The Barbarians – A Huge Hybrid Muscle Upset!

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Warrior3Glad you all got pumped up about the “Warrior Physique” report. Ya I know I left out some pretty badass warrior cultures, so by popular demand I’m spotlighting one more for now. If you haven’t read the report yet you can snag a copy by claiming a copy at the top of this page. Okay where did I leave off? Oh ya……

Everyone knows that the ancient Roman warriors kicked ass. In fact, the growth of the Roman Empire was just about unstoppable for nearly 500 years. That is, up until 476 AD, when they found themselves fighting the Barbarians who invaded Rome from the Germanic region of Europe. And this time, it was the Barbarians who kicked ass, not the Romans. This was one of their biggest defeats that the Romans had ever suffered. And what made this trouncing particularly humiliating was that it was carried out by an army that wasn’t well-organized. Even more embarrassing for the Romans was the fact that this “rag-tag” army had almost no armor—and in fact, some of them wore nothing at all—and used a mismatched, hodgepodge of weaponry.

For the Barbarians though, this was their single-greatest victory ever, and even today, this battle stands as the defining moment in the unification of Germany. So, how did the Barbarians—who seemingly were nothing more than roving, disorganized, loose-knit bands of guys with a penchant for fighting—clobber the mighty Romans? Taking a look at both the way the Barbarians fought their battles and what they did to prepare for them, sheds some light on why they were a force not to be taken lightly.

First of all, you should know that the Barbarians—in reality, groups of small, semi-nomadic, warring tribes—basically pioneered the art of guerilla warfare. They honed their fighting skills by battling each other and favored hand-to-hand combat, surprise ambushes and fought without any rules. They had almost no armor or helmets and sometimes fought bare-chested or even naked. So while the Romans were well-disciplined fighters, they were fighting as part of an organized unit—in other words, if one fell, another took his place. In contrast, the Barbarians weren’t organized. It was more or less, every man for himself—and that’s they way they trained.

Whether it was by design or circumstance, the Barbarians were almost always in a perpetual state of training. Not only would each small tribe be almost constantly fighting another tribe, but just to keep on their toes, the guys within each tribe often fought each other. So essentially, even more so than other warrior cultures—all of which used weaponry to a greater degree than they did—the Barbarians relied on their physical capabilities to defeat their enemies.

Because of this, it was even more important for the Barbarians to continually strive to build super muscle or type III muscle, as well as increase mitochondrial density. So for them, their training activities would have focused on those things that included a high degree of resistance cardio.

The hand-to-hand combat sessions would have helped them to develop speed, accuracy, flexibility and strength. But in addition to this, they would have had to also build up their endurance levels so there would have been lots of running as well. But to really increase the mitochondrial density and build hybrid super muscle, they would have also spent a considerable amount of time running across distances carrying supplies and whatever weapons they might have been using at the time.

They would have also done quite a bit of slower-moving resistance cardio—still carrying all the great—as they moved from place to place. The Barbarians were semi-nomadic so they were almost always on the move and their attack mode was similar to what the Vikings used—rapid, surprise attacks.

barbarian2Remember too that the Barbarians more or less pioneered guerilla warfare, which requires an incredible degree of flexibility, speed and versatility. Knowing this, we can be fairly certain that their training routines would not have included doing the same thing day-in and day-out. In order to develop and hone the fighting skills that they needed to defeat their enemies, they would have had to be constantly mixing things up from day-to-day. And again, like the other warrior cultures we’ve discussed, they weren’t exercising so that they could look good—they were focused on functionality.

The Barbarians definitely go down in history as one of the elite warrior cultures of all-time. Stay tuned as we explore how we can build the same Super Hybrid Muscle the Barbarians had by copying some of their training regiments. As you have definitely figured out by now it is going to involve strength building and resistance cardio or max effort conditioning. When it comes to building the “Warrior Physique” you’re going to need to train like a warrior and that involves stepping out of your comfort zone and performing activities that build muscle and burn fat at the same time like resistance cardio or conditioning.

Don’t worry, you won’t need to quit your gym to join in on some of these workouts, you just need to get creative. Got any ideas on how you can build some Hybrid Muscle? Leave your comment below and I might just spotlight another requested warrior culture next week.

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23 Comments Add yours

  1. Johann
    August 3, 2009
    6:47 am

    Good one Mike, reminds of the opening scene from the movie Gladiator.

    There’ s something strange I ve discovered over the past few weeks i.e. running 100 m bursts / sprints uphill say about 5 times a session 3 times a week has conditioned me to lift heavier on the bench!

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    What a great movie! Ya the uphill factor to those sprints is definitely resistance and definitely a way to do hybrid cardio for sure. I’ve read that’s is always best to do your cardio using the same energy system you want to train for the sport you play. So that makes sense for increasing your bench too. Training HIT bursts would work the same energy system as when you’re trying a heavy bench. -MIKE

    [Reply]

  2. Bill
    August 11, 2009
    7:06 am

    Hey Mike, Great article! Wanted to share a recent live workout. Found a heavy object, if nothing around use a formal dumbbell if necessary, otherwise the heavy object also trains grip since uneven and hard to hold.

    First as a warm up, did some muscle ups into a nearby tree alternated with a nearby fence for practical exercise application in the real world.

    Then that lonely heavy object just wanting to be moved….cleaned it to overhead then sprinted with it as far as possible then threw it (this part make sure no friends around!) then when can no longer lift it overhead curl press it to your chest and sprint with it. When finished with that, pick it up and throw it.

    To finish, if near by swimming pool (fortunately have one) then practice various swimming techniques to cross as quickly as possible. Included time underwater as well.

    While heading back home did pull ups or handstand push ups, finally finishing with one-arm burpee rolls which combine a burpee with a roll designed to move away from danger and practice my rolls (sometimes include after rolling picking up a heavy object or throwing it).

    Like Johann said previously, the more conditioning work done, strength went up.

    Interested in others live training and especially your input Mike!!

    Keep Going!! Keep Growing!!!

    Bill

    [Reply]

  3. Romano
    August 13, 2009
    8:54 pm

    Hey Mike totally dig the video and would like to find out more coz i am just starting to explore the world of building muscles and want to learn more on how to tap into the type 3 muscle fibers. hope you got some tips for people who are just starting?

    [Reply]

  4. Bob Raymond
    August 20, 2009
    3:13 am

    Guys,
    Thanx for the free info & dvd’s. At the age of 46, i’m looking for ways to improve my strength & endurance. as it is, I still play softball, sponsoring my own team – a team of all YOUNG GUYS – all under the age of 33! If I couldn’t compete, and HOLD MY OWN, I wouldn’t subject myself to putting myself out there and embarassing myself. So far, so good – I can outrun 95% of my team, BUT NEED MORE MUSCLE TO COMPETE IN HITTING THE LONG BALL! I CAN STILL do a split while stretching at 1st base, but this is what I need to amp up my performance at the plate. THANX AGAIN!
    Bob “the old guy” Raymond

    [Reply]

  5. shawn
    August 21, 2009
    4:55 am

    awesome videos I’m getting into MMA and I definately need new ways of getting ahead of the competition. I’m a 32 year old guy and getting into MMA a little late but I know I can do it, I have crazy will. Again thanks for the great vids!

    [Reply]

  6. Malcolm
    August 25, 2009
    2:51 am

    That’s what I’m talking about. You don’t need fancy weapons or fancy equipment to win the fight! You got my attention, keep it comin.

    [Reply]

  7. dr
    September 4, 2009
    5:51 pm

    I think its worth mentioning that not all the barbarians were disorganized. Granted the foot soldiers may have been, but many of the commanders had actually been high ranking soldiers in the Roman Empire before the barbarians began launching an offensive that effectually saw them ransacking Rome. Just a fyi

    -d

    [Reply]

  8. fil
    September 9, 2009
    9:37 am

    wery good

    [Reply]

  9. tim B
    October 5, 2009
    2:56 pm

    Grab your partner or a heavy bag. Put them in a fireman’s cary position. Now squat 15 times. Walk 15 feet, squat again, walk another 15 feet, squat some more. Take turns doing this 2-3 times. Now do 50 pushups (any variation), flip over do floor presses with the heavy bag 10 reps.
    Now back to fireman’s carry this time lunges, walk across the room back and forth 3 times. Now to finish, take your heavy bag or your partner and do 25 judo throws to each side. (hip and shoulder throws).

    [Reply]

  10. josh
    November 3, 2009
    11:18 pm

    Does anyone know where I could get more information on this “warrior diet” by ori, im kind of currious as to how this really works, its basically the complete opposite of everything that we have been taught in the past and goes against everything i have learned. Mike (or anyone else) could you give me a website or some way I could find out more about this. and for those who don’t know what im talking about, just read “the warrior physique” it’s the last couple of pages.

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    Hey Josh, I think this is Ori’s official site: http://www.warriordiet.com/

    [Reply]

  11. josh
    November 3, 2009
    11:54 pm

    does anyone else have any feedback or opinion on this?

    [Reply]

  12. josh
    November 3, 2009
    11:55 pm

    mike,
    have you actually tried or experimented with this? or has anyone else experimented with this?

    [Reply]

  13. Troy
    January 29, 2010
    3:05 am

    What I currently do on the two days of the weekend is clean and press, as many as I can in 60 seconds, or as close as I can get to that, then rest for about a minute, and do it again. The goal is to reach 30 minutes of activity, like I read somewhere here or in one of your e-mails. Or I figure until it gets too easy, or I can reach 60 seconds on more of my sets. Anyway, at such a time, I would raise the weights.

    I can tell you this is a different type of training, you will get a hell of a workout.

    My back does seem stronger and more ready to do my normal deadlifts. And regular power cleans are smoother. I think I am taking off some fat too. I may want another day of hybrid cardio in there to burn some more calories though.

    Troy

    [Reply]

  14. Scott
    February 13, 2010
    4:03 am

    Here’s my odd excercise for the week. Uphill sprinting in the snow pulling a 50lb. kid on a sled with one hand…then switch hands and go again. Great fun for the kids…great excercise…and nice outdoor scenery to boot!

    [Reply]

    Troy Reply:

    I dig it. I really want a sled to sprint with, push and pull and all that stuff.

    [Reply]

    Reggie Reply:

    hey troy you can make one if you want ..its not hard ..actually its pretty easy ..

    just get and old tire with the wheel still in it, link some chain through the wheel an attach some towrope or just any rope to it….thats what i did ..n im only 14 lol
    sprints are fun with it but what i like doing most of the tim is chuckin some sandbags on it and plates just to increase the intesity and pull that around
    Reeeaalll good upper back workout and great for the hamstrings

    hope you can do some of that then :)

    grow strongg;)

    [Reply]

    Troy Reply:

    Something I really want is those sleds that football players charge into, then have it so I can add weights to it. I also thought of a large crank that you can pull a sled with, just wind it up and pull the sled to you. Kind of like tire flipping, but you can make the sled heavier and heavier. I got all this stuff brewing in my mind.

    I’ve been strong much of my life, now I really want to be in great cardiovascular shape, to add to this. The Lean Hybrid concept is such an awesome concept.

  15. Steve
    February 13, 2010
    1:20 pm

    Great point to make Mike, everytime I watch Conan the barbarian it reminds me that it is the cardio/resistance mix of training that creates endurance

    [Reply]

  16. Marco
    February 14, 2010
    11:34 am

    Well, apart from the strength training and everything, saying that the Roman Empire fall because the barbarians trained better, is a bit of far reach. Maybe you are very good in strength training, but that would be an “F” in history ;-)

    Cheers
    Marco

    [Reply]

  17. Clement
    May 8, 2010
    4:50 pm

    Thanks for the inspiring post, mike. I really love your historic insights. You really inspire me there!

    [Reply]

  18. angel romero
    September 2, 2010
    8:09 pm

    You make really good points. But what i do not get is they did not know that your body needs variety so they probably did things over and over so how then dd they achieve their physique?

    [Reply]

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