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There are three key ingredients to work - force, displacement, and cause.

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The 1015-pound Deadlift

The 1015-pound Deadlift

Credit: Artur Andrzej
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Benedikt_Magnusson.JPG
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

The current raw (no equipment) record holder for the deadlift is Benedikt Magnusson. Benedikt currently holds the deadlift record at 461 kg or 1015 lbs. By having a solid understanding of work, power, torque and Newton's laws, anyone with enough hard work and dedication could achieve similar feats of strength.

Amazing But True

Credit: tpsdave
Source: http://pixabay.com/en/weights-weight-lifters-dead-lift-79587/
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

A man performs a deadlift [Figure2]

  • What most people don't realize about various forms of training is how a little knowledge of physics could greatly improve their results. To achieve superhuman levels of strength like Magnusson, you have to do more than show up and feel the burn. By monitoring a few variables, you can easily adjust every aspect of your training and determine if you are making progress or falling behind your goals.
  • Using the squat for example, assume an individual that is 5’ 10” has a thigh that is 17 inches or 0.43 m long. If this person performs the eccentric phase of a squat from a point where their thigh is parallel to the floor, they will have moved through a distance of approximately 0.43 m. If the same person does the eccentric phase from a half squat which is typically seen in most gyms, they will have moved through a total distance of approximately 0.215 m. Assuming all other variables are equal, the case where the full squat is performed, twice the amount of work is being done on this individual's muscles. The only way the person doing the half squat would be able to perform the same amount of work would be if they increased the weight they moved by a factor of 2!

Show What You’ve Learned

Using the information provided above, answer the following questions.

  1. A bar weighing 500 lbs is lifted vertically through a range of 10 inches. How much work is performed? 
  2. If you placed a 200 lb barbell on your shoulders and walked for 10 m, how much work did you perform?
  3. If Benedikt deadlifted 461 kg through a distance of 0.3, how much work did he perform?

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    Image Attributions

    1. [1]^ Credit: Artur Andrzej; Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Benedikt_Magnusson.JPG; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
    2. [2]^ Credit: tpsdave; Source: http://pixabay.com/en/weights-weight-lifters-dead-lift-79587/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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