Lessons from Blake

Blake went through the Slippery Rock DPT program at about the same time as I. We were like minded and got along very well. Actually, everybody liked him a lot.

Blake was in excellent physical condition. He carried around a massive upper body: chest and tris, back and bis. His legs were tiny. Blake was an intelligent and kind How Much Ya Bench caricature. But this wasn't due to neglect. On the contrary, he squatted and leg pressed twice per week, to exhaustion.

His legs were simply tiny (relative to his upper body) because he did...

Blake jogged often. He stirred away on a stationary bike almost every day for at least an hour while studying. And he wouldn't let up, as someone in his family had suffered a cardiovascular event in their 50s. 

At about the same time, I lifted harder, quit running around so much (school and having a life necessitate that), and allowed my legs to recover. I went from barely being able to dunk with one hand to dunking in games and throwing down 2-hand reverses.

I doubt that Blake needed all that cardio, that an active 25 year-old who eats very healthy and exercises regularly requires that to stave off any genetic predisposition to heart disease. But the point here is that you can't have it all. If long duration activity and fatigue made people into powerhouses, we'd have a lot more of those walking around.

You cannot be great at endurance events and as fast and powerful as you possibly can be. If you're untrained or deconditioned, you can improve all areas simultaneously for a while. If you want to be fast in the 800 meter dash or marathon, there are a ton of track coaches and trainers eager to run you into the ground with endurance exercise.

And that's absolutely fine if endurance events are your thing. 

But if you want to gain "foot speed..."
If you want to gain explosive strength for leaping and accelerating and hitting...
If you want to get jacked and awesome...

(And from the questions I hear, this is what a lot of people are after...)

You must lift heavy things for low to moderate reps. You must sprint and jump and accelerate full-bore, teaching your brain the art of explosive total body effort. You must push yourself without chasing fatigue for the sake of fatigue, which short circuits your long-term progress.

You must rest well, and do just a little heavier - higher - faster the next time. 

elite boxer, football lineman, basketball forward, wrestler, and marathon runner

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