Straight to the Bar

All Things Strength


The History and Future of Standard
Arthur Saxon (Hennig)

Arthur Saxon demonstrating bent press. Photo via Tom Black.

When I think of strength and someone who is fit I do not think of someone who goes out and runs long distances. Now that may be a matter of opinion, but surely I am not alone in this thinking. Where people got the idea that running for long distances is actually good for the body I have no idea. Pheidippides, the first person to run the distance of a marathon after the “Battle of Marathon“, actually fell dead after proclaiming victory to his fellow Athenians. There are no other living creatures that regularly jog. If you observe dogs, for instance, when they exercise it is only for brief bursts of intense and fairly short runs. This is the same when small children get together and play in a friendly game of “tag“. They run around as fast as they can until they can’t run anymore and then stop and rest. Most children are in great shape and they don’t jog at all. Around the world you can witness most every native tribe practicing the same. They don’t jog around the Amazon or in the bush of Australia, but instead most of the time you will see them walking to where they need to go. When it becomes necessary, for various reasons such as hunting, they will go to maximum exertion for only short periods of time. This seems to be the natural way to exist, exercise, and how every creature that plays does it.
Now of course there are always the exceptions to the rule such as wolves, hyenas, and other wild dogs which are often noted for their great endurance by trotting country sides for hours on end. As for humans, there are many anecdotal stories of African and Native American hunters running down their prey, but again this is not a routine matter as it is with traditional aerobic jogging or any other traditional aerobic fitness forum.
While humans cannot out sprint many animals we can do surprisingly well in endurance running contests. Another great exception to the endurance running rule is the Tarahumara people from the Sierra Madre Occidental in Mexico. They originally began distance running in order to communicate from village to village, but then turned it into competition forming a “foot throwing” sport similar to soccer over long distances.
For every good study that comes out about jogging there will always be a negative one. I am not in full support of distance running in any sense, but only in the times where it may be necessary in life to survive. Looking at it from a hormonal perspective long distance jogging does indeed produce large amounts of cortisol in relation to growth hormone and testosterone. The best exercise to deliver the most “bang for your buck” is increased intense, but brief (15- 45 minutes total), amounts of sprinting variations which use the whole body as opposed to just the legs. Sprinting, Kettlebells, pushups, pull-ups, clean and presses, intense yoga, etc. are all much better then jogging. Essentially sticking to the basic human movements and then simply adding weight will provide the absolute best long-term results packed environment. Not only will you add muscle to your body, but you will get the look of a sprinter, professional dancer or a completive fighter as opposed to a jogger or marathon runner. Personally I like the look of the former a lot better. Not only that, but many studies have shown that high intensity workouts yield much bigger, stronger hearts, lungs and dramatically increase overall physical capacity than compared to that of long distance counterparts. This type of training will enable and empower you to survive critical situations where overall physical fitness is not just needed, but in many cases vital.
I enjoy reading about some of our modern day warriors and even some of centuries old that didn’t really battle in wars per se, but instead in the competition arena such as Milo of Croton.

Milo of Croton

Milo of Croton. Sculpture by Pierre Puget.

Milo was a 6th century strongman and Olympic wrestler. Each day he would carry a young calf on his shoulders for a specific distance. As the calf grew larger so did Milo’s strength. Eventually it got to the point where he was able to carry a full grown bull on his shoulders for the length of an entire stadium. During each Olympic event he would walk in with the bull on his shoulders, carry it from one end of the stadium to the other, slaughter it right there, and then proceeded to eat the entire thing over the course of the day. He was truly a Brute Warrior and man of pure strength.
People of today are not pillars of strength by any means and I don’t care if you can toss kegs over a wall or drag a train a few feet on its tracks. That says nothing about Warrior Strength to me. Of course those folks are strong, but they do not possess the kind of true strength of men such as Milo, Arthur Saxon (pictured above), Sig Klien, and Eugen Sandow.
These men still hold records of strength even to this day. Isn’t that amazing to even think that? After all the years and so called advances in technology we still cannot succeed what they did hundreds of years ago. I tell you- to progress we cannot look around at various machines and performance enhancing drugs- but instead in order to move forward we must look back. The secrets are no secret at all. Results are experienced through hard work and true sacrifice. Being in the ultimate top condition and having such crazy strength to lift livestock at will does not come by “having fun” in the gym, but instead ONLY by working harder and harder and harder every single day. Results come by sweat, tears, and blood. I am NOT joking. This is the only way and it is proven!
If you want to buy in to all the unhealthy fitness hype subscribed to by the common gym then go jogging on some street with your iPod attached to your arm or hip. If you want to be above average and part of an elite level of overall health, fitness, strength, power, and possess the ultimate and true Warrior ability then go out and snatch a Kettlebell, sprint with a sandbag on your shoulder, undulate a thick rope, throw a boulder, chop a tree, flip a tire, drag a sled, push a wheelbarrow filled with weights, press a log. This is the way of a Modern Fitness Warrior. You MUST experience pain- pain both physically and mentally. You MUST be tested.
Set Your Own Standard!

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