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Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

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Old 02-20-2014, 06:50 PM   #1
Alex Chaney
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Who has a stronger upper body a gymnast or weightlifter/powerlifter?

Title says it all
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Old 02-20-2014, 07:30 PM   #2
Matt Thomas
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Re: Who has a stronger upper body a gymnast or weightlifter/powerlifter?

This thread is not going to end well.
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Old 02-20-2014, 07:35 PM   #3
Frank Ngo
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Re: Who has a stronger upper body a gymnast or weightlifter/powerlifter?

I would say the following:

Relative strength = gymnasts

Absolute strength = power lifter

Explosive strength = weight lifter


Why the question though?
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Old 02-20-2014, 07:38 PM   #4
Alex Chaney
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Re: Who has a stronger upper body a gymnast or weightlifter/powerlifter?

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Originally Posted by Frank Ngo View Post
I would say the following:

Relative strength = gymnasts

Absolute strength = power lifter

Explosive strength = weight lifter


Why the question though?
Having an conversation/argument with my friend conversing which method produces the best upper bodies. If you had to pick one for all three types of strength, which would it be?
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Old 02-20-2014, 07:45 PM   #5
Jeff Enge
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Re: Who has a stronger upper body a gymnast or weightlifter/powerlifter?

I don't think this question could get much more subjective. It all depends upon what test you use to determine what "best upper body" is. And what exactly you define as "upper body."
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:00 PM   #6
Alex Chaney
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Re: Who has a stronger upper body a gymnast or weightlifter/powerlifter?

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I don't think this question could get much more subjective. It all depends upon what test you use to determine what "best upper body" is. And what exactly you define as "upper body."
If you had different upper body events (kinda like crossfit but strength not cardio) that included relative, absolute and speed strength, who would come out on top? Also I disagree oly lifters have the speed strength advantage for upper body considering top powerlifters hit heavy dynamic bench presses.
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:07 PM   #7
Dakota Base
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Re: Who has a stronger upper body a gymnast or weightlifter/powerlifter?

As a direct answer to the direct question "who has a stronger upperbody, a gymnast or a weightlifter/powerlifter?"

Classifying the "weightlifter" as an "olympic weightlifter", then I'd say powerlifter, without a doubt.

Sure, the gymnast can do more push ups and pull ups, but that's not a measure of strength. That's a measure of relative strength (pound for pound) and muscular endurance. The powerlifter will be on a bench more than all of them, do weighted pull downs more than the others, and deadlift. Chest and lat development for RAW STRENGTH (remember, the question is who has a STRONGER upper body?") will be FAR more powerful in the powerlifter than the others.

If you're making subjective analyses of "best upper bodies," then the conversation is just stupid, and likely, considering the subjective nature, you've neglected the obvious winner: the Bodybuilder. Out of your cherry picked list, then it's likely the gymnast, since cosmetically, he'll be the most ripped, whereas the olymipic weighlifter and powerlifter won't be as lean. But since I don't care to partake in the conversation of 17yr old girls about which guy is hotter, I'll end my involvement in this.
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:09 PM   #8
Alex Chaney
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Re: Who has a stronger upper body a gymnast or weightlifter/powerlifter?

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Originally Posted by Dakota Base View Post
As a direct answer to the direct question "who has a stronger upperbody, a gymnast or a weightlifter/powerlifter?"

Classifying the "weightlifter" as an "olympic weightlifter", then I'd say powerlifter, without a doubt.

Sure, the gymnast can do more push ups and pull ups, but that's not a measure of strength. That's a measure of relative strength (pound for pound) and muscular endurance. The powerlifter will be on a bench more than all of them, do weighted pull downs more than the others, and deadlift. Chest and lat development for RAW STRENGTH (remember, the question is who has a STRONGER upper body?") will be FAR more powerful in the powerlifter than the others.

If you're making subjective analyses of "best upper bodies," then the conversation is just stupid, and likely, considering the subjective nature, you've neglected the obvious winner: the Bodybuilder. Out of your cherry picked list, then it's likely the gymnast, since cosmetically, he'll be the most ripped, whereas the olymipic weighlifter and powerlifter won't be as lean. But since I don't care to partake in the conversation of 17yr old girls about which guy is hotter, I'll end my involvement in this.
Thanks for the input man!
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:12 PM   #9
Jeff Enge
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Re: Who has a stronger upper body a gymnast or weightlifter/powerlifter?

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Originally Posted by Alex Chaney View Post
If you had different upper body events (kinda like crossfit but strength not cardio) that included relative, absolute and speed strength, who would come out on top? Also I disagree oly lifters have the speed strength advantage for upper body considering top powerlifters hit heavy dynamic bench presses.
Again, what exactly is "coming out on top?" Pure Olympic weightlifter probably "loses," the sport doesn't need to train for pure upper body strength, though we do push and pull often. Then the question is do you consider being better at manipulating your bodyweight with you upper body or manipulating an external object with your upper body to be better?
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Old 02-20-2014, 09:06 PM   #10
Matt Thomas
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Re: Who has a stronger upper body a gymnast or weightlifter/powerlifter?

It's a really hard question to answer because there's almost no way to test it that doesn't slant toward one's specialization.

I personally do think the upper body strength of a high level gymnast is going to transfer better to the other two disciplines than vice versa. A high level gymnast would probably have a very respectable bench and could probably get a decent amount of weight overhead. Powerlifting and weightlifting will probably transfer decently to each other, but neither will help very much on gymnastics type strength.

However, I think I just answered which type of strength is the most versatile. But best? Who knows. The gymnasts strength is definitely going to be quantified in relative terms, not absolute. It's almost impossible to answer. You have to answer it in the context of "stronger at what?"
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