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Ask The Super Strong Guy

"Should I Lift Heavy To Look Big?"

Ask The Super Strong Guy: Should I Lift Heavy To Look Big?

Pro powerlifter Mark Bell answers your questions about lifting very, very heavy objects off the floor and rack.
Q

I just want to look bigger. Is there any reason I should incorporate power/strength training into my lifting routine?

Big son, are you freakin' kidding me? You go to a gym for 2 reasons, and 2 reasons only:

  • To get jacked
  • To get stronger
  • To look at hot chicks
  • To get that Jersey Shore tan and showcase how jacked you are

Okay, so only 2 legit reasons (I'll let you figure out which those are). Guess what? They go hand-in-hand. You need a strong foundation to get jacked, no doubt about it!

All those p*ssies doing cardio and trying to tone are not only dumb, they are also stupid. Next time you're in the gym and see a fat dude on an elliptical, walk over to him and say: "Not to be rude," which alerts everyone that you're about to drop a bomb and should help soften the blow, "but I think you're stupid. Your body's ability to chew up calories and not store them as fat can be increased by gaining muscle mass."

Powerlifting will not only help you lift the part, it will help you look the part. It's a win-win, son. Get stronger and more jacked by lifting heavy stuff. Simple.

Powerlifters are the size of dinosaurs, and there is no better way to add mass to your puny frame than good ol' fashioned heavy lifting.

Lift By Example

Look at the size of the all-time world record holder Donnie Thompson. Now, I know Super D is fat. He was nearly 400 pounds when he squatted 1,265, benched 955 and deadlifted 770. However, that doesn't change the fact that he had some of the biggest legs and back ever built by a man.

Hell, Mike O'Hearn used to compete in powerlifting, and he uses a lot of power movements to this day. As much as I hate to admit it, Mike can kick my ass in many exercises in the gym. I know this firsthand; Mike trained with me in the late 90s.

All I do is powerlift and focus on the squat, bench and deadlift, and I shamelessly admit to being jacked.
"All I do is powerlift and focus on the squat, bench and deadlift, and I shamelessly admit to being jacked."

I realize Mike looks like a bigger version of Fabio, but that's due to his diet and the fact that he's 6-foot-2 and probably around 5% body fat. Mike probably weighs 255-or-260 pounds, and he has raw-squatted 800 pounds for 2 and pulled 765.

Then, there's my chubby little self. All I do is powerlift and focus on the squat, bench and deadlift, and I shamelessly admit to being jacked.

Heck, I got a 4-pack on a good day. At 6-foot, 295 pounds, that's pretty damn good. (OK, maybe I'm only 295 in "bodybuilder" weight, which are like "Internet inches" - you gotta add a few. I might weigh closer to 280-to-285. Wanna fight about it?)

Let's not forget about my boy Stan Efferding, who is 6-foot-1, 280 pounds, and shredded. He loves powerlifting.

In fact, he did a few meets and has some all-time raw records. He squatted more than 850, deadlifted more than 800, and has benched more than 6-hundo numerous times. Not bad for a pro bodybuilder.

Stan credits much of his success in bodybuilding to powerlifting. Stan used to be about 100 pounds soaking wet; powerlifting helped him add the size and mass to become a pro bodybuilder.

Go Big

Anyway, dude, you need the following exercises in your routine to add size and strength: squats, bench press, deadlifts, bent-over rows, overhead presses, pull-ups, dips, sled pulls, and maybe even some farmer's walks.

Your main movements - the movements you do when you first get to the gym - will be bench, squat, deadlift, overhead press, or some variation of those exercises.

Mark used to pull the animals he killed with his bare hands, but it was against gym regulations.
Mark used to pull the animals he killed with his bare hands, but it was against gym regulations.

These moves are your bread and butter. These are the same exercises Jesse Burdick and I preach when we do our Powerlifting Certification Courses for CrossFit.

Want more power? Get yourself a subscription to my magazine: Power. We talk about how to get bigger, leaner and stronger through diet, exercises and programs. Alright, I'm done with the sales pitch. Suit up, set up, and get to the gym, big son!


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About The Author

I used to be known as JackAss from my days at elitefts.com, or Smelly from the feature film documentary 'Bigger, Stronger, Faster.'

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JAEvans24

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JAEvans24

Nice article

May 3, 2012 5:52pm | report
 
Qassem

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Qassem

with all due respect to Mark Bell. I find it completely the opposite. lots of fat dudes try to deceive themselves by lifting heavy weight thinking they will look jacked BUT in fact, they look like pregnant ladies at the gym.
Cardio is the mother of being lean especially if you're body is the fat magnet type. look at runners and MMA fighters (most of them) are very lean, they don't lift heavy weight!!!!

May 3, 2012 6:25pm | report
 
jakubtez

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jakubtez

Diet is the mother of being lean. I will bet you those pregnant belly guys your talking about are that way simply due to diet and they could add an hour of cardio a day into their program and barely see a result

May 3, 2012 6:53pm | report
  • Body Stats
  • ht: 5'10"
  • wt: 188.54 lbs
  • bf: 14.0%
iamdrewhaha

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iamdrewhaha

weight loss is mainly determined through diet. activity factor is a bonus/booster. this article is accurate and it's what most people fail to understand. fighter's are lean because they are constantly active and workout through hypertrophy and maintain a strict diet. also, if you think mma fighters don't lift weight, then you sir have not seen fighters train up close "which is called strength conditioning".

May 3, 2012 10:05pm | report
badreligion

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badreligion

This . I would love to step in the ring with him .

May 4, 2012 1:21pm | report
izzyskidzz

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izzyskidzz

Completely true.
I dont know why anyone would recommend lifting super heavy to be big. It's a fact that hypertrophy (bodybuilding) training is what builds bigger muscle mass. Powerlifting is way more a neurological factor than muscular, which is why you sometimes see skinny guys lifting more than muscular guys.
Not to mention fat *** guys or gals SHOULD be working the cardio to burn extra calories. Yes, muscle IS an active tissue and burns calories even at rest. HOWEVER, muscle takes long to build and is not done by lifting super heavy for small reps. Let's not forget Mike O'hearn incorporates hypertrophy training into his regimen.

May 4, 2012 1:38pm | report
Kadin11

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Kadin11

Yeah, i agree cardio is important for leaness, etc. But Qassem?, honestly, mate. Have you ever trained a sprinter? or an MMA fighter? how do you think the inhabit such explosiveness?, doing cardio 3-4 times per week?, NO. they hill sprint, and speed squat there ***** off.

May 8, 2012 12:42am | report
  • Body Stats
  • ht: 5'10"
  • wt: 163.14 lbs
  • bf: 10.0%
lucasbehrens

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lucasbehrens

Everyone burns more calories for a longer duration of time through resistance training. The heavier the weight the higher the exersion of power; power is in a direct relation to calories. It is also a known fact that the human body continues to burn higher rates of calories for up to 48 hours after training.

Jun 15, 2012 7:13am | report
masoudkhezri

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masoudkhezri

End of the day every little thing you do is going to have impact on how your body looks. Yes powerlifting alone will make you look big and some what lean.
But if your Diet isn't clean or your form isn't anywhere to being close to correct your body isn't going to see any changes. Cardio plays a big part in the weight room as well, without it your muscles definitely will not be enduring as many reps or given exercise in your workout.

Sep 26, 2012 6:32am | report
brandonlee72

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brandonlee72

like no power lifters are lean lol

May 3, 2012 7:29pm | report
 
PittsburghStruK

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PittsburghStruK

less energy for cardio, main focal point of burning fat.
I tried a powerlifting routine, put 50 pounds on my bench in one month, blew out my rotator cuff repping 315 for 12.. Back to bodybuilding lol

May 4, 2012 7:08am | report
WorldDomnit

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WorldDomnit

I'm 200lbs, 6'0" and one of the strongest teenage powerlifters in the country, and I have a six pack. I don't even think I could run a mile in less than 7 minutes because I never do cardio. Many powerlifters are lean, Ed Coan, Richard Hawthorne, stan efferding and many others.

May 4, 2012 5:45pm | report
PittsburghStruK

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PittsburghStruK

On the negative side. with all due respect,

The chance of injury for powerlifting is through the roof.

May 4, 2012 7:05am | report
 
Hooker_Mike

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Hooker_Mike

What are you comparing it to in order to say that the chance of injury is through the roof? There is a chance of injury whenever you are lifting weights regardless of your goal being powerlifting or bodybuilding. Your form is going to be your most important factor in preventing injury not what "routine" you are running.

May 4, 2012 9:19am | report
Horus

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Horus

Not everyone's joints or bones are genetically capable of withstanding powerlifting beyond a degree, that another may find perfectly safe, regardless of form. I know it sucks, but life isn't fair that way.

May 4, 2012 11:56am | report
gymratnick95

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gymratnick95

I saw the above comment, you appear to be a pretty experienced guy. Most people, no matter how experienced, dont know that bench, for instance, is a whole body movement right along with squats and deads
http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/dave_tates_sixweek_bench_press_cure

May 4, 2012 2:30pm | report
PittsburghStruK

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PittsburghStruK

@Hooker_Mike Even if you have perfect form, your knees, elbows, wrists, and back can only go so far. Placing large amounts of stress on these structures multiple times a week increases the chance of injury when compared to basic isolation exercises for bodybuilding.

May 5, 2012 6:44am | report
Hooker_Mike

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Hooker_Mike

I see what your saying in regards to maximal effort as it relates to joints, makes sense. For some reason in my head I didn't make the connection. Thanks.

May 7, 2012 4:23pm | report
PittsburghStruK

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PittsburghStruK

Anytime mike, just giving another perspective for people reading this article

May 8, 2012 12:37pm | report
Jonnyg419

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Jonnyg419

Love goin big!

May 4, 2012 7:41am | report
 
kbott622

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kbott622

To whoever is saying power-lifters aren't lean... look at Olympic weightlifters

May 4, 2012 9:01am | report
 
longhaired

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longhaired

sweet read

May 4, 2012 9:35am | report
 
americanmuscle7

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americanmuscle7

Im a powerlifter and hold state and national records in bench in two different weight classes and have always been lean and never got injured. In my bodyspace profile picture wieghed 174lbs and stilled benched over 400lbs. deadlifted over 550 lbs and squat over 500lbs Powerlifting is what I used to build my physique. I love it.

May 4, 2012 11:00am | report
 
paulsonr

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paulsonr

Smelly from "B,S,F" also had an issue coming clean about his steroid use. No mention about being on "gear" to get "jacked" in this article???

May 4, 2012 12:04pm | report
 
PeaceWalker

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PeaceWalker

I was thinking the same thing.

May 4, 2012 1:08pm | report
Showing 1 - 25 of 42 Comments

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