I came up with a list of why it may be good for you to read some of the works of the oldtime strongmen from a century or so ago. Here are ten reasons.
- Some of their feats of strength have not been surpassed to this day. That is quite impressive for an athletic feat to stand for over a century!
- There’s was an era before steroids, therefore there is no influence from the drugs in anything they did, which is quite different today.
- The oldtime strongmen were better all-around athletes than the majority of the hyper-specialists today. While specialization certainly has its place, health is best achieved through generalism of exercise.
- Speaking of health, many, though not all, advocated healthy living in various simple nature-based ways. Again, contrast this to many top athletes that sacrifice their health, instead of support it.
- Their methods tend to be fairly simple. Guess what? The basics work!
- That being said there are many “forgotten” exercises that are very much worth doing. Muscle control, one arm barbell lifts, bodyweight training, etc.
- You can see there was plenty of debate back then as to the “best” method, which gives you perspective on today’s debates. Some things stay the same, despite all the change going on.
- Many were advocates of mental training in one form or another, which too few people speak about today.
- Their training tended to be fun and, in many cases, more of a practice. It was far removed from the “cardio bunnies” and many other weird things that are done in the name of fitness today.
- They tended to be better writers than many writers today. The pace of society was a bit slower back then (can you even imagine?). So people took a bit more time to write and it sounds eloquent compared to today’s tweets and clickbait headlines.
And to add to the list let’s put a caution on why you might want to be careful on which oldtime strongmen to learn from.
Some lied about their methods, inflated results, etc. in order to sell course or goods or keep what they did secret. Definitely want to be careful of that!
Here’s a good place to start. It’s from years back, but as covered above, this information is timeless.
Check out the Physical Culture Book Club here.
And if you want to pick up some books today, here’s a list of many available.