Saturday, January 9, 2010
Fundamental for Super Strength
Long ago, what was considered to be a 'fundamental of super-strength'?
Was it bigger shoulders?
Others might say that it’s all in the legs.
Actually, the most important part of the body, the part that is the basis of all your strength and ultimately all your power is...your back.
And what was a key exercise of old time strong men to accomplish that?
Super-Strength by Alan Calvert (1924)
Below is an interesting quote from “Super-Strength” by the great Alan Calvert, the original editor of Strength magazine and inventor of Milo Bar Bells. Originally written and published in 1924, among the strength community it is considered to be one of the best books of all time and, in its day, the proverbial "barbell bible".
This chapter explains the vital importance of a strong back. As well, Alan Calvert claimed the kettlebell swing was THE best exercise to accomplish that. And was "one of the fundamentals of super strength."
". . . .must get firmly fixed in your mind; and that is, when a man is standing on his feet he positively cannot exert the full strength of his arms unless the strength of his back and legs is in proportion to the strength of his arms. I do not mean that the back must be just as strong as the arms, but that is must be many times stronger.
"In this chapter, when I refer to the back, I particularly mean the muscles in the back which control the action of the spine. On either side of the spine there are long muscles which run all the way from the base of the skull to the hips; and these muscles are called the "erector-spinae"; that is, the muscles which straighten or erect the spine. In the lower half of the back, these muscles are plainly visible, and when fully developed they appear like two ships'-cables. If you wish to gauge the strength of a man's back don't look at his shoulders, but at the small of his back - his loins, his haunches and the back of his thighs.
"If you wish to get super-strength it is absolutely necessary for you to teach your back to work in concert with the legs.
"About the best exercise for strengthening the back and legs, and for teaching them to work together, is the one shown in Figs. 12 and 13 [picture above]. It takes considerable practice to master I; but it is worth all the trouble, because it is one of the fundamentals of super strength. . . .( and then he goes on to describe the kettlebell swing technique.).
" . . . . This exercise has so many beneficial effects that it should be included in the training of everyone who aspires to super-strength. . .
The Benefits According to Calvert
Here are a few of the things you will gain from this exercise: You will learn to instinctively keep your back flat when making a great exertion; you will get a much firmer grip on the ground with your feet; you will learn how to "time" a heavy moving object; you will increase the gripping power of the hands and increase the development of the front part of the shoulder muscles; you will become able to jump further and higher. It is because "Strong Men" practice such exercises as this, that they are able to make such remarkable records in the standing broad-jump and standing high-jump. I know a lifter 40 years old and weighing 220 lbs. who can clear almost eleven feet in a standing broad-jump. At the age of twenty-five, when he was lifting professionally, he could jump even further than that; and, what is more, he could sprint 100 yards in 10 seconds flat. Incidentally, he holds one or two records in lifting heavy weights from the ground.
End of quote.
Among the RKC community, the kettlebell swing is king as well. Strong men have recognized this for a long time.
MUST SEE VIDEO: This link to Coach Mike Boyle's very insightful 3 minute video graphically explains the nebulous approach towards human aches & pains.
What If Something Hurts -- Do You have Pain?