Saturday, June 11, 2011

Strongmen Vs. Bodybuilders

One of the deceiving myths about Bodybuilding today is that they are functionally strong. Back in the day when you had guys like John Grimek, Bill Pearl, Reg Park and Steve Stanko these guys weren’t just awesome in the physique department they were also incredibly strong in quite a few areas such as heavy weight lifting, can do strength stunts and were some of the greatest hybrids of the strongman bodybuilder. Unlike today where you have guys who isolate every single muscle in the body and spend a long period of time in the gym and very few make it to the top and even fewer are in good health.

The mental aspects of these different athletes are just that they are very different but yet they have a common goal and that is to be the best at what they do. For strongmen, they’re goal is to lift the heaviest weight possible, show different bends, tearing thick phonebooks, rip license plates, hell some even lever heavy sledgehammers but yet the mental training to get to those stunts relies on what they need to break through past the governor that resides within us to stop if there is going to pain. Bodybuilders’ mental game is picturing the perfect physique, hitting those last few torturing reps and blasting their bodies to the point where their veins look to pop out.

For the most part lets face it unless you’re superhuman there isn’t a way to put on 30-40 pounds of muscle in a month without the need of some “help.” Bodybuilders today do use steroids like a lot of other athletes but for entirely different reason. I’m not saying all of them do but there are a high number of them. Unlike sports athletes, bodybuilders relied on getting bigger and more muscular other then performing on stage better. Strongmen in certain areas of strength do use steroids and again not saying all but some do. Back in the day before the 50’s and 60’s most bodybuilders relied on strength and power and a few ended up developing great musculature. Take for example John Grimek the muscle god from New Jersey who won every single bodybuilding competition he entered in but yet to him it wasn’t as important as being strong. He was one of the very few bodybuilders at the time who competed in Olympic Weightlifting and was apart of one of the greatest clubs in weightlifting and that was the York Barbell Company. Now lets take a guy like Ronnie Colman who won Mr. Olympia titles as many as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lee Haney. He is without question one of the greats but for him it came with a price. His body was so overdeveloped you can clearly see as bright as day he can’t move his upper boy very well and his legs look like they’re set up to be injured.

This brings to my point about injuries. Injuries happen often in both areas of the strongman and the bodybuilder but who gets the most injuries? For obvious reasons, bodybuilders today rely on building as much muscle as possible but they’re neglecting the tendons which help hold the muscles together and if you build too much muscle tissue the tendons can rupture and tear. Strongmen do get injured as well but probably not as much as bodybuilders but it does happen. Unlike bodybuilders, some strongmen rely on tendon training to do some of the craziest stunts there are. Any other reason to debate these athletes is that no matter what people say about them, these guys go all out for the thing they drive on to become the best.

1 comment:

Sol Black said...

As an add on, I'd say the most strong man injuries come from the fact that they're lifting obscene amounts of weight, and it's very difficult to maintain perfect form, whereas bodybuilding injuries come from the weakness of isolation movements, and the complete overtaxing of their framework by pushing to failure. Both are risky, but I'd call the smarter bet the one with the greater reward. Strongman training simply has more applicable functionality, and thus the risk is better justified.