Sunday, June 12, 2011

THE DEVELOPMENT OF PHYSICAL POWER - (Circa 1906) - Chapter 5 - What Sports Help Weightlifting and How - By Arthur Saxon

I am not so narrow-minded as to say that if you take up weightlifting you should practise it to the exclusion of all else. There is no reason whatever why you should stop practising your favourite sport or pastime, indeed there are several such which are a distinct aid to the weightlifter. Take cycling--Here we have a pastime which gives strength to the legs, a most important part in weightlifting; especially in double-handed lifting is the need for good development felt. If you take such sports as boxing, tennis, fencing, golf etc., where quickness is necessary, even these help the lifter, provided they are not overdone, as the ability to move quickly is by no means invaluable in weightlifting. All outdoor sports should be beneficial, inasmuch as they get one into the open air, and help one keep generally fit.

It must be taken into consideration that a weightlifter lifts not only by possession of large muscles, for it is possible with comparatively small muscles to raise a heavy weight by pure energy. Outdoor work helps to develop this energy, and such sports as wrestling, swimming, walking etc., etc. keep the muscles in order, and give enduring strength which stands the lifter in good stead if he has to make a number of attempts at any given lift. At the same time, there are few sports which develop the right kind of muscle for lifting. Therefore, it does not necessarily follow that a man who has obtained good physical development from any sport will excel without training in weightlifting, even when a position for test be chosen where sheer strength alone can avail.

To prove this I may say I have tested many wrestlers of splendid physique, and, for wrestling, possessed of enormous strength, but they could not raise heavy weights. You see, wrestling calls into play rather different muscles from weightlifting. Perhaps it will not give good triceps, therefore I should not expect a man like Madrali to be good at a double-handed press overhead from the shoulder, body erect, the back against the wall, although I should expect him to raise a heavy weight from the floor, where the back and legs come prominently into play.

Weightlifting is better training for wrestling, to my mind, as far as the muscles are concerned, than wrestling is for weightlifting. I may say that some of the best wrestlers in the world were weightlifters before they were wrestlers, and have found their development and strength of great use in wrestling, and this development and strength was gained by weightlifting. The best instance I can point to is Georges Hackenschmidt.

No man can expect to be an all-round champion, and if your favourite sport is weightlifting, then only practise the different sports you are interested in as a means to an end, the end to be weightlifting. Do not make them an end in themselves, as if you did then it would probably be advisable to adopt quite a different system of training with weights. You would have to use light weights and do quite different exercises. Heavy weightlifting is good for wrestling; it would also be good training for throwing the weight, and, perhaps, for putting the shot, also for gymnastic work, but it would not be good for boxing, that is if you wished to be a champion boxer.

Iron Nation
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Bob Whelan

Bob Whelan

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