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Evaluating Lift Quality

Written by Mr. WellCultured, Monday, September 28th, 2015 in Fitness, Q&As

I don’t wanna compete in powerlifting. How do I know if I’m strong?

This is a big question, so I’ll cut it down a bit – I’m assuming you’re concerned about strength and not necessarily aesthetics.  The former involves your ability to lift heavy things, the latter is something you can see in a mirror.

Strength is hard to evaluate because height, body weight, gender, and a number of other factors impede 1:1 strength comparisons between lifters.  For example, the ratio of the length major bones in the leg can significantly assist or impede squat strength – and that’s obviously not something you can change.  With that being said, you should never directly evaluate yourself against other lifters at the gym: simply put, you are not them.

The best tool for strength evaluation I’m currently aware of that doesn’t involve fairly involved math is Symmetric Strength:

http://symmetricstrength.com/

Symmetric Strength is a site that gives you an overall idea of your strength – compared with lifters of your weight, age, and gender – and where specific imbalances in your musculature exist.  While there is no requirement that your entire body be perfectly symmetrical (after all, as I said above, all lifters are different), it helps identify key areas for improvement and gives you an important reference point for future lifting.

With all of that said, please do not obsess over strength – be it comparatively or in terms of numbers.  Strength training is as much about persistence as much as it is about good programming and planning.  It is very likely that it will take you years to get truly “impressive” numbers, as otherwise such numbers wouldn’t be impressive in the first place.

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