Body building is a more modern, western type approach to fitness and health. In its short history its contributions to strength training and body sculpting have been legendary. It’s not an easy path. It comes at tremendous cost in time, dedication, personal sacrifice, equipment and supplements. Pills and potions are taken to bulk up in size far beyond what nature intended. When it comes to health some of these practices are questionable.
Most of today’s muscle building and sculpting exercises serve no useful purpose in activities of daily living. In fact, they can actually hinder performance, such as slowing down speed in certain sports, when overdone. Nor will it ever replace dynamic or speed training for muscles. A basketball player may lift weights off season to strengthen his jumps and shooting but the best way to develop those muscles is to practice jumping and shooting the ball. That said, when it comes to building muscles and sculpting the body, modern weight lifting science simply can’t be beat.
It wasn’t always that way, however. One of the earliest advocates of muscle conditioning exercise was the legendary Charles Atlas. Charles Atlas epitomized a holistic natural approach to health with particular emphasis on muscle development and health. His unique muscle toning system used no equipment. Instead it pitted the body’s muscles against themselves in an isometric manner. He could never compete in modern competitions. He was far to smooth and too small in muscle size. These days you need to be cut to ribbons to even qualify.
In stark contrast to today’s champion muscle men, however, Atlas maintained his fitness well into old age and he lived to a ripe old age. Modern body building loses its effectiveness with age and becomes harder and harder to maintain at greater and greater costs. It’s not suited for the long haul. It is a young man’s sport.