The Standard of Strength
Although we thought it was reasonable to ask our clients to be as strong as 80-year-old Charlie Henderson, it was not immediately clear to us how to translate an elite weightlifter’s ability into layman’s terms.
Charlie Henderson had demonstrated his youthfulness in strength by using a move called the Clean and Jerk a lift that requires considerable skill. Asking ordinary people to learn it would be tantamount to asking them to become Olympic figure skaters. It would also be dangerous. Surely, there had to be another method to measure the strength factor.
Aniela provided the answer. She had been experiencing shoulder pain for several weeks. To find out what was wrong, Jerzy measured her shoulder strength. In a behind-the-neck press, she could lift 50 percent of the weight that she could Clean and Jerk. That was below the 58 percent standard established by Robert Roman, the well- known Russian weightlifting coach. Jerzy started her on a program to strengthen her shoulders.
After four months, her pain had faded. By the time she reached 58 percent, it was totally gone. The relationship between the behind-the-neck press and the Clean and Jerk gave us a simple objective for people who want to achieve the first part of the Standard of Strength. Men need to press from behind the neck a weight equal to 58 percent of their body weight. That would be equivalent to being able to Clean and Jerk 100 percent of their body weight, just like Charlie Henderson.