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Old 07-17-2010, 03:21 PM   #11
Daniel Sonsini
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Re: Speal Strength

Quote:
Originally Posted by Latham Fell View Post
I wasn't trying to get into the "is it fair" argument. I'm just not sure it's useful to characterize Speal's lack of absolute strength as a "weakness." That implies something that can be targeted and eliminated by good programming. In his case, it's more of a physiological limitation than a weakness. But, that's just semantics.

My question is really this: is it possible to build a 135 lb athlete who can win the Games?

Of course, the way things are going right now in LA, we might just have our answer tomorrow!
The way CrooFit is now, I belive it is possible. The Games are showing proof of this.
It seems though CF is getting heavier and heavier every year. 95# standard is now 135#-155#. 225# is now 275#. We'll have to see if 'smaller' athletes can keep up.
Spealler is so proficient in his technique that he can hold is own with the 'big boys.'
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Old 07-17-2010, 03:41 PM   #12
Steven Low
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Re: Speal Strength

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Originally Posted by Latham Fell View Post
I wasn't trying to get into the "is it fair" argument. I'm just not sure it's useful to characterize Speal's lack of absolute strength as a "weakness." That implies something that can be targeted and eliminated by good programming. In his case, it's more of a physiological limitation than a weakness. But, that's just semantics.

My question is really this: is it possible to build a 135 lb athlete who can win the Games?

Of course, the way things are going right now in LA, we might just have our answer tomorrow!
So far the games have been relatively playing to his strengths. I assume there's going to be at least 2 more near max or max effort events (if we were to compare to last years games)... so that could change drastically.

Physiological limitation or weakness... it's the same thing in a competition where the programming is seemingly going to keep on biasing towards stronger athletes even with longer metabolic workouts/distances being added in.

I mean some of the stronger guys like Rob Orlando, Tommy Hackenbruck, etc. have some pretty impressive conditioning to where they can keep up with Spealler almost as good.... but then max effort strength is a limitation that's harder to break.


It really still is what it is. It's pretty hard to make up a perfect balanced event that can give everyone a chance as you may have seen by now as the games have gone. In fact, I would say those who make consistent top 10 appearances like the Jolie and OPT in the past are some of the most fit if not the fittest IMO; winning the games itself while very impressive sometimes means you got a bit lucky and all of the events relatively played to your strengths.
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Last edited by Steven Low : 07-17-2010 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 07-17-2010, 03:46 PM   #13
Justin McCallon
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Re: Speal Strength

This next event will be interesting for Spealler. I think if the Deadlifts were reduced to 5 reps, he'd be top 3-5. But, at 315x7, with the other stuff, I think it might just be a little bit too heavy for him. It's going to be really close.
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Old 07-17-2010, 09:50 PM   #14
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Speal Strength

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Originally Posted by Latham Fell View Post
My question is really this: is it possible to build a 135 lb athlete who can win the Games?
It depends on the events. For some possible combinations, yes, absolutely. For others, not a chance.

Katherine
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Old 07-17-2010, 10:13 PM   #15
Jared Ashley
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Re: Speal Strength

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Originally Posted by Christopher G. Woods View Post
I don't know for sure, but based on the fact that he walks around at 135-140 these days, he probably wrestled at 115 or 125. That's not a healthy weight for a young adult male. I'm two inches shorter than Speal, and I haven't been that light since elementary school.
uh... different body types dude. You're one bodytype, he's another. It's not a healthy bodyweight for YOU. It's obviously an extremely healthy bodyweight for him.

I'm 5'7" and walk around at 135-140. Not super-strong, but can squat more than 1.5x my BW for a set of 10. Not super-fast, but can run a mile under 6:30 and a 400 in 1:10. Not an endurance specialist but can carry a 50-lb pack several miles in the mountains without feeling like I'm gonna die. Am I unhealthy? I sure would be at 210, cause I'm not your bodytype.
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Old 07-19-2010, 11:55 PM   #16
Jon Houle
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Re: Speal Strength

I agree with Jared. I'm also 5'7'' and about 150. It's a little smaller then I would like to be but I'm couch ridden right now due to a knee injury (makes it hard to maintain muscle mass and not gain too much fat).

Anyways, what has always been my greatest advantage in sports is my speed and relative strength (2x BW squats, BW snatches, etc). At a higher body weight I surely would lose my speed while getting stronger but would this be advantageous to me in sport? Probably not. With more size (lets say 175-180) I'd still be the smallest on the rugby field and slow; not good.

Also I'm sure that Spealler cut to his fighting weight (which is probably what 10lbs at least). If he fought at 125 and could cut 10lbs of water (ok thats a lot but I've heard wrestlers are crazy like that) that's only about 5lbs from his current body weight (as advertised anyways, he looked a little bigger then 140lbs at the games if you ask me). Given what he looks like now, I don't think being 5-10lbs smaller would be considered unhealthy. Again, the body type argument is a huge thing here. At something like 175lbs with Spealler's body type, someone would surely look like a bulbous bodybuilder.
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Old 07-20-2010, 03:51 AM   #17
Ben Moskowitz
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Re: Speal Strength

Apparently Artie Dreschler's Encyclopedia of Weightlifting has the best weight/height ratios for OLing.

Quote:
the data was originally from the 70's, but has been repicated a few times since. in fact, the original recomendation points out that if you done "muscle up to your height" 2 things will result 1) you'll never lift up to your potential, both on an absolute AND relative (pound for pound) basis, and 2) you will be at higher risk for injury if you try to lift heavier weights without the mass behind it.
In that thread, there was also this study mentioned that looked at the heights and weights of world champion Olympic lifters from 1993 to 1997. From what I can tell, it looks like the male championship height is 5'2" for the 69 kg class and 5'6" for the 77 kg class.

I would bet that the optimal height/weight ratio for a CrossFitter would be lower than that of a weightlifter. Maybe by one weight class? So someone who's 5'6" should hang in the 69 kg (152 lb.) class, i.e weigh 150 - 155 lbs.?

Additionally, Dutch Lowy talks about his experience with with weight classes here. He mentions that at 5'4", the lifters in his weight class (69 kg) at the American Open 2009 were a few inches shorter than he was. On the other hand, the first and second place lifters at Beijing were both 5'6". And they can lift plenty of weight.
Quote:
The 2008 olympic champion (Liao Hui CHN)... snatched 158 (347 lbs) kg and clean and jerked 190kg (418 lbs) and a total of 348 kg (765.5lbs). He won by a 10 kg (22lbs) margin.
Of course Liao Hui, Vencelas Dabaya-Tientcheu (2nd place Beijing), and Derrick Johnson (1st place American Open) are quite ripped.

Links WFS

Last edited by Ben Moskowitz : 07-20-2010 at 04:05 AM. Reason: wfs tag
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Old 07-20-2010, 04:35 AM   #18
Jon Clingenpeel
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Re: Speal Strength

All I can say is great job Chris representing us small guys
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:06 AM   #19
Matt DeMinico
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Re: Speal Strength

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Originally Posted by Latham Fell View Post
Does anyone else feel slightly frustrated when Chris Spealler says strength is his "weakness"? The guy squats and clean & jerks more as a % of his bodyweight than the top 3 finishers in 2009, and deadlifts more as a % of his bodyweight than almost any competitor except Mikko or Rob Orlando.

For the expert coaches out there, is it possible for Speal to raise his strength to a level comparable to the bigger guys, without compromising too much of his general fitness? I know there are powerlifters and Olympic lifters out there in Spealler's weight class who are much, much stronger.

To put it another way: is Spealler limited by his programming, or by his genetics?
Speal is fast. That's his thing. Snatch, C&J, and other movements like that lend well to speed. Brute strength (though he is strong) isn't his strong point.

Put it this way, at 175 lbs, I deadlift the same amount Speal does, but he snatches and clean and jerks way the heck more. And I mean WAY. Dude is fast. And just plain good at everything.
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