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"My best powerlifting accomplishment in the 275-pound weight class was a 1,000-pound squat, 675-pound bench press, 700-pound deadlift, and a 2,375 total. No, I wasn't strong at all! Sure, I could waddle up to the monolift and squat, but I couldn't do anything else. Really, all I could do was squat, bench, and deadlift." (Jim Wendler)

Some of the muscles are a lot stronger than others. These muscles tend to act as prime movers, they iniate movements. Smaller muscles tend to act as stabilizers, they contract but do not produce any movement. Consider the overhead press. The anterior deltoid is a prime mover and the posterior deltoid is a stabilizer. http://allaboutpowerlifting.com/muscles-involved-in-the-overhead-press/
Weak posterior deltoids relative to anterior deltoids cause rounded shoulders. The overhead press may cause such an imbalance. If you do it heavy and fast the anterior deltoids get a lot of excercise but the posterior deltoids probably not so much.

I have done Yoga twice. The movements were performed slow and controlled. There were no momentum involved so a lot of stabilizing muscles had to work in addition to the stronger prime movers. There were also a lot of movements. In my opinion Yoga makes the weaker muscles stronger and does little for the stronger muscles. But I think that is great. I do not want 90 % of my muscles to be very strong and 10% to be weak. I believe that is a recipie for pain and dysfunction. In particular the ball socket joints in the body, the shoulder and the hip, requires balanced musculature around them in order to have full range of motion (ROM). Judging from the Starting Strength forum there seems to be many who experience sore shoulders from the benchpress. I believe a "no pain no gain" mentality can be harmful. Yoga also makes you more flexible. I believe this is thanks to alternating between stretching thereby increasing ROM and strengthening in the newfound ROM.

However I find Yoga boring and believe that lifting weights can also be done in a "Yoga" manner. The effectiveness of Yoga does not stem from it use of indian names for postures nor from its use of only the body as weight. If you do the overhead press with a light weight and hold it at the top and gently swing the barbell back and forth slightly focusing on control instead of power and also focus on your breath; that is Yoga!

Programs like Starting Strength focus on a few most effective excercises in order to get say 90% of the muscles stronger as fast as possible. For same reason they also focuses on lifting heavy. I would argue that if you are not only interested in getting stronger but also enjoy being painfree and have good mobility; you are better served by using many variations of the main movements. One day you may backsquat, the next day you do lunges. From what I understand lunges train stabilizers more but is not such a good massbuilder as the backsquat. You are also better served by doing some lifts heavy and others light and controlled. First you do the overhead press heavy for say 3 sets; then you do it light and controlled for another 3 sets. The light sets may be performed in between heavy sets to save time.

Is what I suggest a feasible approach or must 90% strength training be kept separate from mobility work or Yoga?

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    What makes you think that barbell training isn't functional? youtube.com/watch?v=EJArIiopiBw – JustSnilloc Dec 10 '19 at 18:44
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    Interestingly, the quote from Wendler at the top of the question came from a T-Nation article in which Wendler is talking about his now famous 5/3/1 workout approach. In it, he describes the program where it's still heavily squat/deadlift/bench dominant also adds some assistance exercises to make someone more "well-rounded". t-nation.com/workouts/531-how-to-build-pure-strength – DeeV Dec 10 '19 at 19:18
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    I feel like the question assumes that no barbell exercises are functional. Olympic lifts are functional as hell, given that they provide highly explosive, full-body overload. If you wanted to do something with a barbell that makes you truly athletic, that'd be it. – Alec Dec 10 '19 at 19:41
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    Hey @Andy, I would suggest rewriting your question using the word "variation", but without the word "functional". The reason is that the term "functional" has become a meaningless buzzword. Everybody says they are "functional". What does it really mean? Have you ever heard somebody say, I do dissfunctional exercise? On the other hand, I think there are some very interesting and productive conversations we could have about the value of variation of movement patterns in an exercise program. I hope and I challenge you to rewrite your question yet again, Thanks. – Chris Dec 11 '19 at 3:47
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    What is your definition of health? The WHO defines it as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease". Dan John defines it as "the optimal interplay of the human organs", which I believe he borrowed from Phil Maffetone. Health is about a lot more than how you train. Don't get me wrong, it's a very good question, but I'm not sure that what I hear when you say "health" is the same thing as you mean when you say "health". – Dark Hippo Dec 11 '19 at 9:25
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I have a similar approach to you regarding fitness. I want my fitness journey to lead to performance (from my point of view - I don't aim at winning against pro athlete) AND health (which includes being pain-free). I personally view mobility as a factor in both performance and health aspects. If I can't lift something from the ground (e.g. groceries) I would say I am not a healthy human. If I can't achieve correct position and tension in a desired movement (e.g. overhead squat) I would say I don't achieve performance.

My approach to strength training for respecting these two constraints is not complicated regarding the "pain-free" aspect of your question :

  • Train while listening to yourself. Training stress is added to other stresses (work, family, ...). Don't stick by the planning. Adapt the planning to your feelings and sensations. If the planning states you should bench heavy but you had a shit day and you are not able to output/tolerate such intensity today, adapt the planning. Maybe switch to something that will relax you such as a slow run/bike/whatever. Maybe just take a walk while focussing on your breathing
  • Pay attention to imbalances arising from types of movements (push/pull) as well as from planes of movement (horizontal, vertical, rotation). Try to balance/vary your training so that you achieve a mix of these. Working one-arm and one-legged on classical movements already do a great deal.
  • Pay attention to types of contraction to again vary your training i.e. concentric focussed, eccentric focussed, isometric.
  • Add little tricks from time to time e.g. lift with bands to create instability (bamboo bar for example), work with odd objects (sandbags, ...)

Regarding the mobility point of view :

  • Work on it regularly using "advanced" techniques such as PNF
  • Breathing is paramount. Having a relaxed, controlled breathing when mobilizing is SUPER important. Being in a relaxed state while doing this tells your body and nervous system "ok, I got this, I own this, let the restriction go". Indeed, I believe that lack of mobility is not due to a lack of muscle length. It is due to a protective mechanism put in place by your body because it fears you would get injured if you go that far. Go under anaethesia and I am sure you can do a split. Because when you are in that state ... No more restriction from your system AND you actually have the mechanics (length, joint room) to achieve the position
  • Link to point above, not only try to increase your mobility by stretching but also by working on weak muscles. Indeed, I believe that sometimes, one can't get into a position because some of the muscles within the chain are too weak and therefore your system prevents you from going there because of that weak muscle
  • "your system prevents you from going there because of that weak muscle". Very good point. I believe most of lack of normal mobility is due to this. From an evolutionary perspective it does not make sense to foamroll and stretch. No one did that 10 000 years ago. Instead they used their bodies a lot more and as a result were probably all over strong. – Andy Dec 12 '19 at 22:31
  • "Go under anaethesia and I am sure you can do a split." Exactly, Pavel makes the same point in his book "Relax into stretch". – Andy Dec 12 '19 at 22:34
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How should I train strength if I want to stay painfree and have good mobility?

You should engage in progressively overloaded resistance training, following a program designed to build strength. Strength training shouldn't cause pain or loss of mobility, so the fact that you want to stay pain-free and have good mobility isn't relevant to this.

Can you both be very strong and still be weak?

Strength is application-specific, so yes. A paraplegic powerlifter will have incredible strength in the bench press, but zero strength in leg extension.

I would argue yes

You're not supposed to be presenting arguments in a question.

Weak posterior deltoids relative to anterior deltoids cause rounded shoulders. The overhead press may cause such an imbalance.

This is nonsense. The deltoids articulate the glenohumeral joint only, and cannot possibly affect the sternoclavicular/acromioclavicular joints, which is where rounding of the shoulders occurs.

I have done Yoga twice. The movements were performed slow and controlled. There were no momentum involved so a lot of stabilizing muscles had to work in addition to the stronger prime movers. There were also a lot of movements. In my opinion Yoga makes the weaker muscles stronger and does little for the stronger muscles.

This idea that yoga or yoga-like movements (apparently anything slow) train muscle in proportion and that (taken as implied) resistance training does not is also nonsense. Furthermore, momentum really does not play into resistance training with the exception of the sport of Olympic Weightlifting, and training modes derived from it.

I do not want 90 % of my muscles to be very strong and 10% to be weak. I believe that is a recipie for pain and dysfunction. In particular the ball socket joints in the body, the shoulder and the hip, requires balanced musculature around them in order to have full range of motion (ROM).

[citation needed]

However I find Yoga boring and believe that lifting weights can also be done in a "Yoga" manner. The effectiveness of Yoga does not stem from it use of indian names for postures nor from its use of only the body as weight. If you do the overhead press with a light weight and hold it at the top and gently swing the barbell back and forth slightly focusing on control instead of power and also focus on your breath; that is Yoga!

That's not yoga. That is wasting time for no likely benefit.

Programs like Starting Strength focus on a few most effective excercises in order to get say 90% of the muscles stronger as fast as possible. For same reason they also focuses on lifting heavy. I would argue that if you are not only interested in getting stronger but also enjoy being painfree and have good mobility; you are better served by using many variations of the main movements. One day you may backsquat, the next day you do lunges.

Exercise variation is not necessary to "be painfree", but it is a feature of almost all resistance training programs. Starting Strength only uses a limit number of lifts because it is a beginner program which isn't intended to be run for any more than about 3 months.

Is what I suggest a feasible approach or must 90% strength training be kept separate from mobility work or Yoga?

No, it's not feasible, because waving light weights around over locked joints, with no significant vertical travel of the weights is not actually working any muscles.

If you want to become stronger, do strength training. If you want to increase your mobility (as may be necessary if you participate in a sport that has high mobility demands, such as ballet, gymnastics, contortion, dance, or circus arts), then do mobility training. Either way, you should drop your baseless beliefs about strength training leading to pain, loss of mobility, not training "stabilizer" muscles, or muscular imbalances.

  • Regarding deltoids not affecting rounded shoulders; is not internally rotated arms part of the problem? The anterior deltoids internally rotate the arms and the posterior deltoids externally rotate them. So do you think facepulls are BS too? They are often recommended to reduce shoulder pain: youtube.com/watch?v=BJU1iPjO5hw&feature=emb_logo – Andy Dec 12 '19 at 21:59
  • You say that no significant vertical travel equals not actually working any muscles. Have you heard of static strength? Try holding a large weight in the lockout of the overhead press and tell me that it is not working any muscles. Is not the lockout of the oh press the similar to the downward dog position in Yoga wrt shoulders? – Andy Dec 12 '19 at 21:59
  • Rregarding locked joints. I do not think the shoulder is as "locked" at the top of the oh press as you think, but yes one must be careful not to move the bar too far behind the head. This is similar to what I am aiming for: breakingmuscle.com/fitness/… Take a look at the picture of the overhead carry. The purpose of the carry here is to introduce shaking (waving). – Andy Dec 12 '19 at 22:13
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    Regarding shoulder rounding: Nope, internally rotated arms do not cause shoulder rounding. As a test, trying holding your arms by your side and then rotating your arms until your elbows point outwards. Your arms are not internally rotated, but your shoulders are not rounded. – David Scarlett Dec 13 '19 at 7:58
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    Regarding mobility: Hey, we actually agree on this one! Yes, flexibility is controlled by the nervous system, not the length of the muscles. But training the nervous system to allow muscles to elongate to a greater degree is not the same as strengthening them. In fact I'd say the only time that strength is what limits mobility is in the side splits, where a person who can raise one leg to the side at a time still will not be able to do the splits if they don't have the adductor strength to hold their body up in that position. – David Scarlett Dec 13 '19 at 8:10
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@Andy I've done a fair amount of Yoga, but the worlds of yoga and weight training, in my experience, don't mix very well. I once went to a yoga class that incorporated weights, and the biomechanics of what they were doing made no sense. They don't know how to handle weights. So I would suggest, forget about Yoga unless you want to actually take a Yoga class. However, it appears that your main objective is that you are looking for more varied movement patterns in your weight training; That makes perfect sense. There is a limitless world of things you can do with wieghts, and it is tragic that so many people these days get stuck in the deadlift/squats/bench press rut. The list of possibilities is so long I can't really get it down in a message board. However, here are a couple exercises to round out your workout: woodchops and face pulls. Have you tried these? Or Turkish Getups. I don't see anyone doing Turkish Getups anymore. There is also a whole world of bodyweight exercises. For example, how about handstands? At my gym, I am the only one who practices handstands - I can not understand why more people aren't doing handstands. If you are looking for a challenge, try Front Lever Pull Ups. Again, the possibilities are far greater than I can go into here. If you visit Portland, OR, I could show you more.

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