Greg Panora: I want to get strong but I don’t want to get BIG!!

Posted on 13 Jul 2015 10:26


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Greg Panora is one of my friends on Facebook and he posted this status that got me thinking about the attitude some people have when it comes to training hard, breaking records and getting big.

This is the Facebook status Greg has posted. I have also embedded it at the end of the post so you can follow him on Facebook:

"One of my favorite things I hear is, "I wanna be a great lifter but I don't wanna get big". Awesome, u can join the other world class lifters that are 5'11 190 and really optimize those leverages. On a side note I want to be a Doctor but I don't really want to go back to school."

Initially I thought that Greg is talking about people who want to get strong and not get big. This is hardly something to ridicule and it can most definitely be done. You do not need to get big in order to get strong. Yes, anecdotal observations from most of us lifters (if not all) leads us to believe that if you start lifting heavy weights you will pack on some muscle mass but that doesn’t mean you will begin to look like a professional bodybuilder just because you’re training for a powerlifting meet!

But as I read through his comments (and this status generated quite a storm) I realized that Greg is talking about guys who want to set records at really light weight classes even though they are not built with the body proportions or leverages like those who hold the records in that league. He refers to “The Ant” Richard Hawthorne who is really one in a billion – although to be fair there are only TWO guys in the world who always deadlift 600 pounds and more at a bodyweight less than 145 pounds: Richard Hawthorne and Joe Morrow.

"I've seen a lot more success from people that look like Brandon Lilly than like Richard Hawthorne. Richard is that 1 in 10 billion freak. Chances are slim that there will be another one soon."

At face value, I do not agree with this mentality that you need to be at the other end of the spectrum with Brandon Lily at 300 plus pounds of bodyweight just because you cannot be like Richard. At the end of the day the truth is that most of us will never become world record holders because most humans are not built with the leverages to become super strong. However as you get stronger – once you surpass a certain strength threshold you WILL need to put on some muscle to push you to the next level of your training. But let me assure you that you should never feel compelled to getting big under the pretext that that size will add strength to your lifts. You can stay at the size you feel comfortable at and try to become the strongest you can be at that size. Once you max out on this and if you want to get stronger you will need to put on muscle mass but you don’t need to start shoveling food into your body obsessively from the get go.

In truth, Greg further re-affirms his stand that he is not talking about people like you and me: us regular folk. He's talking about the best of the best:

"Right but u don't get to have it both ways. I'm not speaking about people looking to get stronger and feel better. I'm talking about people that are at the top level or getting there. Everyone at the top is monstrous and if u wanna be there u ain't gonna look like an Abercrombie model."

Want to Increase Strength without Adding Muscle?

You can get further insight into the fallacy of trying to add strength without muscle by CLICKING HERE

Ground Up Strength has published an article talking about the whole aspect of strength and muscle. On one hand you have people being convinced that lifting heavier weights will get them looking huge and bulky like bodybuilders and on the other hand you have people who are afraid to put on any muscle whatsoever but they still want to get strong. The truth is that if you want to look huge and bulky you must train to get huge and bulky. You won't look like a 300 pound beastly Brandon Lily by just training your squat, bench press and deadlift. At the same time just working towards increasing your absolute strength will not help you pack on pounds of muscle either.

Greg Panora's Original Post on Facebook

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