about upper body strength and explosiveness. The lower half of the body usually plays a big role in how hard that hand connects with it's intended target. When the punch originates at the feet, the ankles, calves, quads, glutes, hips (and other "core" muscles), lats, and traps all play a role in turning the striker's body into and behind that hand in linear projection.

    I may have some bad STEM terminology here, (bear of little brain, you understand) but the added mass of increased body weight contributes to the impact transmitted into the target. So, heavier hitter, harder impact in the target. Consider the effect of dropping (bending the knee) of the right leg when a right handed punch is thrown. Without having used any more coiled action of the muscles involved, more of the body weight of the striker through the connivance of gravity is conveyed behind their hand.

    Now lest this be considered some of my mere Eastern ooga-booga, this falling step technique was used and celebrated by the boxing great Jack Dempsey. Although the technique is also used in many Asian striking arts as well.

    Hence, punching isn't just about speed.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    It has to do with several asymptotic approaches to limits. Discuss.
    I had to google this shit. Does it simply mean diminishing returns? IE the effort it takes to get stronger is just not worth the tiny adaptation?

  7. #7
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    At some point he's strong enough to make the climbing movements easy enough to be able to scale the rock without fatiguing, at which point added strength just means a heavier climber, which is a bad thing of course.
    Just because someone is strong AF does not mean they cannot fatigue.

    For the boxing question - read the section in the book about the power clean.

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    Right. If one theoretically had the training and recovery time to get to approach one's genetic strength and endurance maxes to the point of almost touching them, would the athlete be able to run the Marathon in under 3h? I'm guessing that No. Because it doesn't take long for a person to reach their genetic limit for VO2max. Sure there are other factors, other more permanent adaptations. But it still seems like a huge powerlifter who's got great endurance would lose to the skinny runner. Hence there seems to be a point of balance between the different physiological adaptations at which optimum performance is attained. I'm just curious as to what factors cause that point to be.

    Each stride is very submaximal for him. Yet there's a lot of mass to move around, but again, it becomes more submaximal the stronger he is ... It feels as if it makes sense that he wouldn't be optimal for a marathon, but I can't nail down exactly Why.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FatButWeak View Post
    I had to google this shit. Does it simply mean diminishing returns? IE the effort it takes to get stronger is just not worth the tiny adaptation?
    An asymptote is just a function's limit. Like the function y = 5 - 1/x has an asymptote at 5. As x increases towards infinity, (1/x) approaches 0, and the function itself approaches 5, but never actually reaches it. That's an asymptote. The red dotted line in the graph in my previous reply is the blue function's asymptote.

  10. #10
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    Thanks moargainz, this was very helpful.

    Yeah, I thought as much. The point of diminish returns would have to mean that the engine becomes too heavy to propel forward. But one thing I'm wondering about this is, sure, if bodyweight increases linearly (then ofc gravitational pull would increase linearly as well), isn't that referring to getting fat? Or does more muscle at some point give diminishing returns in this way? Muscle is what produces force, so I would have to guess that No. That's why, in the OP, I said something along the lines of If one gets heavier (in muscle mass) then one becomes harder to move, but, that mass which has to be moved is what makes moving it more submaximal ... I of course get the point, I'm just wondering if there's ever a point where force producing tissue aka muscle becomes harder to move with increased muscle, or if we're talking about fat and water.

    it isn't all just about upper body strength and explosiveness
    No of course not.

    Yes the bodyweight plays a role. It can be pictured as throwing a collection of particles at the target. The more particles, the higher the impact, as you say. Besides that, it's about the velocity at the moment of impact (and throughout the follow-through). But ... at some point max speed will have been attained (prolly at the first training session, since explosiveness is an innate quality) and technique will have been polished. Sure a thicker guy will hit harder, but then we have the diminishing returns wrt endurance to consider, as well as weight classes, range vs punching power, etc. Point is that I remember Mark saying in that thread that strength is important for hitting hard. However, more strength doesn't make the fist fly faster, so isn't it then the bodyweight that's in question? Now sure it's better to put on muscle than fat. Both are heavy, but as long as strength is increased at least speed isn't lost, while that would be the case with fat.

    In short, I know that weight classes in PL are really height classes in disguise.

    Muscle is that which moves weight. One would think that the more muscle you gain (assuming you don't gain fat), and the higher the percentage of your bodyweight that is muscle mass, the stronger you would be in relation to your bodyweight.

    So although I get the point of maximizing the ratio between your force production ability and the force of gravity on your bodyweight .. it just seems as if that ratio always improves, as long as you keep adding muscle WITHOUT adding fat. I believe you when you say that there is indeed a point, I just don't really see how that's possible.

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