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Grip strength / Calorie deficits.


SkyHeart
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So, i've been pretty curious for a while about this. I know that on deficits, one would generally lose a little strength and muscle on the way to a low bodyfat percentage. but, would this apply for gripper progress? I'm not new, but i'm not elite either ( yet ) maybe intermediate- upper end? I specify to paint a clearer picture and wanted to know if anyone here notices a loss of hand strength when under food limitation. Thanks in advance ! 

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7 hours ago, SkyHeart said:

So, i've been pretty curious for a while about this. I know that on deficits, one would generally lose a little strength and muscle on the way to a low bodyfat percentage. but, would this apply for gripper progress? I'm not new, but i'm not elite either ( yet ) maybe intermediate- upper end? I specify to paint a clearer picture and wanted to know if anyone here notices a loss of hand strength when under food limitation. Thanks in advance ! 

I don't think this will happen because gripper strength(crushing grip) is at least 90% neuromuscular.

You gain strength through neural adaptions instead of growing muscle.

Normally you would train for hypertrophy because a bigger muscle has more strength potiental and then max out on top of that to develop the neuromuscular efficiency and the intramuscular coordination.

In this case it's tendon strength but other than pinch and open hand strength crush is pretty much all neuromuscular efficiency.

Also since finger flexion literally requires no skill at all  because there isn't any technique involved in squeezing itself this isn't s factor either.

I haven't been in a deficit but I have been the same weight for months now and I have gained significant gripper strength.

You can't do this with normal weight training because you have to be in a caloric surplus in order to gain muscle unless you don't mind making 1 years worth of progress in 4 years then you can maintain and gain a tiny bit of muscle.

Despite several very good or even world record holding powerlifters claiming that their strength is mostly neuromuscular this isn't true. Size equals strength inside of the same individual. 90% of your strength comes directly from your muscle mass the other 10% is neuromuscular efficiency leverages etc.

 

Edited by DevilErik
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6 hours ago, DevilErik said:

I don't think this will happen because gripper strength(crushing grip) is at least 90% neuromuscular.

You gain strength through neural adaptions instead of growing muscle.

Normally you would train for hypertrophy because a bigger muscle has more strength potiental and then max out on top of that to develop the neuromuscular efficiency and the intramuscular coordination.

In this case it's tendon strength but other than pinch and open hand strength crush is pretty much all neuromuscular efficiency.

Also since finger flexion literally requires no skill at all  because there isn't any technique involved in squeezing itself this isn't s factor either.

I haven't been in a deficit but I have been the same weight for months now and I have gained significant gripper strength.

You can't do this with normal weight training because you have to be in a caloric surplus in order to gain muscle unless you don't mind making 1 years worth of progress in 4 years then you can maintain and gain a tiny bit of muscle.

Despite several very good or even world record holding powerlifters claiming that their strength is mostly neuromuscular this isn't true. Size equals strength inside of the same individual. 90% of your strength comes directly from your muscle mass the other 10% is neuromuscular efficiency leverages etc.

 

Thanks so much for this explanation! Makes a whole lot of sense so this is fully satisfactory :D 

( i've gone off and on deficits for years. and during the gripper times of my life, i never really noticed a decrease , but wasn't sure ) By the way, happy Late Thanksgiving, hope you had an awesome one!

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37 minutes ago, SkyHeart said:

Thanks so much for this explanation! Makes a whole lot of sense so this is fully satisfactory :D 

( i've gone off and on deficits for years. and during the gripper times of my life, i never really noticed a decrease , but wasn't sure ) By the way, happy Late Thanksgiving, hope you had an awesome one!

You are welcome!

I don't celebrate Thankgiving because I am Dutch but thanks anyway I hope you had an awesome one though!

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2 hours ago, DevilErik said:

You are welcome!

I don't celebrate Thankgiving because I am Dutch but thanks anyway I hope you had an awesome one though!

Oop. I almost forgot about differences in Holidays across the World xD thanks again, everything was lovely! :D

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6 minutes ago, SkyHeart said:

Oop. I almost forgot about differences in Holidays across the World xD thanks again, everything was lovely! :D

Haha not a problem at all mate I am glad you had a good time.

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On 11/25/2021 at 11:25 PM, SkyHeart said:

So, i've been pretty curious for a while about this. I know that on deficits, one would generally lose a little strength and muscle on the way to a low bodyfat percentage. but, would this apply for gripper progress? I'm not new, but i'm not elite either ( yet ) maybe intermediate- upper end? I specify to paint a clearer picture and wanted to know if anyone here notices a loss of hand strength when under food limitation. Thanks in advance ! 

I don’t diet or change weight too much, but I know if I don’t eat enough calories during the day my grip training suffers. Sometimes I survive on junk and a protein bar all day, and if I don’t have a real type of lunch, I’m definitely weaker. 

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My strength drops significantly when I lose weight. Normal fluctations in BW doesn't matter but if I actually lose weight I lose strength very quickly, in all areas. It's actually most noticeable when it comes to grip, since the margins are so small for grip stuff.

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8 hours ago, Fist of Fury said:

My strength drops significantly when I lose weight. Normal fluctations in BW doesn't matter but if I actually lose weight I lose strength very quickly, in all areas. It's actually most noticeable when it comes to grip, since the margins are so small for grip stuff.

Oh wow o-o I did hear that gripper and grip strength works differently for everyone with training, results and lifestyle. Its a weird combination of feelings i get when on deficits. its like i'm more awake and alert, but can also feel a subtle kind of fatigue. Thanks for your feedback by the way :D

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1 hour ago, SkyHeart said:

Oh wow o-o I did hear that gripper and grip strength works differently for everyone with training, results and lifestyle. Its a weird combination of feelings i get when on deficits. its like i'm more awake and alert, but can also feel a subtle kind of fatigue. Thanks for your feedback by the way :D

I don't think it works any different than other body parts. However hand strength is very dependant on CNS activation. in order to be good at it you need to have a very good CNS. Especially for grippers, you need to be explosive. Unless you're some kind of freak with enourmous muscle strength that can grind out closes. Regardless you will always get further being explosive.

If you lose overall strength you will also lose the neurological connection with your muscles becuase you will not be able to train your CNS the same way you would if you were stronger.

 

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3 hours ago, Fist of Fury said:

I don't think it works any different than other body parts. However hand strength is very dependant on CNS activation. in order to be good at it you need to have a very good CNS. Especially for grippers, you need to be explosive. Unless you're some kind of freak with enourmous muscle strength that can grind out closes. Regardless you will always get further being explosive.

If you lose overall strength you will also lose the neurological connection with your muscles becuase you will not be able to train your CNS the same way you would if you were stronger.

 

It also tells me why being ill with a cold seems to make quite the difference with direct power. What with health and all. Sometimes i'll switch between fast rep attempts, and then dramatically slow. It seems like even getting circulation in the lower body's nervous system helps with hand strength which still fascinates me 

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So far my experience is that grip is least effected by bodyweight. I haven't had the same experience as @Fist of Fury at all. Mind you he is better and more experienced at grip than me. When I was a powerlifter the same could be said about deadlifting. A common phrase we would joke with was..."lose weight and your deadlift goes up". Of course if your very lean that statement may not be applicable. I always found hands down it was pressing(shockingly OHP would go first then bench) that took a nose dive if I lost to much bodyweight. Squats also went down but perhaps not quite to the extreme of pressing. Deadlift, grip, vertical pulling movements etc actually improved or weren't effected much at all. For these reasons I sympathize with the gripboard crowd who say gripsport shouldn't have weight classes but rather classes based off ones hand size. TBH if a guy who weighed 150kg axle deadlifted the same as a guy 100kg I barely could care less about the difference in bodyweight to me their about equaly impressive. But if they bench pressed the same weight I would be more impressed by the 100kg lifter. Also I recall a training workout post by @Fist of Furywhich stated "bodyweight 87kg". It makes sense he finds his strength is tied in lock step with his bodyweight because if he is evenly remotely tall that is a very lean bodyweight to be a serious strength athlete especially if non-enhanced 😉. I'm 103kg@6 feet tall so I can loose or gain without much difference in strength so I'd say context matters tremendously. 

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1 hour ago, Bigfoot Grip said:

So far my experience is that grip is least effected by bodyweight. I haven't had the same experience as @Fist of Fury at all. Mind you he is better and more experienced at grip than me. When I was a powerlifter the same could be said about deadlifting. A common phrase we would joke with was..."lose weight and your deadlift goes up". Of course if your very lean that statement may not be applicable. I always found hands down it was pressing(shockingly OHP would go first then bench) that took a nose dive if I lost to much bodyweight. Squats also went down but perhaps not quite to the extreme of pressing. Deadlift, grip, vertical pulling movements etc actually improved or weren't effected much at all. For these reasons I sympathize with the gripboard crowd who say gripsport shouldn't have weight classes but rather classes based off ones hand size. TBH if a guy who weighed 150kg axle deadlifted the same as a guy 100kg I barely could care less about the difference in bodyweight to me their about equaly impressive. But if they bench pressed the same weight I would be more impressed by the 100kg lifter. Also I recall a training workout post by @Fist of Furywhich stated "bodyweight 87kg". It makes sense he finds his strength is tied in lock step with his bodyweight because if he is evenly remotely tall that is a very lean bodyweight to be a serious strength athlete especially if non-enhanced 😉. I'm 103kg@6 feet tall so I can loose or gain without much difference in strength so I'd say context matters tremendously. 

I just checked in on Gripboard and had a feeling to check this thread i started, and sure enough i found your post xD :D 

Your story reminds me of an experience i had. not much of one but enough to remember. When going on a deficit this year for about a month straight (intense deficit) my grip level wasn't that high. probably between CoC# 1 - 1.5 status, and when cutting. walking more, and more often in the Sun, i felt more awake, energized, and not nearly as fatigued as usual. After a couple days rest during the deficit, this instinct hit me as if to say " do it. do it now! " and i grabbed my off brand "200" and it was the first time i met the handles together. it was so exciting because part of me doubted it would ever be done xD Cant wait for the same to happen with my PB300! 

I agree about hand size class. Its like, when hands are smaller than average, its difficult for a whole other reason than if one's hands are quite larger than average. that overlapping of fingers at the last bit of handle gap is such a pain at times. its what held me back from the "200" for a little while, though i'm not sure what my own hand size is in length.. maybe 8.5 - 9 inches? somewhere in there. 

Powerlifting seems like a lot of fun. i like to youtube clips of it sometimes out of curiosity since its something that for me was never tried, but would have if knowing how to get started :) my height is probably 5'9 and a half, and weight is about 79 KG . Seems thats ironically when i feel my best ! :D

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On 11/28/2021 at 1:35 AM, SkyHeart said:

It also tells me why being ill with a cold seems to make quite the difference with direct power. What with health and all. Sometimes i'll switch between fast rep attempts, and then dramatically slow. It seems like even getting circulation in the lower body's nervous system helps with hand strength which still fascinates me 

Hands are the most complex muscle system in the body and requires the most from the CNS.

The CNS will not be at it's best if you're sick becuase the body spends energy on fighting the infection you have. Also lack of sleep is very bad. However, the body is mysterious, one time I actually hit a PR when I was sick. I think it can (in some cases) help, the body "wakes" up or something like that. Of course it depends on what type of sickness it is. Normally it's not good of course.

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11 hours ago, Bigfoot Grip said:

So far my experience is that grip is least effected by bodyweight. I haven't had the same experience as @Fist of Fury at all. Mind you he is better and more experienced at grip than me. When I was a powerlifter the same could be said about deadlifting. A common phrase we would joke with was..."lose weight and your deadlift goes up". Of course if your very lean that statement may not be applicable. I always found hands down it was pressing(shockingly OHP would go first then bench) that took a nose dive if I lost to much bodyweight. Squats also went down but perhaps not quite to the extreme of pressing. Deadlift, grip, vertical pulling movements etc actually improved or weren't effected much at all. For these reasons I sympathize with the gripboard crowd who say gripsport shouldn't have weight classes but rather classes based off ones hand size. TBH if a guy who weighed 150kg axle deadlifted the same as a guy 100kg I barely could care less about the difference in bodyweight to me their about equaly impressive. But if they bench pressed the same weight I would be more impressed by the 100kg lifter. Also I recall a training workout post by @Fist of Furywhich stated "bodyweight 87kg". It makes sense he finds his strength is tied in lock step with his bodyweight because if he is evenly remotely tall that is a very lean bodyweight to be a serious strength athlete especially if non-enhanced 😉. I'm 103kg@6 feet tall so I can loose or gain without much difference in strength so I'd say context matters tremendously. 

I envy people who get stronger by losing weight. That has never been a reality to me. Even if I lose only fat and water and maintain all the muscles I have I still lose strength. The heaviest I've been was 105 kg and that was not pretty 105 kg (just normal 105 kg) and I was at my strongest at that point, in everything. Dropping to 100 kg was OK. But dropping to 97.5 kg made a difference, not huge but noticable. That has been the weight I' been at for the longest time while training grip. When I did MM1 I was 95 kg, which was OK but dropping to 92 kg made a significant difference. Now under 90 kg there's a huge difference. Having huge trouble even closing easy #3's even if I train grippers.

Having a hard time gaining weight now since I can't lift anymore because of health resons and I don't want to force food into my body without training. I'm actually weaker in a lot of exercises now than I was when I first started trainining. I remember doing 95 kg bench, 175 kg DL first time I tried. I can't do that now, actually I'm not even close to it.

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46 minutes ago, Fist of Fury said:

I envy people who get stronger by losing weight. That has never been a reality to me. Even if I lose only fat and water and maintain all the muscles I have I still lose strength. The heaviest I've been was 105 kg and that was not pretty 105 kg (just normal 105 kg) and I was at my strongest at that point, in everything. Dropping to 100 kg was OK. But dropping to 97.5 kg made a difference, not huge but noticable. That has been the weight I' been at for the longest time while training grip. When I did MM1 I was 95 kg, which was OK but dropping to 92 kg made a significant difference. Now under 90 kg there's a huge difference. Having huge trouble even closing easy #3's even if I train grippers.

Having a hard time gaining weight now since I can't lift anymore because of health resons and I don't want to force food into my body without training. I'm actually weaker in a lot of exercises now than I was when I first started trainining. I remember doing 95 kg bench, 175 kg DL first time I tried. I can't do that now, actually I'm not even close to it.

You did lose muscle because you lost strength.

Volume is the main driver of hypertrophy but progressive overload is evidence of hypertrophy meaning that strength and size are directly correlated especially in drug free people. Losing strength means losing muscle.

Some substances and the amount of stuff you are taking skew these ratios, most pro bodybuilders use such mind boggling amounts that their training style doesn't even matter.

And they can ofcourse at least maintain because of the stuff they are taking.

So when you are not taking anything keeping the same weight on the bar while cutting is your biggest priority even if that means that you have to do less sets and reps.

Mechanical tension is the the most important when it comes to maintaining muscle mass.

 

Edited by DevilErik
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Great posts everyone. I wanted to say what amazes me about gripsport is that if you look at the usual suspects at the top of the sport the bodyweight can vary a great deal. For example Tanner Merkle & Carl Myerscough could be the top 2 yet are vastly different in bodyweight. Every year at King Kong look how guys like Tanner, Adam, Gil Goodman, Steve Millard etc. place at the top yet are not really heavy men. We still see bigger guys though like Jedd, Carl, Brad Provick also at the top. You hear about skinny climber dudes with huge hands picking up the inch on the first try but you would never hear of someone like that squatting a house lol, they tend to look the part when it comes to more conventional strength lifts. Probably why at worlds strongest man even the smallest man is still quite large. 

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I was light to start, and never that strong on heavy lifts, but at one point I cut from 165ish to 145ish and my crushing grip was not impacted. But my axle and pinch did suffer. On the other hand I was suddenly doing sets of 25 chins which was more the kind of fitness I was after. 

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1 hour ago, DevilErik said:

You did lose muscle because you lost strength.

Volume is the main driver of hypertrophy but progressive overload is evidence of hypertrophy meaning that strength and size are directly correlated especially in drug free people. Losing strength means losing muscle.

Some substances and the amount of stuff you are taking skew these ratios, most pro bodybuilders use such mind boggling amounts that their training style doesn't even matter.

And they can ofcourse at least maintain because of the stuff they are taking.

So when you are not taking anything keeping the same weight on the bar while cutting is your biggest priority even if that means that you have to do less sets and reps.

Mechanical tension is the the most important when it comes to maintaining muscle mass.

 

From 105 to 87 yes. From 97.5 to 95 and 95 to 92, no. And yes all those makes difference. Water makes a huge difference when it comes to strength.

Also I don't see why this is relevant to discuss. The question is whether you lose gripper strength if you lose BW.

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I personally find as a much heavier guy who eats alot of calories, If i go on any appreciable deficit for some reason its always my crushing grip that gets affected first, Then deadlift and overhead, But its always crushing grip that goes first

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44 minutes ago, Bigfoot Grip said:

Great posts everyone. I wanted to say what amazes me about gripsport is that if you look at the usual suspects at the top of the sport the bodyweight can vary a great deal. For example Tanner Merkle & Carl Myerscough could be the top 2 yet are vastly different in bodyweight. Every year at King Kong look how guys like Tanner, Adam, Gil Goodman, Steve Millard etc. place at the top yet are not really heavy men. We still see bigger guys though like Jedd, Carl, Brad Provick also at the top. You hear about skinny climber dudes with huge hands picking up the inch on the first try but you would never hear of someone like that squatting a house lol, they tend to look the part when it comes to more conventional strength lifts. Probably why at worlds strongest man even the smallest man is still quite large. 

All of the guys you mention has really impressive forearms... Except for maybe Jedd, but he has very impressive hands instead, especially his thumbs are very big.

And there's a lot of lifters who doesn't look impressive but can lift crazy weights. It's all about CNS and technique, you don't have to have massive amounts of mass to be able to lift a lot. Exception might be strongman, where you actually need it for many of the events.

 

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49 minutes ago, Fist of Fury said:

All of the guys you mention has really impressive forearms... Except for maybe Jedd, but he has very impressive hands instead, especially his thumbs are very big.

And there's a lot of lifters who doesn't look impressive but can lift crazy weights. It's all about CNS and technique, you don't have to have massive amounts of mass to be able to lift a lot. Exception might be strongman, where you actually need it for many of the events.

 

What I meant was that YOUR size and  strength are directly correlated like within the same person you can't compare two different people.

If you are used to heavy weights meaning that you have good intramusclar coordination and neuromuscular efficiency ALL of your strength comes directly from your muscle mass.

They are able to calculate someone's max squat within 10% with just a dexa scan this is not my opinion this is what the scientific literature says.

You do have to be massive in order to lift big weights you have to be massive for your particular frame.

 

Edited by DevilErik
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43 minutes ago, Fist of Fury said:

From 105 to 87 yes. From 97.5 to 95 and 95 to 92, no. And yes all those makes difference. Water makes a huge difference when it comes to strength.

Also I don't see why this is relevant to discuss. The question is whether you lose gripper strength if you lose BW.

I don't lose any grip strength when I lose weight.

Edited by DevilErik
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1 hour ago, Fist of Fury said:

From 105 to 87 yes. From 97.5 to 95 and 95 to 92, no. And yes all those makes difference. Water makes a huge difference when it comes to strength.

Also I don't see why this is relevant to discuss. The question is whether you lose gripper strength if you lose BW.

*

 

Edited by DevilErik
I misread everything
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1 hour ago, Fist of Fury said:

From 105 to 87 yes. From 97.5 to 95 and 95 to 92, no. And yes all those makes difference. Water makes a huge difference when it comes to strength.

Also I don't see why this is relevant to discuss. The question is whether you lose gripper strength if you lose BW.

Yeah you are right I misread you mentioning deadlifts,bench  kinda threw me off my bad mate.

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