Are You a Muscle Cultivator?

February 14, 2011

“If you walk into a gym, sit on a bench and bang out 3 sets of chest presses followed by 3 sets of incline presses topped off with a few sets of flies trust me you’re not weight lifting – you’re body building. And listen carefully, if you walk out of the gym thinking you’ve just gotten a workout because your hairline is slightly damp with perspiration you’re most certainly in denial, and this is the part that I need you to pay attention to…


By far my favorite line in this article by Art of Strength.

And now tell me– how many of you do that exact workout?

And for those of you who raised your hand, can you tell me why?

Do you even know?

Is it so you can get big huge muscles and walk around under the false pretense that, since you have big huge muscles, you must be in the best physical shape of your life?

Then you, my friends, are sadly mistaken.

Don’t feel bad though– it’s not your fault. You’ve been fed this “bigger is better” bullshit for years, and unless you’ve worked with a trainer who really knows their stuff, you’re probably just learning that this isn’t the case at all.

For all of you who are horribly confused about what the difference between body-building and true physical fitness (and, judging by the workouts I see so many of you doing, I suspect that’s a lot of you), you need to read this article.

A few of my favorite highlights include:

1.) Unless you have a daily need to continuously press 225 pounds up and down while lying on your back (and, right now, absolutely no reason is coming to mind), there is no need for isolated chest presses. Bench, incline, flies– no reason. For those of you who want to argue with me, give me one good reason, besides getting a grossly inflated chest (and ego).

2.) Modern body-building (aka doing the above mentioned exercise) is yet another form of laziness.

Yes, I said it– laziness. In true American form, people have found a way to get bigger, faster,with as minimal effort as possible. Because, again, in true American form, we’re equate bigger to better. Big muscles must mean you’re in better shape…right?

Wrong. Read:

“Do most people have the determination to achieve the goal of becoming a “strong man”? Not if there’s an easier way to do it. Modern body building was borne of a desire to be bigger faster, all at the expense of physical fitness. Granted, the loss of physical fitness was not intentional rather it was accidental and most certainly unbeknownst for many years. Weight lifting, or the “strong man” routines where developed in such a way that the entire body was enlisted to perform the task. Nothing was being isolated, nothing was being left out, the exercises required not only great physical strength but a tremendous amount of cardio vascular strength. It is this cardio vascular strength that was the greatest loss in the transition from weight lifting to body building.

3.) A 165 pound high school senior recently beat his school’s deadlift record by 100 pounds, deadlifting 365 pounds.

It was the first time he had ever attempted it.

He had never spent hours in the gym doing isolated deadlifts, working up to 365 pounds for the sole ability to deadlift 365 pounds. This senior worked exclusively with kettlebells (surprise!). His workouts consisted of non-isolated, total-body movements, strength and cardio combined workouts.

So he’s physically fit in the true sense of the word…and he can still kick you modern-day strictly-isolated-movement body builder’s asses any day.

I won’t go on with anymore highlights, since what I really want you to do is read the article.

Bottom line, having a ton of muscle will do nothing for you, if you can’t even perform the most basic everyday tasks.

All in all, this is about quality versus quantity.

Authentic versus superficial.

Meat Heads versus True. Strong. Men. (and Women :))


One Response to “Are You a Muscle Cultivator?”

  1. DAD Says:

    So, are you saying there is nothing with popeye arms? I still think overall excercise is still the best. HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!!!!

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