"“Every man should be able to save his own life. He should be able to swim far enough, run fast and long enough to save his life in case of emergency and necessity. He also should be able to chin himself a reasonable number of times, as well as to dip a number of times, and he should be able to jump a reasonable height and distance."
So said the renowned old time strongman and fitness scion, Earle Liederman. For those of you that don't know, Earle was one of the leading strongmen of his time, and the creator of a highly succesful mail order bodybuilding course. (Note: This was back in the "days" when bodybuilders were, for the most part, truly fit, strong and healthy - unlike their modern bloated counterparts).
Have to say that I completely agree with what Earlie said - sage wisdom, as the term goes. It's a pity such things aren't made part of school curriculums worldwide - we'd be sending a much more different message to kids than we do these days with all the muscle magazines and steriod inflated gym hulks bragging about the peak of their biceps. We'd be starting them off young - and more importantly, they'd start off on the RIGHT path - that is, the path to REAL strength and lifelong health as opposed to what most modern days kids have in mind these days.
And it's sad, but most adults these days would be hard pressed to fulfil even ONE of the "general" requirements above. Let's take a brief gander at some specifics he mentioned and see how the average gym goer matches up:
"Swim at least half a mile or more" Doubtful for the average adult, unless we're talking about a swimming pool where you can rest on the wall in between laps
"Run at top speed two hundred yards or more" - would be impossible for most people, including most that train in gyms on a regular basis.
"Jump over obstacles higher than his waist" - Most folks would end up straining their lower backs doing this - if at all they could do it.
"Pull his body upward by the strength of his arms, until his chin touches his hands, at least fifteen to twenty times" - a definite NO for 99.9% of the populace.
"Dip between parallel bars or between two chairs at least twenty-five times or more" - Ditto
"If he can accomplish these things he need have no fear concerning the safety of his life should he be forced into an emergency from which he alone may be able to save himself." - True enough. . .
And while I may not agree with the numbers and exact requirements, I have to say that Earle painted a pretty decent picture of what the average person should be able to accomplish without too much exertion. I'd modify the numbers slightly, and perhaps delete a couple of the requirements while adding my own (hanging on to a chinning bar for time would be one of my requirements), but still, he's got it spot on for the most part.
Now, how do you make sure YOU build yourself up to able to do all this?
Well, you have to train the right way, and you have to train regularly. And most of the advice you'll find out there will NOT help you achieve these goals. Lifting weights and yanking away on a lat pulldown machine in the gym will not help you bang out 15 or more chins in a row. Running for hours on the treadmill may be making you think you're getting enough "cardio", but no way is that going to build you up to running all out for 200 yards or more - and I mean running ALL OUT, not a lazy jog.
What will set you on the right track is training NATURALLY. And that means doing sensible exercises that work the entire body, or lots of muscle groups at the very least - exercises that give you REAL strength, as opposed to bloated muscles that may look good in a T-shirt, but have little value when push comes to shove.
To drive that point home - how many modern day bodybuilders do you really think could accomplish 15 decent chins in a row? How many could hang off the ledge of a building for five minutes straight until "help arrived"? Ok, hypothetical scenario to be sure, but you get what I'm saying - bloated steriod powered muscles may "look" good, but when there's a life-death situation around the corner, I'll have the functionally fit guy in my corner always - no questions asked.
So, thats some food for thought for the day - let me know what you guys think!
PS: To build the kind of strength and fitness leves that Earle demands of every man (and woman), the exercises in Fast and Furious Fitness are JUST what the doctor ordered. If you don't have your copy as yet, what you are waiting for? Grab your copy NOW, and watch a whole new world open up to you.