Perhaps the strongest people that lived on this planet were present about a century ago. For example, Arthur Saxon who bent-pressed 371 pounds with one arm. Many people can't even deadlift that much.
Back in those days, people didn’t have steroids or protein shakes in 100 different flavors, so their monster strength resulted from hard work with a few basic exercises. It is obvious that their methods worked and most gym goers are eager to find out how.
Isn’t modern technology and research developing new ways to produce faster results? Well they are and it may work for some - but not for many. Having said that, the effectiveness of each training technique may vary amongst individuals, however, some of the strongman techniques were more or less the same.
The following are some old-time strongman bodyweight training techniques which utilize old school equipment that worked in the past and it will work for you too, if you put in the necessary effort:
Old-time strongmen weren’t huge supporters of lifting light weights for numerous repetitions. Instead of lifting light weights, they lifted heavy weights for fewer repetitions to achieve maximum strength gain. There are numerous explanations why it works, but the fact is that it WORKS. So forget the pink dumbbells and GO HEAVY!
Bench presses, squats, deadlifts, rows, presses, pull ups and several other challenging movements were used and although this is not a comprehensive list, these are some of the most common. Compound lifts were often done with dumbbells, barbells and sandbags, so that each muscle group of your body is pushed to the limit.
Partial and support lifts
Less movement and more strength; lifting super heavy weights weren’t only a crowd-cheerer but were also done in the gym as part of their training program.
Grip intensive training
Back in the past, some strongmen used thick barbells during training, as only the ones with immense hand strength would be able to lift such heavy weights. Remember, your weakest link determines the maximum amount of weight you can lift and that is often times your grip.
These guys not only worked on their muscles, but made sure their focus and concentration were in check too. Without the right amount of concentration and poise, lifting monster weights may be nearly impossible. Developing mental strength is sometimes more important than large muscles.
Even though old-time strongmen were highly skilled and possessed monumental strength, their training methods were actually pretty basic. They didn’t need all the fancy machines to build strength and muscle mass but I believe this is evident from the list provided. If you remember one thing from this article, then I want you to keep in mind, that nothing substitutes hard work. So many people are looking for the miracle exercise/workout routine, but unfortunately it doesn't exist. Just keep showing up to train and give always 100%. The results will come.
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