History of Powerlifting, Weightlifting and Strength Training – Number 62

Posted by in Dr Ken Leistner on July 1, 2014 Comments off

Logic, Equipment, CrossFit (and that is a trademarked name)!


From Wikipedia: “CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program designed to help people gain a broad and general fitness. CrossFit programming concentrates on constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity to achieve overall physical fitness, so people are prepared for any physical challenge. CrossFit is a trademark of CrossFit Inc”

We’ll get back to this shortly.


While I have been aware that I can, and have in the past, used logical thought to solve problems and come to conclusions that seemed reasonable to me and those I was dealing with, I haven’t placed myself in the category of “very smart individual.” I have never considered using the descriptive term “intellectual” in any sentence that had my name in it for very obvious reasons. I would probably qualify as a street-smart Polack with a good education but that’s my limit. However, one would be surprised how far logical thought and a little bit of street smarts or common sense can go. I spent decades writing and editing articles for Mike Lambert at Powerlifting USA Magazine, without a doubt, a sorely missed touchstone for the sport of powerlifting and a publication that will never be duplicated in its influence and effect on our sport. During my tenure there, from 1978 through 2002, I watched Mike carefully wind his way through the most tumultuous time in powerlifting’s relatively short history and not yield to political pressure, threats, money, or anything else that would have made him waver from what he felt was an unbiased and neutral reporting of the sport’s important news and events. While my columns and articles were given wide latitude to state what I wished to say and serve as the constructive criticism he would not bring down on others, the standard approach was to avoid “rants” and offensive tirades that served to detract from any legitimate point we were trying to put before the public. My service to TITAN SUPPORT SYSTEMS mimics what I did for PLUSA which is to bring information and hopefully, a bit of enjoyable reading to those who are interested enough to “tune in” each month. I would like to conduct what I hope will be an enjoyable excursion into the realm of logical thought and common sense this month.


Powerlifting is a sport that requires the elevation of a barbell in three specific movements or planes of motion. A competitor or participant can become stronger by focusing their energies upon the three lifts of the squat, bench press, and deadlift, and ensuring that they are progressive over time. If they do this, they will lift heavier weights and total more in contests. Some contend that using exercises other than the three competitive lifts, specifically designed to strengthen the musculature utilized in the lifts, will enhance progress, provide variety when training, and perhaps reduce the probability of injury. The proviso here of course, is that in all movements, the trainee must maintain progression in the resistance and/or repetitions used. Obviously both approaches work as the history of the sport notes lifters of record setting caliber who have used either training philosophy. Some of the actual training programs are a bit more complex and involve more equipment or planning than others but either approach can work if the physiological needs of stimulating growth in strength and/or size and allowing time for recovery are met.

Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowl center John Sullivan: is this “functional,” getting stronger, or “CrossFit?”

If you are a lifter who believes that “more than” the three lifts can and should be done in order to best prepare for competition, a careful analysis of the needs of the body relative to the three lifts would be completed, and any assistance movement(s) chosen would be incorporated into the program to meet a specific need. That assistance or additional exercise would be learned so it was done properly and safely, and it would “fit” the rest of the program so that training was optimized and over training or under training was avoided. All of this is both obvious and logical.


Only because our series of TITAN columns has purposely been heavily slanted towards equipment development and use, allow me to introduce our first request for logic and an equipment comment of the day. It would be assumed that any exercise chosen to enhance one or all of the three competitive power lifts would be chosen because it did in fact provide work that would increase the muscular strength and/or size of the involved muscles. When Nautilus machines were introduced to the public, there was no real “equipment industry,” no “fitness industry,” very few health clubs or gyms open to the public, and an almost total absence of women strength training in public if at all. Much of the Nautilus equipment was effective, some was not. Much of the Nautilus equipment was extremely effective and has yet to be matched by the biomechanics of today’s industry and much of it had application to the sport of powerlifting. The philosophy, one borne of common sense and logic, is that for any sport, one enhances the “raw material” of the body and then applies the improved muscular strength, size, and conditioning components to the specific sport of interest. Combining the improved physical components with skill training that is specific to whatever sport one is pursuing, is the most efficacious and yes, logical way to reach one’s potential.