The following is an article from Sig Klein, famous strongman and bodybuilder of the early 1900’s.
I think you’ll find it interesting.
Many people are of the opinion that one should indulge in body building with one view in mind – that is, competitive sports. I believe, and have heard many people who are authorities on such matters, state, that one of the greatest fallacies of scholastic physical training is to produce a faster runner, a better jumper, or a stronger football team.
This is entirely wrong, but the defenders of such sports will invariably state that it is part of the training program so that when these men graduate from school it will give them a better chance to “fight” the world from a business standpoint. I cannot agree with this. I have seldom seen any of these athletes in later years come up ahead in the business world. No one can convince me that men who, for example, do a great deal of track work and are almost continually on the verge of breaking down, are in good condition.
We have all seen in the newsreels the finish in a track meet and have notice the tense expression on the runners’ faces. Instinctively we felt that this form of athletics is all wrong. I am only bringing this to mind as it is the one sport that most people have at some time or another witnessed. Possibly you too have seen these very athletes fall from exhaustion at the end of such a contest. What, if any, is the benefit in such contests? The harm is usually done mostly to those athletes that have the “fighting” spirit in them, for they go at their pet sports with their “all”. This leaves its marks on them in later years. The only “benefit” lies in the publicity that such contests afford the school.
Little thought is given to the results this has on the competing athlete. He is usually “burned out” at an age when he should be at his best. I do not say that one should not indulge in these sports to some extent, but after all is said and done athletics are primarily for exercise and since this is the chief purpose, much saner and more beneficial means are to be had. The cry will come up that as long as there will be athletes there will be contests. True, but why should athletes be trained to such excessive degrees?
There is no glory for an athlete gone to pieces. It would be a fine plan if all the schools and colleges did away with competitive sports and devoted more time to up-building ALL the students. It is not the physically potential prize winners who need training, but those of inferior physical foundations so that they may acquire the physique to withstand the hardships of our modern age.
Progressive bar-bell training offers the best plan. Here the individual pupil can be developed to suit his needs. Since competition is eliminated, he is merely concerned with building up a sound body. I am sure that the heads of our education board will eventually see the light and do away with competitive sports. Even in bar-bell exercising there are boys and young men “competing”, who have absolutely no right to. They should be discouraged by their “teachers” and training partners. I have from time to time witnessed contests in weight lifting wherein the participants had no more right to indulge in the sport of heavy weight lifting than a sedentary office worker to enter a ring with a boxing champion.
So if you want to building up and maintain your health, strength and good appearance, do not indulge in competitive sports – too frequently it leads to a breakdown. Engage in the one sport that will give you more personal gain in the long run – progressive bar-bell training under the direction of one who knows how, and who has patience, understanding, and above all, one who has proved in his own person what he advocates.
If you’d like more from Sig Klein this book is a great collection of his old magazine Klein’s Bell.