A Message from Coach Coop on Relative Strength!


Relative Strength: strength per pound of bodyweight

When we start playing with Barbells, a common question we get is “will I get bulky?”  Women ask me, Cyclists ask me, and the honest answer is probably Not.  Will you develop lean muscle?  Absolutely. Will you get stronger, Absolutely. Will your Body Composition Change? If you improve your Nutritional Habits, Absolutely.  What happens to your body is largely an outcome of your genetic potential, your training practices, and your nutritional habits.

Since we started training Mountain Athletes, we quickly understood the desire to improve strength, power output, increasing lean muscle but not putting on excessive size.  It’s different from Commercial Gym standards where many are interested in hypertrophy or just maintaining.  We’re looking to improve your relative strength.  Relative Strength is how strong you are per pound of bodyweight or put more simply, how strong are you for your size.  If you’ve ever heard someone described as “Pound for Pound” they are talking about Relative Strength. The reason we are so interested in Relative Strength, is because it is more functional for our Everyday Athletes, it’s more transferable to the sports of our lives and it helps us reach the “Mirror Goals” we all hope to accomplish.

By focusing our training on total body/multi joint/compound movements, we can improve movement patterns not just muscles.  Multi-joint movements also develop our relative strength by recruiting the maximum possible number of motor units and promote a “neuro-endocrine response”.  Which means that when you use multi-joint movements like the Clean & Jerk, Deadlifts and Squat Variations, you will get either a neurological, (hormonal) response in your body.  When you train these movements at a higher percentage of your 1 rep max for few total reps, the responses you’ll get promote more of a strength gain than a muscle size gain.

When you see men and women that are incredibly muscular, before you fear looking like them, remember that muscle gain is a result of years of hard work in the gym and diligence in the kitchen. Lifting Barbells is only one part of the equation.  You can achieve great results with barbells by training for Relative Strength and not resemble the cover of a Muscle and Fitness Magazine.  What I’d love for you to take away from this post is, when you look at Barbells, you see more than just muscles on-top of muscles.  I would hope that you see the potential for to become stronger and more powerful, and really really ridiculously good looking.

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