If any of you read professional bodybuilding magazines back in the late ’90s, you probably saw ads for the “Serious Growth” books. These books were by Leo Costa, Jr., Dr. R.L. Horine, and later Tom Platz. There ended up being some 4+ books in all, and were (supposedly) based on methods that they had learned from Bulgarian Olympic lifting coaches, and had applied to bodybuilding.
Now, I’m not sure how accurate the idea that they were inspired by Bulgarian principles is, but there were some good ideas in these books, nonetheless.
One of the principles that they (again, supposedly) learned from the Bulgarian coaches was that the “Body Becomes Its Function.” They felt that if the body was trained enough to perform a certain function, that it could almost “become” that function.
In more simple terms, what it means is that whatever you train, you’ll become better at.
Simple concept, right? It should be, though many times it’s not viewed that way.
You can’t get bigger unless you train to get bigger. You can get faster unless you train fast. In a more specific sense, you won’t get better at one thing by doing another (want to get better at pullups – then do pullups…not rows, pulldowns, shrugs, or anything else!).
This should be the idea behind your training. You should train in a way that will allow you to accomplish your goals. If you’re an MMAist, then you should be training maximal strength, power, and for muscular and cardiovascular endurance. All aspects of your training should be oriented toward making you a better fighter.
Extraneous things (bigger biceps, performing an Iron Cross on the rings, having a bench press of XXX lbs., etc.) are fine to do and OK to have as goals. But you always have to make sure that these little “side-goals” aren’t prohibiting you from making progress in your main goal. In other words, keep your focus on the big picture.
A guy I’m helping with his training (he’s training to become a pro-wrestler) recently emailed me about a bodybuilding protocol he used to like and use. He wanted my opinion.
I gave him a brief opinion of it. It’s a decent program – good for getting big and strong (being a “meathead” if you will), but lacked a lot from an athletic point of view. The program was good for what it was intended (bodybuilding), but I would make some major changes to it if I were to want to use something similar to it for anybody that was looking to do more than have big muscles and put up big numbers in some basic gym exercises.
He responded by telling me he knew exactly what I meant. When he had been using the program, he gained good size, and even got strong, but was very slow, wasn’t explosive, and generally felt sluggish. Now that he’s using one of my training programs (based on power production and strength/power-endurance) he’s stronger than ever, feels light on his toes, moves better, and has much better control over his body.
And this was all because the “body became its function.” When he trained like a bodybuilder, his body became a bodybuilder’s body. Now that he’s training like an athlete, he has an athlete’s body, with the performance to match.
Whatever your goal is, make sure your training is suited to accomplishing that goal, and that you’re making your “body become its function.”
Train Hard, Rest Hard, Play Hard.