Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Secrets of Bodyweight Manipulation for Competitive Sport, Part One - J.M. Blakley

Secrets of Bodyweight Manipulation for Competitive Sport
by J.M. Blakley

The Art of Cutting Weight

Is it wrong to call cutting weight an art? Maybe. But there are those who do it with such style and grace that the word art is brought to mind. Of course there are those who do it so crudely that the word abuse comes to mind. I have always admitted that there is always more than one way to do things. Cutting weight is no different. One of my favorite sayings is, "There is more than one way to kill a cat than by choking it with butter." That says a lot. You can get the job done with elegance or you can just get the job done any which way. There are no points awarded for style but oftentimes the brute way leaves one exhausted and can make quite a mess along the way!

I hope that this course will help you understand the methods of making weight that I have seen used in the last 10 years of top level competition. When it is done right, it is  a remarkable thing to watch. I hope this course will help answer the question, "How do they do that?!"

Understanding the Premise

There are sports in which there exist established weight classes. I suppose that this is to afford some type of relative comparison for competitors of differing body sizes. I do find this a bit inconsistent across the sporting world. For example, there are no weight classes for the 100 meter dash but an individual who weights 30 pounds more than another competitor must carry a heavier load over the proscribed distance. Also, in the shot put, a lighter athlete is not compartmentalized to only throw against others his own weight.

It seems like a good idea to pit opponents of equal size against each other . . . at first. But I think a closer examination begs the question: Why? What if the NBA had different height classes for players 5'6" to 6'0" and from 6'0" to 6'6" and from 6'6" to 7'0" and the like? Wouldn't that dilute the sport? Or if marathon runners had weight classes? It is perfectly logical not to expect a man who weighs 225 pounds to run 26.2 miles just like a man weighing only 135 pounds.

Weight classification muddies the waters. And only certain sports subscribe to them. Most combative sports have weight classes. And while I fully understand reasoning for them, I can't say I totally agree with them. I do respect the fact that if there weren't classes, then much of the participation would dwindle. So for that reason alone I guess it's okay. But having competed across five weight classes on a regular basis, I feel I have a unique perspective on the issue; I've been big, I've been small. I've seen it from both sides and I think that if you want to hold a contest of strength and you have an agreed upon marker for that, then to find out who is strongest should have little to do with bodyweight or size . . . it should have to to with who can lift the most. Period. Not who can lift the most in relationship to their weight or height or hair color. Just how much they can lift. The biggest men would gravitate to the top of the sport because they have God-given advantage . . . they're bigger! (i.e., the NFL). 

But as I've said this would exclude many fine athletes who compete at lighter classes. I have a tremendous respect for these guys. I admire what they do pound for pound and have set goals for myself based on their stellar performances in relationship to their weight. It's not that I don't admire them. I just think that 11 weight classes may be a little unnecessary to do the job. And it has presented the problem which we will address here: making the class limit.

Cutting weight has many detractors for a myriad of reasons not the least of which is health. I'm not going to defend why there are weight classes. There just are. The above intro tells you a little of what I think. Let's deal with it.

But that presents a problem for a lifter who weighs 210 pounds. Should he: 

(a) Gain weight (10 lbs.) to compete in the 220 class and get the full benefit of weighing in at the top of the class (where many of his rivals will weigh in at);

(b) Remain at 210 and give away 10 pounds of bodyweight to his competition;

(c) Diet off 12 pounds and compete in the 198 division again weighing in at the top of this class.

Many of today's best competitors answer D - cut weight and make the 198 class and then reconstitute prior to the event to obtain a 12 pound advantage over those in their class. Actually weighing 210 at the time of competition but being grouped in the 198 category. That is the premise here. To weigh in above the class limit thereby gaining a weight advantage over the competition, yet still be included in the lighter class. 

Next: Cutting Weight.

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