So, this is is a topic that has frequented my mind lately and it certainly came to light yesterday as I cleared up some land. Let me lay down the scenario for you:
We're getting ready for our wedding and the place that our tent is going to be set up is in the midst of an old Apple-Orchard which now has my in-law's house in the middle. Since the tree's have been left to grow on their own and are likely over 100 years old, you can imagine how many dead branches and trunks there were. So all day yesterday (at least a good portion of it) I hauled the heavy limbs and stumps to the edge of the yard and hurled them over the edge and down the embankment. Nothing
in the gym compares to or prepares you for that kind of movements. Pulling a 200+lbs branch 50 yards that's adding weight with long grass and then having to lift and toss it is not something you can mimic easily in the gym. I even drank Jack3d before knowing it was going to be a rough one. Dragging heavy tree branches and throwing them was a combination of legs, torso, arms, forearms, shoulders and just about everything else. Then, very similar to atlas stones, was deadlifting via bear-hug some stumps into a wheel barrow to move those around.
Now, being from NH, this is nothing new to me since we have plenty of tree's to move after every storm or winter. But, this brings to light how big the gap can be between "gym-strength" like benching, squatting, curling, etc..., and then "real-world" strong such as pushing a car, pulling debris, throwing out trash, etc... I've noticed that when alot of actors are gearing up for movies, instead of hitting a common gym, they tend to head towards a GymJones type of place where functional training is the dominant style. There is a gym near me that has been open for a year or two now and they do almost strictly functional training for Combat Training, Ju-Jitsu (MMA), and Boot Camp. They focus on tire flips, rope-work, and body-weight exercises more-so than static lifts. I'll be heading over there soon as they gave me a free pass to check it out for a week.
So, to those of you who've noticed that being strong in the gym doesn't necessarily increase your bat speed, help you throw a body in MMA, drag branches through your yard or anything else, what do you do? I remember being a kid in gym class when they used to let you climb those 40' ropes up to the ceiling. Those have been long-gone but they were functional!
Throw out some ideas here for those looking for something that'll give them an edge in day-to-day performance.
Note: I'm in no way going to back down from workouts that are proven to add mass because I'm totally vain and want to get bigger.
However, being able to bench press 350lbs doesn't mean you're the stronger guy in the arena. Anyone who's ever fought or performed in "outdoor" games knows the gym will keep you fit but not necessarily "fit" for your profession.