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Thread: Upper body fitness formulas - need opinions page

  1. #1
    johnnyq's Avatar
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    Question Upper body fitness formulas - need opinions

    Primal Blueprint Expert Certification
    According to this exercise guru, if you can complete 100 chinups AND 100 dips in 30 minutes you are in shape:

    Fitness Formula

    Question: Undoubtedly, if you can accomplish the 100/100 chinup/dip combo in 30m. you are in shape. But what if you can only accomplish 75/75 or 50/50 in half an hour. Would you say the person is in shape?

    This other exercise guru, also in great shape, performs 75 pullups via a ladder in a little over 15 minutes.

    Pavel's Ladder

    Certainly the ladder could also be applied to dips.

    Question: if you can only accomplish 50 pullups ladder style in 15m would you still be considered to be in good shape? 25?

    General question: I'm undecided as to which one of this training systems and goals to choose. The 100/100 is three times a week while the 75/75 is twice a week. If you had to select one of the above described methods, which one would you choose and why?

    Thanks in advance for your response!

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    primalrob's Avatar
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    i love doing ladders. i've hit 200 pushups, 84 pull ups, 30 (assisted) pistols per leg, 25 handstand pushups, and 15 dragon flags in just over an hour using ladders. no way could i have hit those numbers just doing straight sets. i do consider myself to be in pretty good shape, and it took a while to get there, but ladders really helped me cram in some extra reps to my workouts.
    but, if i had to pick a program, i'd probably go with fitness formula over ladders. that's closer to what i'm doing now, and it's a lot harder. this is all based on personal goals though. i'm pretty happy with my strength in most areas, but i feel like i need more endurance...and the larger sets in fitness formula seem to go after that more. you've got to figure out that goal part for yourself. either program would be great...and both can be used on all the exercises in primal blueprint fitness.

  3. #3
    dado's Avatar
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    shit, man, i'm far from where i need to be.

    reality just hit me like a brick in the face tonight.

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    Funny how that first guy doesn't even acknowledge the lower body.

    IMO 100 chins + 100 dips in 30 mins is pretty good, but I wouldn't necessarily say someone who couldn't do it wasn't fit. (for the record I'm pretty sure I could do the 100 + 100 in under 10 mins.)

    I wrote a few articles on assessing your fitness if you're interested. Here's the link to the first one:

    Al Kavadlo – We're Working Out! » Assessing Your Fitness (Part One: Strength)
    "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they couldn't be more different."

    "You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything you want."

    My blog: http://www.AlKavadlo.com


  5. #5
    otzi's Avatar
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    I have been doing 100 pullups every day in this fashion:
    10-8-6-4-2 (1-2 minutes between sets)
    10-8-6-5-4-3-2-2 (1 hour or so after above sets)
    10-8-6-4-2 (1 hour or so after above sets)

    That's 100 pullups, I do it over a couple hours at work on breaks. My max reps for one set is about 20.

    I doubt I could do 100 pullups AND 100 dips in 30 minutes and not sure I want to even try. But if a guy could--he'd be in good shape no doubt about it!
    Last edited by otzi; 01-26-2012 at 10:56 AM.

  6. #6
    Owly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al_Kavadlo View Post
    Funny how that first guy doesn't even acknowledge the lower body.

    IMO 100 chins + 100 dips in 30 mins is pretty good, but I wouldn't necessarily say someone who couldn't do it wasn't fit. (for the record I'm pretty sure I could do the 100 + 100 in under 10 mins.)

    I wrote a few articles on assessing your fitness if you're interested. Here's the link to the first one:

    Al Kavadlo – We're Working Out! » Assessing Your Fitness (Part One: Strength)
    I agree with Al, that totally ignores lower body strength and other markers of fitness. There are a lot of different kinds of fitness and a lot of different measures of upper body strength (what about pressing movements, for example?). How do we compare the ability to lift a lot all at once to the muscular endurance to perform high reps of a given movement? There are so many variables, and it's hard to apply one standard of "fitness" and assume that those who don't meet it are not fit in another way, even if we're only talking about upper body strength.

    It's also pretty gendered as a standard--women can be killer fit and still not be able to reach that sort of standard because of our upper vs. lower body strength ratios. For example, I exceed all of Al's standards for women on his strength test list but am still working on strict pullups/chinups (I can do them on rings but am not quite able to get all the way over the bar on a fixed bar pullup--any day now!). Granted, I'm not an ultra-buff gym goddess, but I think I do qualify as reasonably fit for a woman at my age and training background (back squat at 100% of bodyweight, deadlift getting close to 150% of bodyweight, push pressing 65% of bodyweight, etc.).
    “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

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    UK Guy's Avatar
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    owly,
    I agree with what you say in your post. However Ralph Carpinelli did a meta analysis of training studies and one of the conclusions he made was that the relationship between muscular strength and endurance is fairly fixed. Increase your 1RM and your 20RM will improve also. The only reason it might not work the other way round is because even exercises like the bench press require skill. The lifting groove needs to be perfected. Not perfecting the groove will have more effect on the performance of an exercise when you go for a 1, 2 or 3 RM than it will if you go for a 20RM.
    Yes you are right there is no lower exercise component. I think this is a case of incorrectly titling the piece. It should have been, "Upper Body Fitness"
    I think he was trying to offer a routine for a lifter who wanted to do something anywhere, and he perhaps figured not everyone could do pistols as easily as they could do chin ups and dips ( I don't know...maybe ..just guessing ).
    And you are definitely correct in that it is skewed towards a male perspective. But there is no reason that a woman couldn't be ambitious...or failing that scale the targets down somewhat....some men might need to do that also.
    Last edited by UK Guy; 01-26-2012 at 10:30 AM.

  8. #8
    Owly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UK Guy View Post
    owly,
    I agree with what you say in your post. However Ralph Carpinelli did a meta analysis of training studies and one of the conclusions he made was that the relationship between muscular strength and endurance is fairly fixed. Increase your 1RM and your 20RM will improve also. The only reason it might not work the other way round is because even exercises like the bench press require skill. The lifting groove needs to be perfected. Not perfecting the groove will have more effect on the performance of an exercise when you go for a 1, 2 or 3 RM than it will if you go for a 20RM.
    They do not automatically translate, though. Having a high 1RM does not necessarily mean a person can perform 20 reps of an exercise quickly within a given timeframe. Max strength does not guarantee speed and endurance over multiple lower-weight reps. Yes, training gains on one are likely to help on another (which is why most training regimes don't have a person just constantly doing 1RM every session), but some people are more naturally gifted at endurance while others tend more toward max strength. So a person may make gains in one by improving the other, but another person may have a better aptitude for one over the other (so she might be faster at doing multiple lifts while having a lower 1RM than a woman of a similar size who has lower endurance but greater strength).

    I'm not sure if I'm clear. What I mean is that the relative gains may be fixed for a given individual, but that person's performance in a given parameter is not necessarily going to be the same at the person next to them. So I may be someone with higher endurance and less strength, and I may make gains through training, but I may still have more endurance and less strength than the woman next to me in the gym who has greater inherent strength but lower endurance who has done the same kind of training.
    “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

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    Owly's Avatar
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    Oh, and I completely agree with you that good form becomes particularly critical when it comes to 1RM! It's easy to do sloppy low weight deadlifts, but as I get up around my 230 max, I definitely know when I'm not bang-on for form.
    “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

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  10. #10
    UK Guy's Avatar
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    owly,
    You are correct, different people have different "strengths" and abilities, with regards to aptitude at strength or endurance and that is relative. But generally,increase your strength and your muscular endurance will improve, unless there is another limiting factor preventing this, eg very poor cardiovascular endurance etc where one of the body's other systems is a limiting factor. Another limiting factor might be simply psychological....eg the strength athlete is just simply not motivated to perform well at higher reps. The other way round though a lack of skill at the lift will prevent the higher rep athlete from doing as relatively well at a lower RM effort. A psychological factor might also be a factor for a poor performance at a lower RM.
    Dr Ken Leistner gave an example for why 1RM lifts should not be used for strength testing for American Football players. He gives the example of a player that comes into the weight room to do a lift...he is fired up, he has slept well, his personal life and his relationship is going well, and he has no financial worries. His warm ups go well and he sets a new PR.
    Several months later...he comes in to do the same lift. He has not had a good night's sleep for several days, has had a big argument with his partner, his dog has died, and he has money worries. He struggles with his warm ups....he works up to what he hopes is a new PR...but misses the lift several times. He ends up lifting no where near his old PR...even though his training had been going well only a couple of weeks before.

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