Saturday, November 25, 2023


The importance of identifying "How much?" is "Enough" is difficult to over-state.

That question came up when Belladonna (a lifter) asked if I had given any thought to my "target" for dead-lifting. The reason it came up is my aggressive increases in weight are kicking my ass with regards to delayed onset muscle pain.

In fact, I have given a great deal of thought to my target for dead-lifting goals.


Data in how strong and how fast the "average" American is almost impossible to collect.

Cooper collected some information on Law Enforcement Officers and that has become the de facto standard. Cooper's standards are not perfect because they body-weight oriented exercises that are gender and age "adjusted". A malefactor does not care if you are a man or a woman, or if you are 27 or 57 when you get into a tussle. That is why a 120 pound, 55 year-old woman officer might ace her Cooper standards and still get her ass handed to her when trying to subdue a suspect.

But the Cooper standards are something and any data beats no data.

The "standards" for deadlifting are even harder to come by. It seems likely that the "average" American male might be able to deadlift 80% of his body-weight as a single-repetition maximum which corresponds to ten-repetitions at 60% of his body-weight.

But is that an average 30 year-old? Is that an average American with a BMI of 25 or less? Does the average include people with back injuries?

The thing that makes the information on the Internet loosie-goosie is that anybody who shows up at the gym and accepts instructions on lifting is a very-small, self-selected population. Even a "beginner" is way ahead of the general population in terms of technique and strength.

And those "average" numbers are probably based on the beginners who show up at the gym.

Another totally different thing to consider is that muscle-mass comes at a cost. I used to work with a gentleman named E.T. His other nickname was "Big". He could not walk up a flight of stairs without breaking into a sweat and panting. Muscle mass is mass. Admittedly there is a possibility that he had an underlying heart condition that might account for his shortness of breath.

After considering all of these factors, I decided that if my body is capable (at age 64) I want to be able to dead-lift 100% of my body-weight for ten repetitions. That extrapolates to 130% of my body-weight for a single repetition-max which according to the internet puts me somewhere between "Beginner" and "Novice". 

It also suggests that I would be 65% stronger than the "average" 200 pound US male (whatever that is) regardless of age.

Sort of like that beat-up Dodge Dart with the smokin' hot Hemi. It ain't the paint job that wins races.

In other dimensions

How much money is "enough"?
How big of a house?
How pretty of a wife?
How many quarts of canned tomatoes in the pantry?
How many bushels of potatoes?
How many deer in the freezer?
How many pea-shooters?

Genichi Taguchi, a Japanese quality guru had the insight that more is not always better. Like E.T., more-than-enough comes with costs even if those costs are not as visible as the costs of not-enough.

Did more money come at the cost of your relationship with your wife or your peace-of-mind?

Did the large house come at the expense of totally depleting your discretionary money?

Did your trophy wife come at the expense of your becoming irrationally jealous?

Did canning 150 quarts of tomatoes consume all of your jars and lids and shelf-space?

Did growing and digging 1500 pounds of potatoes mean that you threw out 1000 pounds of rotting potatoes in May?

Did having your freezer full of meat mean that you could not capitalize on a screaming deal on blueberries or strawberries or Large Rifle Primers?

Did having more than X number of pea-shooters come at the cost of your never having mastered the manual-of-arms for any one of them?

This might be the most important lesson we can teach young people

More education is not always better.

More money is not always better.

More friends on social media are not always better.

More     fill-in-the-blank       is not always better.


  1. Please remember Joe that you are getting to that age where having the muscle to do something does not mean that your tendons can still handle it. Be cautious and your life will be much better as you age. I wish I had done so. ---ken

  2. Time
    I noticed some guy named Dog recently quit smoking weed because he now wants more time.
    He spent his life high, corrupting young men and women.
    Now he wants more time....

  3. Godliness with contentment is great gain.

  4. With respect to tangible goods, the cost of inventory can be high. Sometimes, more than a few, that cost can be extremely high.

    I say the only thing(s) not enough are closeness to God and love of family.

  5. Wait, I'm supposed to keep my primers in the freezer?!

    1. Some OCD reloaders do.

      It is the driest place in your house until you have a power outage and then it is the wettest.

      Some people put them in double, gallon zip-lock type bags.

      Not sure it is a great move because I don't know the risk of static electricity.

    2. We don't freeze our primers but have been storing primers in resealable plastic bags since the early 70's and have never experienced a problem from this practice. After sealing they are kept in a cool dark space (our primer cabinet) at around 55 degrees f.

      For the last fifteen years or so we've included a 5 gram desiccant pack to help control outgassing of any moisture in the packaging. I'm beginning to rethink this particular practice as just adding an additional cost for no real benefit. This is based on before and after weights of the dessicant bags which show negligible increases in weight and the use of a non scientific and subjective tear test of the original packaging and sleeves.

      Quantities in storage have ranged from a few thousand (early 70's) total to a peak of nearly fifty thousand (2010~2018 when all four offspring started shooting). Current storage levels are about half that as we have been using and not replacing inventory due to either availability or cost.

      Primer performance has never deteriorated either, as far as we can ascertain, based on chronograph readings and terminal performance of our loads which range from small pistol through .30 caliber magnum loads.


    3. Place the primers in the deep freezer (out of the cardboard as much as possible) overnight, then out them in a ziplock or other airtight container that is also in the freezer. This means that the moisture content is as low as possible. Then seal 'em (maybe with a small dessicant) and store in a cool, dry place.
      Alternatively, purge the packaging with dry nitrogen or CO2 (or even air from a scuba tanks, it has a very low dewpoint in the bottle). You can get the nitrogen or CO2 from a welding supply place fairly cheaply.

    4. I'm not so sure that you need to take such precautions. Let me explain.

      I sized and primed some .308 Win cases and for some reason didn't continue with reloading them. Being a bit pedantic, I had labelled them with the date. I took no special precautions to store them - they were in an open ice cream tub on the shelf.

      15 years later, I came across them and decided that they might not be reliable so I loaded them into my rifle and fired them off. Every single one detonated correctly and, as far as I could determine, with the full force expected.

      Note I lived in a temperate climate - the UK - without the oppressive heat and humidity of somewhere like Alabama but take that as you find it.

      Phil B

  6. I looked at the Common Cents blog and decided to not list them on my blog roll. The reason is that I like to have them listed by "Freshness" with the new entries on top.

    I find that is efficient for me. I start at the top and read my way down until I get to one that I recognize the Subject of and know that I am caught up.

    Common Cents is an aggregator that is very heavy on videos. Aggregators have an advantage over original-content blogs in that they can post many times a day. That creates a relative disadvantage for those poor stiffs working a full-time job and crank out a post a few times a week.

    The other thing is that videos take longer to 'read' than written content. Guys like Kenny and C.W. aggregate written material and static images, mostly.

    There is nothing wrong with Common Cents' content. It just crowds the sand-box of my blog roll as it is currently configured.

  7. You sure you are not older than 62? You seem a whole lot wiser. Wish I'd had as much sense when I was 62. Cheers.

  8. ERJ, a "max" in weight lifting is a tough critter to track down. It depends on not only your age and athletic ability but also on your own genetics.

    Example: I have never been able to do much more than body weight bench press. I have many friends that can do more. And my squats and deadlift were not ever really up to what I thought they should be. At one point I asked my coach The Berserker about the fact that I simply was not making progress at all, except possibly in dribs and drabs. His response was effectively "Sometimes that is the way it is".

    That said, a 10 rep bodyweight lift is very acceptable.

    Your mileage may vary: This is a weight lifting calculator I have used.

  9. 10 reps dead’s are a grind, I target a set of 5. Regardless here is a link to yet another ‘Strength Standard’.
    I’ve been drinking the Starting Strength Koolaid for years, deep rabbit hole to pursue.

  10. a broken refrigerator or upright freezer is a great place to store powder and primers.
    Cool on the inside.
    Not a lot of air exchange with temperature swings.
    Camouflage: does not scream "GUNPOWDER!! DANGER!!"
    Easy to put a hasp and padlock on it.


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