Speed kills and power punishes. Both statements share a bit of truth, spiced with hyperbole, and they’ve become mantras of strength and sport coaches all over the world. Does speed truthfully kill? In the case of a cheetah and gazelle, I would say so. Speed and power, for our purpose, though, mean a faster trip to first base or a tackle that sends a message. They mean a higher degree of physical efficiency, resulting in greater endurance. Understanding the connection between absolute strength and subsequent physical development is key.
The Glass Metaphor
Sometimes it’s difficult to picture how absolute strength affects all other physical qualities, and understandably so. Drawing a connection between absolute strength and endurance doesn’t appear to make physiological sense–but it does. A useful metaphor always helps us understand how.
The best metaphor I’ve found for relating absolute strength to all other physical qualities is the glass metaphor.
The glass is absolute strength–all other physical qualities are represented by whatever’s in the glass. I choose to fill mine with porter–Edmund Fitzgerald porter to be exact. Hmmm…a beer metaphor works well. Let’s stick with it.
Instead of a glass you have a bierstein. The bigger the bierstein, the more porter it can hold–I know, this is obvious.
Getting past the obvious, remember that our bierstein represents our absolute strength level and that porter represents all other physical qualities (i.e. speed, power, endurance, etc). A huge bierstein, that’s relative to our bodyweight, can be filled with whichever porter style we see fit. Endurance runners drink more distance porter as the linebackers down the power variety.
No matter the flavor, we won’t be drinking much beer with a tiny bierstein. Without absolute strength, we’ll miss out on developing optimal levels of speed, power and endurance.
A Quick Note on What’s Relative
Being strong and a fat mess at the same time won’t improve athletic prowess. Aim to achieve strength without gratuitous weight gain–unless you need to put on weight to be successful (i.e. you’re an undersized lineman).
A king doesn’t show his face with a small bierstein–imagine the humiliation. A king walks the earth proudly, chest broad and shoulders back–a grand cup filled with chosen ale. A strong body developed to his choosing.
Strength will always be king–all other physical qualities depend on it.