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"Strength Is More Than Just Muscle"

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Athletic Strength and Power – Part II, What Sets You Apart from Ancient Athletes

So you're determined to have athletic strength and power, and be in the best shape of your life. Or perhaps you are already there. Regardless, there is something that can make your athleticism reach unparalleled heights that perhaps even you didn't envision. To do so, we have to take a look at some of the best athletes that ever graced this earth.

Ancient warriors.

Warriors of the past were often put on the path of war from a very young age and conditioned to the highest degree of physical fitness. They had athleticism, being able to spend a full day fighting enemies in hoards, dodging menacing weapons and attacking with fatal accuracy. They had strength, often wrestling daily with fellow soldiers to test their strengths, and wearing sometimes what could amount to 80-100lbs of armor during their deadly encounters with the enemy.

Perhaps you have no use for such strength; no time soon will you be vanquishing your foes before you as the sun basks you in its rays of warmth and fruitful victory. However, imagine being the player on a team that people fear challenging because of your overwhelming physical prowess. You soon learn to challenge yourself further, being the best you can become for your own sake, and thus your opponents, figuratively in most cases, fall before you.

How did they get such strength and power? How do YOU get it? Dan Gable, one of the best wrestlers of the modern era, seemed to simplify the answer in two sentences: “If it is important, do it everyday. If it's not important, don't do it at all.” Warriors had to be prepared at all times; a seemingly peaceful moment could turn into a bloody discourse with an enemy within minutes. They couldn't afford rest days or to slack off from training. Adopt this mindset with your workouts, and train every day.

“Oh my God, he wants me to bench EVERY DAY?” No, that's not at all what I'm saying. Whether you're a warrior or a waterboy, your muscles need time to recover from intense workouts. What I'm saying is if you are a soccer player, squat one day, do wall sits another day, run or light jog the next day, and practice soccer everyday. Mix in maximal training with light exercise for your legs to get the recovery they need, but every minute that you don't practice soccer is a minute that you're not improving. That goes for whatever your goal is; you'll have a long road ahead of you trying to learn a language if you read as much as you can only once or twice a week. You read a bit each day; some days you're more concentrated, others you're not, but you gauge that for yourself and continue to read until you learn it and become fluent. In the same way, approach your training. You will not only gain athletic strength and power, you will become a strength training phenom, challenged only by yourself.  

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