Tendon training is a crucial aspect of your strength training for developing the kind of strength worthy of a professional strongman (or woman.) Tendon training is beneficial for more ease in your day to day activities. It can help you to prevent injury even in high impact training.
Empowering and thickening your tendons will enable you to fully utilize the strength of the muscle that you already have, thus showing the power of small but strong men like Bruce Lee and The Mighty Atom.
The tendons in your body deserve some of the most intensive training you can give them, because they will give you fantastic results through huge jumps in your overall strength. The human Achilles tendon has the tensile strength to hold a Volkswagen Beetle off the ground. If you wish to harness that power, you must train your tendons.
Tendons are the thick, fibrous tissues that connect your muscles to your bones. Tendons are essentially the very powerful, yet resilient framework of your body. Building your tendons is akin to earthquake-proofing a building.
The incredible amount of shock that you sustain on a daily basis is absorbed by your rather elastic tendons. Strengthening those tendons is like making a rubber band thicker; it becomes much harder to stretch, yet transfers so much more energy. Your body can't move without your muscles, but your muscles can only be as strong as your tendons will allow.
Tendons must be trained in a specific manner. Traditional strength training or athletic exercises can actually do more to irritate the tendon system rather than benefit it.
The goal of any training is to increase functional ability. Your body is put under some kind of stress, and responds accordingly be becoming stronger, bigger, etc.Your tendons have the ability to do so just like your muscles, you can only achieve this through central nervous fatigue or static training.
Any effort to tense your muscles maximally will work to improve your tendon strength, but attempting to do so through a full range movement with weight could cause a tendon injury and reset your goal. Don't force your tendon training; you have to stay dedicated and know that the strength will come to you.
A great builder of tendon strength is isometric exercises. Alexander Zass strengthened his tendons beyond reason with isometrics to the point that he could bend steel, break steel links across his chest, at a rather average bodyweight of 176. 7 Seconds to a Perfect Body is one of the best isometric programs to buy for incredible tendon strength, period.
He often told of the benefits of training your tendons. George Jowett, the master of anvil gripping, told that training your tendons to be strong like steel cords will build you true strength. The Mighty Atom, one of the smallest strongmen in history, had such tendon strength to bend steel scrolls and literally bite through steel.
Bruce Lee, one of the most prolific martial arts actors, philosophers, artists, etc. the world over added isometrics to his training. It helped him immensely after he suffered a back injury when trying to perform a weighted Good Morning (back exercise) without a warmup. Isometrics can provide a great amount of tension on your tendons in a short period of time without injury risk.
Partials will also maximize the strength of your tendons. Training partials in a maximal manner, meaning generally high amounts of weight in the strongest range of your muscle, can leave your tendons feeling near the quality of a Shaolin monk (after some rest, of course). Be cautious when using incredible amounts of weights with partials, because of the risk of the weight slipping or the safety equipment malfunctioning.
Compound exercises help to fatigue the central nervous system, which will release hormones in the body to promote tendon growth. You can only really fatigue the CNS with compound lifts by lifting close to or near your maximum - trying to a compound lift for high reps can really be dangerous for your tendons.
These lifts include deadlifts, presses, squats (one of my favorites), leg presses, and any exercises that incorporate muscle groups instead of muscle isolation. Don't have muscles just for show. Train hard, train safely, and look to find yourself among the great-tendoned strongmen of history.
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