“A strength over-extended becomes a weakness.” – Kung Fu proverb
Last night I was talking to a friend about the modern-day fitness push toward the EXTREME.
“What do you think about it?” he asked.
“I’m all for it up to a certain age,” I remarked.
“What age is that?”
I replied: “If you’re in your teens, twenties and thirties, go ahead, be as extreme as you want – just keep in mind that eventually there will be a tax. When you’re young, you have plenty of time to gather the funds to pay the tax. When you’re older, it’s not so easy.”
“What about when you’re in your 40’s or 50’s?” he questioned.
“In your forties and fifties, if you’re still pushing toward the extreme, you might be able to get away with it, to a certain extent, depending on your foundation. If you learned how to move properly at a younger age, you might be able to continue. Trouble is, most people never learned to move properly, so their bodies break down quickly as soon as they do anything remotely extreme.”
“So what should you do, stick with the basics forever?”
I answered: “You make it sound as though that’s a bad thing. Oh no, don’t stick with the basics. Meander to the extremes, that’s better for you.”
“I didn’t mean it that way.”
“I’m sure you didn’t, but my point is this: If you stuck with pushups, squats, bridging and other bodyweight exercises for your entire life, in the end you’re going to be better off than the extreme athlete who is so banged up he can barely move anymore. Case in point was Alexeev, the great Soviet weightlifter who won Olympic gold in 1972 and 1976. I admired the man. He was a superstud. But he needed three people to help him get up when he was older – and I don’t mean in his 90’s. I’m talking about his 50’s.”
“So you’re saying the push ought to be for people to do what Herschel Walker did? The simple exercises,” he said.
“Simple is under-rated,” I replied. “People think that something must be physically complicated in order for it to have immense value. But the true value is in the mind. What are you doing with your mind as you do the simple exercises? Herschel Walker figured it out a long time ago and that’s why he can still kick butt. ”
“So what you’re saying is that you can use your mind in an advanced or extreme way while doing something simple, do I have that right?”
“You’re bang on. Look, I’m still able to do what some people might classify as extreme, mostly because, in many ways, I figured out how to move properly at a young age. That’s how I was able to win a world title in my mid 30’s after taking several years off. But what has kept me going are the simple exercises. Extreme may grab the rah-rah factor on social media, but it’s not what people are aching for. Most people are totally banged up from training with weights, playing football, doing idiotic things – or from not doing anything. So is the formula for the banged up to pile on and do even more extreme stuff? I don’t think so. As I’ve said all along, SIMPLE WINS. I’m 58 years of age and I’m still learning to get more out of the simplest of movements. That’s saying something.”
My friend, SIMPLE is what you get and WINNING is the result of following the programs I have to offer.
Farmer Burns 1914 course, Lessons in Wrestling and Physical Culture, is a great starting point for most people.
If you have no interest in wrestling, you’re a member of a very large group of people. Skip over all the wrestling moves. Read and re-read the six lessons on physical culture and you will be in AWE.
And then, when you get out of your chair and DO the SIMPLE exercises that Burns recommends, you just might see modern-day progress being made on ailments that feel ancient.
Also, keep Combat Conditioning in mind. It’s a classic as well. And it’s now available in a super user-friendly spiral bound format. It’s now in the office and selling out quickly, especially at the reduced amount (it will be going up substantially by tomorrow).
If you already have the products listed above, congratulations. Make sure you keep going with the exercises.
Here endeth the lesson.