I had to move my mom's stuff to a new apartment saturday. I decided to do a little experiment since I was bored and miserable anyway... So I decided to see how weightlifting made this task easier, and what specific forms of lifting helped. I want to be sure you make note that I didn't alter the 'form' use to move the furniture and other objects to fit a certain kind of lifting or an exercise... Basically I didn't try to perfectly deadlift a couch or anything like that.
It involved picking up and loading many pieces of furniture(couches, recliners, small couches, tables, matresses) and boxes/bags full of stuff(all of which were fairly heavy and awkward to carry) through doorways and up stairs into a Uhaul truck or apartment. It took about 5-6 hours to do the bulk of the moving, which was done by me and my brother.
I'm tempted to say that deadlifting strength is important, but not much of the stuff we moved was actually hard for my hams, glutes, and back to lift off the ground for a rep or two at least. On the other hand, if you didn't have basic flexibility and a good base on lowerback strength, you'd probably get injured lifting the stuff off the ground. Therefore, olympic lifts take the prize for having the most real world application, at least in this situation. There were plenty of times I had to explosively pull something off the ground or up to my shoulders or even overhead a few times. I had to carry many things overhead for distances to, so I'll include overhead supporting/squatting in the olympic catagory.
The next most important type of strength would be grip strength/endurence. DAMN my forearms are sore. It wasn't just grip(like static hold) strength that was important though, alot of supporting a weight in a certain position of contraction to, somethin pinch grip plate curls would simulate. You need alot of endurence and strength throughout your hands, fingers, and forearms.
Next most important, and you're gonna hate it, BICEPS! Almost EVERYTHING we had to move involved a contraction of the biceps the whole time. Sometimes it was similar to a heavy curl, but most of the time it was holding the object in a slightly contracted biceps position. Bottom line, DO YOUR CURLS AND PULLUPS! Don't listen to anyone who tells you that biceps aren't important to being strong.
To be honest, chest strength isn't incredibly important, although its very helpful. Quite a few times I had to squeeze something between my hands or arms. Lat/rowing strength also helped during this to pull it into my torso, keeping the object from falling.
Cardiovascular endurence is important as well. I was out of breath many times, especially after carrying things up stairs, which also requires a good level of ab and oblique strength to, although you could probably get by without having 'superstrong' abs like many say you must have.
This may seem a little stupid to you all, but for those intersted in 'functional strength' it may be helpful, despite the fact that its only one way to apply strength(moving furniture etc...).
So to create a program that focused on these forms of strength, we'd have to do something that included alot of olympic training, strongman training(with focus on carrying events like bearhug and walk, stone loading, etc...), alot of pullups and some curls, ALOT of grip training, and overhead pressing/supporting.
Just something to consider... If anyone else has had a similar experiences with moving or functional strength please share your thoughts and experiences...