Are you trying to know if body fat makes an athlete perform better at power lifting or other sports activities? On this post today I’ll be discussing with you about body fat and muscles and which is better.
Very few strength athletes compete in an openly ended weight limit sport which means that very few power lifters compete as a super heavy weight, which means that you are allowed to be 108 pounds heavier with no top age limit, those people are competing in weight classes.
The over whelming majority ain’t the same with other strength sports and even when you get admitted to something like the NFL. You only weigh so much for them because they require conditioning and if you weigh 400 pounds, you are going to run out of gas during sports activities.
Why are so many powerlifters holding a lot of body fat?
So we get into the question of why are so many of these power lifters holding a lot of body fat?
Well the answer is kind of simple: You lose strength when you cut, it might be a little temporary and also a lot of guys have successfully dropped weight classes through purely losing fat, lost strength and then regain their strength and rebuild it back to where they were, or even passed it, but it takes a lot of time, and a lot of strength athletes do not want to do that for obvious reasons, no body who focuses on strength wants to get weaker, and we know that the mere act of eating more food improves performance during the time you are doing it.
so again someone who seeks to make a specific amount of progress definitely wants to consume more and more food.
Furthermore, body weight itself makes you a lot stronger whether it is fat or muscle due to pure leverages, but when you get into the context of weight classes, adding even 10 percent of muscle will go a lengthier way to improve your strength, then adding 10 percent of body fat would.
The Practical Example
Let’s say we are dealing with a drug-free athlete who is competing in the 90-kilo class and he is 24 percent body fat and another 12 percent body fat, who is going to perform better? All other factors being equal like similar leverages, genetics, training background, training styles in the 90-kilo class, so we are talking 12 percent body fat versus 24 percent body fat.
Apparently the guy with 12 percent body fat is going to have a lot more lean mass and is gonna have a lot more room to have muscle mass. In fact that 12 percent gap between them is up to 10 kilos, and 10 kilos of muscle could put a hell lot of strength in you if it is strategically placed for your particular sport or let’s say power lifting.
10kg of muscle placed in the right spots like your arms, legs pecs, etc. is sure to boost your total strength dramatically, while the extra 10 kilos of fat will make you just slightly stronger due to leverages, but will not give you the kind of juice ten kilos of muscle would.
As a matter of fact, if a drug-free guy carries 24 percent fat in the 90kilo class, I would recommend that he cuts down and compete in the 82kilo class. If he has a nice long off season in between and he’s got three to four months to cut and grow back into his strength over the course of another two to three months, he could perform much better and be a lot more competitive in the 82kilo class.
However, he might lose just a little bit of strength from where he used to be at the 90kilo class but his hook score will be dramatically better because again losing up to 8 to 10 kilos of body weight is going to take some strength off him, and no matter what, he will lose some leverages, but his pound for pound strength is going to be a whole lot better the moment he regains strength, particularly if he reaches where he once was in terms of strength in the 90kilo class.
3 Lean World Record Holders
I’ll mention three world record holders who are 10 percent or lower in body fat when they compete in power lifting.
Stan Efferdin in the 275 pounds, he is an IFBB pro body builder and power lifters, this guy stays really lean all year round.
Dan Green this guy gets in with the single digit, he is the 242 world record holder, another slim achiever.
This guy is in the 181 pounds, he is a world record holder, I think he might be edged out by now, but I am not very sure. He is very very lean and carries about six to seven body fat.
So these guys tend to be very lean, but they are untested and are obviously allowed to use PED’s all year round, they could get away with this.
But for drug-free guys I’m going to advise that you do not get under about 10percent body fat, for most of you, the ideal strength is going to be somewhere around the ten percent range for pound to pound strength, but there are exceptions;
The genetic freaks: These guys can be ultra strong at seven to ten percent body fat, of course, they are very very rare, these are people who are naturally 10percent body fat before they even get into weight lifting, they are the set of individuals that when they bulk they do not go over 12percent body fat.
So the genetically rare individuals could get away with being leaner, but most people can’t, so if you are under about ten percent your strength is definitely going to take a hit, because you require body fat for every thing from hormone production to energy and everything else as a drug free guy, however, you are going to be better of pound for pound at say 20 percent body fat.
So does fat make you stronger?
Yes, it does make you slightly stronger in a certain amount of factors, but if you are competing in a weight class and you are capable of holding enough muscles to be lean, you are going to be so much better off.
In fact it matters in all sports, all sports are weight class spaced and even when you are dealing with field athletes, you run into similar situations because they can only carry so much body weight even if it is body fat or muscle before it eventually hinders their performance in the field like in American Football or rugby and if they can have that said weight in muscle they are going to perform better.
So even if they do not have a weight class, they still have weight limits regarding what they can handle while maintaining their conditioning and ability to perform the entire competitive event. Hopefully, this clarifies that and makes a little more sense for everyone.
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