All posts by BasileosHerakleios

BH is a hobby historian extraordinaire who puts the paleo into paleo conservative. He enjoys fine suits and filling them out well. Time allowing, he seeks out grown men wearing short pants and flip-flops, extends his index finger and laughs heartily.

Bodybuilding Vs. Building Your Body

This is the truth about bodybuilding: If you do everything about it right, expend huge amounts of time and energy, you’ll end up stiff and muscle-bound, with very little functional strength and out of breath from merely tying your own shoelaces.

He’s huge, he poses well. But ask him to carry a piece of furniture to the third floor and he’ll shatter.

If you’re doing bodybuilding the wrong way, you’ll end up just as my personal laughing stock in the gym did: huge Arms, bulging chest, no upper back, well advanced beer gut and toothpick legs. And I forgot to mention: An inferiority complex to match his arms.

Bodybuilding as popularized by Arnold in the 1970s consists of isolating muscles in very specific exercises, long rests in between sets and eating lots of powdered protein. And don’t forget to add all kinds of drugs to the mix. That makes conventional bodybuilding  just about the most unnatural thing you can do to your body short of male pectoral implants.

Nothing in conventional bodybuilding teaches your muscles to work together in a group in order to execute vigorous movements. Nothing in it sharpens your sense of balance. And nothing in it is any good for getting your body in a posture of masculine grace.

As opposed to lifting weights. The Olympic way.

Olympic lifts – aka the clean and jerk and the snatch –  do all those good things mentioned above. Why? Because they force nearly all the muscles in your body into an extreme effort. Together. As a unit.

Actually, Olympic weightlifting very much resembles the heavy exertions our ancestors did, but we seldomly get around to do. Think: lifting a slain boar and carrying it back to the cave for nourishment. Think: Roman soldiers building earthworks and wooden palisades around their camp. Think: gangs of laborers lifting bullhead railbeams.

Rome’s finest lifted heavy things far more often than they did their swords 

Those are natural activities for men. Activities which millennia of evolution have made us suited to. Which our bodies have a need to execute in order to develop into their proper, masculine shape.

But here we are now, ourselves designed to lift and carry heavy things, but caught in the 21st century where such activity seems very much out of place. Which gets us back to Olympic weightlifting, the one thing ready to fill that void in the life of postmodern males.

Can you spot the difference?

The photo above illustrates perfectly the difference between a guy lifting weights vs a guy committed to conventional bodybuilding. Those two guys are among the very best at what they do, but I won’t tell you which is the bodybuilder and which the lifter.

Hint: one looks like a pacific whale after heavy exposure to Fukushima radiation. Subsequently it beached somewhere along California’s coastline and has since been taken in as a pet by the proprietor of a tanning salon.

Hint: one looks like a seriously athletic dude, equally ready for an MMA match or a 100 yard dash. Navy Seal recruiters masturbate to his image. Women feel their Pavlovian bell ringing violently. He would have beaten Brad Pitt’s ass if the producers had taken the trouble to cast a credible Hector.

Have you been able to solve the riddle? Did you figure out which one has build himself a body like a Roman statue by seriously lifting? And did you spot the one that has transformed himself – through a myriad of hours at the gym, ‘roids, protein powder and tanning – into a cross between trailer trash and oxen?

If you did, then it is time to break through the endless monotony of bicep curls and cable crossovers. Start picking up heavy things from the ground, then violently push them over your head, alternately clenching your teeth or screaming as you do so.

Get strong.

PS: So you guys know I’m not a 300 lbs tub of lard writing in his basement: This is me, taken with my cell’s camera, prior to writing this article. I am 35 years old, spend most of my time at work and love tobacco and booze. I work out only twice a week, for 45 minutes. My core exercises are the clean and jerk and the chinup. Everything else I do is designed to strengthen the various phases of the clean and jerk. Considering the miniscule amount of time I invest, I love the results.

Lazy but fairly well in shape. Thanks to the allmighty barbell.

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