Received an excellent couple of questions the other day about size and strength, specifically of the old-time strongmen.
My most concern is that I’d like to know how somebody could be a strongman without being as huge as nowadays’ strongmen. What did the old-time strongmen did to be so strong and be this small in size but being able to do all feats that strongmen of today are doing?
I’ve got four factors that play in the role of size and strength.
1. Size does not necessarily translate into strength. There are many big bodybuilders today that are big but are not strong in even the basic lifts. And there are many small guys who you wouldn’t even give a second glance at that are unbelievably strong. This isn’t even talking about weird lifts, odd objects, and the like.
2 Strength is connected with the mind. The deeper you get into strength training the more you realize this fact. Knowing that you can do something, whether you’re big or small, goes a long way in making you strong.
3. Its all in how you train. There are specific ways of training to get strong and stay small, to hypertrophy the muscles without strength, and to do both. And if you want to do specific feats you need to work on those. And the feats performed by the old-time strongmen are not the same ones done in today’s competitive strongmen contests. Those doing the old-time feats are often not big guys at all.
4. The use of drugs. Can you get big and strong without them? Definitely. Can you get as big as some people are today without them? No. And I’m not just talking steroids. There’s all kinds of ‘super-supplements’ and other things that can do the same.
Looking at these four reasons you can see why many strong people today are bigger then those in the past. Not to mention the precedent of guys getting bigger and bigger all the time.
The important thing to do is look at your goals and see what it is that you want to achieve.