Gym Strength vs Real Life Stength

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You know, going to the gym and working out isn’t the only way to get strong. There’s actually a huge difference between being gym strong versus real-life strong.  It’s completely possible to be in good shape and strong—and I mean really strong—without ever having stepped inside a gym.

oldmanstrength2How is this possible? Are these guys just genetic freaks? Let me tell you that it is possible and no, you do not have to be a genetic anomaly to be in great shape and what I like to call “real-life strong.”

My own dad is a great example of a guy who is really strong but yet he’s never worked out a day in his life. He did however, do a lot of manual labor. He was always working on things outside in the yard, building stuff, working with wood or any number of other things. On the flip side is me—I have been working out since I was in high school in Connecticut.

I really started to get serious about training when I finally started growing and getting stronger. By the time I hit my senior year and was playing football I was able to bench 275 pounds and was really proud of myself.

It all got put into perspective though one day when my dad needed my help to get rid of some large rocks sticking out of the grass. The area where we lived in Connecticut was kind of mountainous with these huge rocks just about everywhere. Around our yard, they seemed to even multiply so every now and then we’d have to dig them up and haul them away in a wheelbarrow.

One year, my dad wanted to get rid of some especially big rocks on the property so we got to work digging.

Once the dirt was removed I went in to move the boulders. Knowing how strong I had been getting I figured I could take care of the bulk of it by myself. I was shocked though to find out that I could hardly even budge them. But my dad—the guy who had never worked out a day in his life—was able to move them all by himself.

I was shocked. I could not believe that this “old man,” who I knew I could beat on any machine in the weight room, was still “stronger” than me when it came to real life. I started to refer to it as “old man strength.”

Today, I’m older, a bit wiser and I realize that my dad hadn’t developed “old man strength” but he had actually developed “hybrid strength” without even trying. Those activities that he did around the house just about every day gave him a physical edge that is very difficult to duplicate in a gym.

daveMost ordinary training routines isolate individual muscles, which is not how our bodies are really designed to work. The kinds of things my dad did though recruited multiple muscle groups simultaneously and even more important—would have required both strength and endurance, just like a hybrid workout.

And what he did in the process of doing these activities was to develop hybrid type III muscles, which is really the “optimal” muscle fiber because not only does it produce strength, but it’s also able to sustain that strength for extended periods. Ordinary type I or type II fibers just can’t do that—they basically sit at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Typical gym workouts focus on developing the type I, type IIa and type IIb fibers—not developing hybrid muscle. And because my dad was developing type III muscle fibers, he had a lot more real life strength than I did. Sure I could have beat the snot out of him at the gym, but in the real world, there was no competition—I was licked.

Of course my dad isn’t the only example of someone who either by accident or by design, was engaging in hybrid muscle training and in the process, developing hybrid type III muscle.

The movie Rocky IV provides another great example of the superiority of real world strength versus gym strength. In the movie, Rocky trains in the mountains focusing on building his real world strength—in reality doing hybrid workouts and developing hybrid type III muscle.


 

Conversely, the Russian guy trains in this futuristic high-tech gym using scientifically-designed treadmills and exercise equipment. Yeah, the guy looked pretty muscular but when it came time to fight, his gym-engineered muscles were no match for the real-world strength of Rocky.

So you see, although science has tried to come up with all sorts of interesting ways for guys to get bigger, stronger and leaner, when it comes down to actual results, basic functionality and real-world strength still triumph every time.

Tell me, do you personally know anyone that has “old man” strength or has incredible real life strength even though they haven’t spent much time in the weight room? Someone that naturally built this kind of hybrid muscle? Share your experience and comments below.

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140 Comments Add yours

  1. Alias
    October 26, 2009
    12:38 am

    My dad has old time strength. He can still be at arm wrestling and he doesn’t weight train/ hasn’t in over 20yrs. Of course you know one of goals.

    [Reply]

  2. phil
    October 26, 2009
    12:47 am

    i told this story on another website, a late 70′s farmer I used to work for… picked an ATV up in one hand so only the front wheels were (barely) touching the ground and held the driver in the other hand. Pretty sure those kids never drove over his crops again.

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  3. JC
    October 26, 2009
    12:49 am

    Ok, this is super funny that you sent out an email with ‘old man strength’ in the subject line. Here’s the story. A few months ago I was trying out a new MMA place here in FL. I was ‘rolling’ with a guy who was 20 or 21yrs old. I am 38 (not an “old dude” but older than this guy by almost 20yrs). Anyway, I suck at jiu-jitsu and this guy was seconds away from making me tap with an armbar. I wasn’t about to tap, so I simply stood up with this guy dangling off of the right side of my body. The guy was freaking out. He stopped applying the armbar and asked “dude, did you just stand up with me hanging on to you”? I said ‘yep’. After I let him down (he told me he was weighing in around 175lbs, at the time I was weighing 185lbs), he said ‘holy crap dude…you got that old man strength’!!!. I chuckled and walked off. I had been putting in a lot of time with my kettelbells and doing a lot of tabata burpees with my weight vest, 10lb sledge strikes against my tire, etc. Anyway, I guess at 38, I’ve obtained the elusive old man strength! ~Strength and Honor

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    leanhybr Reply:

    Man that is freakin awesome JC, I love it! -Mike

    [Reply]

  4. Steve
    October 26, 2009
    1:00 am

    I am that old man … cut wood my whole life … have always took pride in the way I work and look … the past several years I’ve been weight training and really enjoy it … I seem to recover from injurys faster than most and enjoy my body being fit. much larger gym rat haven’t the power that I do … it’s fun

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    Elliott Reply:

    awesome steve!

    you are an inspiration… thanks!

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  5. Anthony
    October 26, 2009
    1:08 am

    Your comparing what you think to a MOVIE?!

    That aside, i know a farmer in north England who is in his late 80′s, maybe early 90′s now and he runs everywhere because the tractor is “to slow”. He also enjoy vaulting over fences and rock piles as it takes “more effort to open and close the gate”.

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    Elliott Reply:

    Anthony,

    This guy sounds awesome!! I wanna be like him- haha!

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    PJ Reply:

    totlay agree. if im 80 90 and still vaulting fences ill die a happy man!

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  6. nate
    October 26, 2009
    1:26 am

    Well, if you thing about it, the world’s strongest men don’t curl or bench to show how strong they are. Instead, they push around big wheels and carry stones to podiums, make firetrucks move, etc, and I bet you that they are stronger than anyone else going to the gym.

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    Elliott Reply:

    Damn right Nate!

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  7. Matty
    October 26, 2009
    1:35 am

    Growing my dad was a police officer here in Maine ,
    he spent his days driving a cruiser most days,He was
    not in great shape But could still get down we he needed too!
    Myself and my friends always would comment on the size
    of his forearms, Now my dad was not a big man stretching
    to make his 5’8 frame.
    But his forearms could make pop eye say ” Oh my “….

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  8. george
    October 26, 2009
    1:57 am

    Old man strength, I like that term. I’m 51 and at the gym where I work out the twentysomething kids are amazed that I’m deadlifting 500lbs. Yea sure they toast me in pull ups but they’re 150 -185 lbs and I’m 220. I gained a lot of my strength as a kid on the farm and always challenged myself to lift heavy objects throughout my life.

    [Reply]

    Elliott Reply:

    WOW George! 500 pounds is crazy!!

    Keep winning man!

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    Alex Hewgley Reply:

    500!!! I’m a freshman in highschool on powerlifting team 14 years old I deadlift 315 on a good day you have now got me to come to a new goal 500 lb deadlift when I’m 18 I’ve never thought of that before… I think that is amazing! :D I do live on a Ranch as well lots of hay loading and unloading farmwork is the goodlife

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  9. Niko
    October 26, 2009
    1:58 am

    Hello,
    I study kinesiology and it’s the first time I hear about type III fiber. The hybrid fiber witch you are talking is form what I learned, the type IIa with can be strong and have some endurance. I d’like to know where is the ”new” type III fiber come from? Is there documentation on it?

    Thanks
    Niko

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    Hey Niko. Just heard about it myself about 6-months. You’re not going to find the term in text books. Check out this article. http://leanhybridmuscle.com/access/science-rapid-muscle-growth.html Also if you haven’t read my warrior report, which you can get at the top of the page definitely download that. It talks a lot about the science and who we originally discovered this from. We didn’t invent it, we’re just sharing the info. MIKE

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  10. mike
    October 26, 2009
    2:41 am

    my uncle lou has that oldman strenght nojoke! and hes like 46 years old and picks me upover his head and tosses me around like a rag doll and i weigh 226 pounds and im 6’4. its amazing.he used to powerlift but he hasnt worked out in over like 15 years and i always joke with him cause i workout everyday and i tell him im stronger then him but that makes him wanna showme up in everything its nuts!he worksfor the railroad out here in long island and still works circles around the guys in there swenties. i’ve personally never seen anything like it its like hes a freak of nature.but yea i guess you could say he has old man strenght but people refer to him as stupidly strong lol

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    leanhybr Reply:

    That’s exactly what I’m talking about! Amazing isn’t it…….. MIKE

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  11. Rick
    October 26, 2009
    2:47 am

    Growing up in Texas we used to call it “Country Boy Strong”.

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  12. mark
    October 26, 2009
    2:48 am

    I have have an uncle in his 60′s who is a mason and i have worked with him for almost every summer since 2004. i’m 21 years old and i like doing that type of work because it increased my strength a lot. Some of the things i’ve seen him lift is amazing. Working as a mason is definitly a good way to build the hybrid muscle.

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    Elliott Reply:

    This is REAL training Mark!

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  13. daniel
    October 26, 2009
    2:54 am

    My work out partner is like that. Yea he works out but he can carry 200 pounds and race me while i have 100 and he totally beats me and im 17 and consider myself to be relatively strong. Hes 39. Ive also seen him bench 555 lbs. hes huge but very functionally strong. Hes been doing the type of training that your referring to since he was 14

    [Reply]

    Elliott Reply:

    That guy sounds like a BEAST!

    I would love to meet him — haha!

    [Reply]

  14. Bill
    October 26, 2009
    3:41 am

    My grandfather had that old man strength. He never “worked out” but man did he work hard. The most amazing thing about him was his small stature to power ratio. He could lift crap that I never could, all at 160 pounds. Giant arms and a back that was stronger than an ox.

    He lifted hay bales onto semi’s all day long during the Great Depression. He was truly naturally strong, but the hard work made him stronger. He used to chuckle at me when I’d go outside to lift weights on my fancy-pants bench with my fancy-pants weights! Never demeaning about it, of course; it just humored him.

    I remember as he got on in age and the body began to break down. He tore his right bicep muscle and never got it repaired. He never complained about it, either. Those dudes who grew up in the 30s and 40s knew how to manage pain!!!

    [Reply]

    Elliott Reply:

    Yea, for sure… MEN were real men back then.

    I feel like we are so much softer these days.

    [Reply]

  15. Glauco
    October 26, 2009
    10:42 am

    Defintly, when I was in the navy we had a boatswain (petty officer), that just loved to do all the deck work the old way (lifting, pulling, pushing, etc..). Actually is not the right way to work, but he was really strong.

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    Pete Reply:

    I’m ashamed to admit it,but I have the opposite of old man strength.I’m somewhat strong with weights,but doing bodyweight exercises I suck at.I’m getting near the old man age,I best turn things around if I hope to have old man strength.

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    leanhybr Reply:

    Pete, nothing to be ashamed about. You heard the story above, I used to be the same way. Now that you know you can start training hybrid style too! -MIKE

    [Reply]

  16. Rafael
    October 26, 2009
    1:53 pm

    My dad a man who smoked 30 plus yrs walked into my gym and grabbed onto the pullup bar. Without a second thought banged out 5 chest to bar pullups and had the nerve to ask me if he was doing it correctly! Mind you this dude is a 64 yrs old smoker with a gut! He to did alot of physical work changing the tires on heavy construction equipment something I knew wasn’t for me!

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    lou Reply:

    hi…..im 56 5.8in….160lbs….can do fingerTIP pullups on 1in doorframe…5x chest to frame is that old man strength?..can olso crack a coconut with palmheel…..takes about 5 shots……hurray for us old guys…….lou

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    Scott Reply:

    DUDE!

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  17. Billi-Jean King
    October 26, 2009
    2:09 pm

    My Dad is still strong like that at 67! We also live in Connecticut…33 acres of mostly woods and hills and rocks…beautiful. I always enjoyed splitting logs with him and building patios with the large rocks we found in the woods…the best type of work-out! I still do that with him whenever I go home to visit.

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  18. Dano
    October 26, 2009
    3:29 pm

    I totally agree with this principle of old man strength. I loved the video too. It is so true! I have been working on my house the last few months. I was working in the basement the last two weeks and had to do a lot of lifting and carrying up and down stairs and to the back alley as I was getting rid of stuff. I also had to more the whole gym while I repaired and painted floors and walls. I did not get to the gym for a week but got a real workout. I felt so sore the first few days, then it passed and I was getting some nice work outs doing real work. It felt great. The young people of today are in trouble, they are afraid of work and dirt, too much technology may have made them soft. When I was young I alway had chores, was building things and worked on truck farms and farms. I climbed trees to see how high I could go and did all kinds of out door stuff. Now at 56 I still do a lot of real life work and go to the gym. I do not look like a body builder but I have strength, but I’d hate to think of myself as an old man, at least not yet. LOL

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    Great story, thanks for sharing Dano. I think we can agree “real life” strength is a better term to use… :) -MIKE

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  19. Jon
    October 26, 2009
    3:41 pm

    My dad and uncle worked together for many years as carpet installers. Wrestling those carpets into place and gripping the tough backing fibers made their hands exceptionally strong and thick. They were often asked if they were “karate” guys or something like that because of their hands. Strong, tough, but gentle and loving toward their families. (RIP dad!)

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  20. Master Dan Black
    October 26, 2009
    5:51 pm

    When I was young I was a transplanted country boy who spent the summers on my aunts farm. My cousins who came from the same genetic pool were always bigger and stronger. I thought that it was mostly due to fresh vegetables and beef that skipped the processing that us city boys got. When we played football you had to figure another way to hit them because they were so incredibly strong you could not go straight at them. Their power was incredible although they never spent a day in the gym. I now believe that it was not only the food and the fresh air but the work they did day in and day out that made the difference!

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  21. pizzaman
    October 26, 2009
    5:53 pm

    I believe old man strength begins at a very early age.starting at school in gym class and competing with others,always never giving in to defeat and a stong desire to be better and overcome all obstacles to achieve a better and stronger me!competing in school sports and always wanting to win will make you stronger and fit for life,as in life you will overcome many obstacles making you stronger.as a young kid I would pick up the biggest rocks i could get my arms around,I have ripped 2x4s to shreds and at 52 i still have no problem keeping up with guys half my age.I feel myself getting stronger as i go and have no plans of ever letting up.the point of this,from me to you,is this,just do it!

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  22. sly
    October 26, 2009
    6:28 pm

    Hey guys and galls,

    My name is Sylvain but my friends call me Sly. I’m a French Canadian living in Montréal city into the province of Quebec, the land of the strongest man of all time; Louis Cyr. Just goggle is name to take a look at some of his personal and still unbeaten world record.

    When peoples get stuck into snow (The winter is just crazy and out of control here!!!) they came to my place begging for some help. I wear my boots and go on the street then lift the rear of the dude cars. They freak out every time. On dead lift, I feel like my only limitation is due to my grip but regarding for my lower back, 700lb is challenging but I can handle it for 4-6 reps. My only weak part is with the squat, I push 15 plates/side plus my 230lb body André on the top of the leg press but I can’t squat more then a miserable 2 plate/side for reps… strange don’t you think.

    I would like to know if somebody else got problems with squat and if they’ve been able to overcome this problem and how.

    Thanks for your answer and sorry for my English writing skills!!!

    [Reply]

    Abdulrahman Reply:

    Hi Sylvain,

    I had the same problem, the most likely reason is that you have long thigh bones and short upper torso. This makes the body mechanics very poor for squatting. How do you solve it?

    Technique: Instead of using heavy sqaut weights for full squats, to which you add progressive weight, do this; Maintain the barbell weight say 250 lb, and only do partial squats 8 reps, 2 sets only oh high quality work, meaning hard work and some pain.

    Do this is in a squat rack, and each week drop the rack down one pin until you reach low position. Then go back to top pin, add 10 lbs to bar, and repeat the same technique. Keep the butt down low, and thighs with wide stance, almost like a Sumo deadlift, but about one foot less in width.

    Try this for two weeks and give me your opinion.

    Good Luck, Abdulrahman, 48 years old

    [Reply]

  23. CJ
    October 26, 2009
    7:20 pm

    I know a woman, early eighties, who still goes hunting…trudges into the woods with her gear, gets a deer every season. That’s functional strength. Shake hands with her, and you will remember that grip for a long time.

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    that’s awesome!

    [Reply]

  24. mike
    October 26, 2009
    7:20 pm

    I’m 55 @ 15%bf @ 216 but my elbows are worn out and shoulders are gone from carrying houses around acting like a carpenter for 35 years. so I have no bench to speak of and workouts that involve arms are very painful, but I do them and keep very strong. “Even with pain there is gain”

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  25. Mike
    October 26, 2009
    9:56 pm

    I definately have experience with this. My brother in law is a construction guy, probably weighs a buck and a half. I can out bench and out squat him, in fact- I can probably double most of his weights. About a year ago, I hired him to do some work around my house. We had to lift bags of cement, big boards of sheet rock etc. I found that I tired quite quickly and had to put down my load before he did. This exasperated me to no end. Totally pissed me off is probably more accurate. I can close a c.o.c #2 , he can’t even close the trainer etc. etc. What a wake up call. I am now incorporating sandbag lifting and other functional modalities, but I had to accept that when it comes to real world strength, that he was just stronger. A very difficult pill to swallow.Lol!

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  26. shawn collins
    October 26, 2009
    10:00 pm

    My uncle had that type of old man strength.

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  27. Dano
    October 26, 2009
    11:10 pm

    What I am reading in my e mails convinces me of the truth of real strength come not from the gym but from honest work and a strong desire to be healthy. I have friends who constantly tell me to slow down, don’t do so much or work so hard. Many of them are overweight and soft, why should I listen to them? I plan if God gives me the years to work hard and work out at the gym too.

    I love all these comments, way to go guys, Wolfie/56 & still pumping!

    [Reply]

  28. Howard
    October 27, 2009
    12:15 am

    My dad was “old man strong”. He never went to a gym, he never worked out (except for his swimming after his heart attack at 60, and, he just swam laps… oh so ever slowly). Well… he had an operation, never woke up, and the nurse (a male nurse, who looked to be in good shape) remarked at how strong this 80 year old, who was unconscious, was… as the nurse had difficulty in holding his arms down when he would flail about. I knew my dad was stron though, since, i could never, ever take him in a wrestling match. BTW, he was also the best athlete i ever knew… could hit for power in softball (like Babe Ruth.. he called his homers), throw a football the farthest with accuracy, and make any basket he tried (and, he was not very big… don’t know what he weighed, but he was only 5’7″ tall).

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  29. Dave
    October 27, 2009
    2:21 am

    Yea, me. 51 yrs old with 20 yrs as an Ironworker. I have been training in the gym now for over 13 yrs and my strength working in construction was greater. Of course I am older now, however my nutrition and lifestyle over the last 13 yrs is prestine. When I was in construction, I ate crappy food and only ate 2 times a day and yet I can lift more outside the gym than inside. In part due to the psychological aspect of knowing how much weight is on the bar I am about to bench vs picking up an I Beam that I have no idea what it weighs. that I believe has a lot to do with it.

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  30. Rob Rhino
    October 27, 2009
    3:05 am

    Good read….I remember the 80′s Giants and Lawrence Taylor. I don’t think he ever touched a weight in his first ten years as a pro. This guy was the best example of brute ‘real world’ strength coupled with a nasty attitude.

    [Reply]

  31. Will Powers
    October 27, 2009
    3:15 pm

    My friend, an owner of the gym i go to, is 55 years old. Since he was 15 years old, he has been training, and in his youth he competed in several local competitions. His back and arms are amazing. His father on the contrary, 78 years old, is a cabinet maker and carpenter since his youth. One weekend, my friend, his father, and myself started building an outdoor gym area–just the walls and the roof. While my friend and I struggled with the beams for the roof together, his father was walking up the ladder with beam in hand. Amazing! Technique and hybrid-strength. On the other hand, I’m 31 years old 174 lbs, 6 ft tall. I can carry a large two-door fridge on my back up a flight of steps but I can’t squat more than 10 reps of 175 lbs free weight.

    [Reply]

  32. Antoine
    October 27, 2009
    6:50 pm

    Both my uncles are like that… one’s been workin on assembling and taking care of pools and all kinds of stuff forever, always outside working with his hands, his forearms are crazy!
    And my other uncle been working as a cars transmissions mechanic for years and years, torquing down strong bolts and holding transmissions, they both are strong as hell!
    They never touched a dumbell in their life and they probably would beat the crap out of me if they meant too…

    However some people just happen to be natural freaks…, there’s this friend of mine who at 15-16 years old was 6’1” or 6’2” at 220 pounds, ripped abs pecs and everything without havin ever stepped inside a gym! now hes 21 bout 6’3” 265 pounds, playin university football over here in quebec, started training like 3years ago he squats bout 8 plates, he just has ridiculous genes

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  33. "Iron"Mike
    October 27, 2009
    7:13 pm

    My dad had both..real world strength AND gym strength. He never touched a wt until his senior yr in college playing defensive lineman at Indiana 58-’60. He decided to see if weights could improve his game b/c he went up against a guy who he said had to be the strongest lineman he ever faced-a guy by the name of Alex Caras (you may know him from 70′s sitcom Webster). My Dad STARTED with 300 lbs..wasn’t sure if it would feel hvy or not..he said it didn’t feel too bad..lol!
    Again like many of the previous posts..he was a product of Jamaican sugar cane farmers..Hard Work!
    I didn’t start lifting weights until I was freshmen in HS-my dad wouldn’t let me do anything except push-ups, hill climbs, pull ups, head stand push-ups and carrying my brother on my back going up steps. The first time I tried out the bench press at 14 yrs old I could press 225lbs. I wasn’t a small kid I was 5’10 and 185lbs..but still, I didn’t know if that was “good” since I saw others doing this for reps or warming up with it…

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  34. James
    October 27, 2009
    9:37 pm

    I am 62 years old and 5’7″ and weigh 160 . I worked in a rubber plant years ago and weighed 140 then . I would take 80lb. pieces of unfinished rubber and load them into boxes of 40 and a yak would pick them up and bring another . I go to the gym several times a week and do bent over curls with 40lb. dumbbells . I can max out the sitting leg machine . By the way I had a total hip replacement this March .

    [Reply]

  35. Dano
    October 28, 2009
    3:57 am

    I continue to love all these comments. Excellent! This was a great conversation to start. I am now looking around my home, yard a garage and basement for stuff I can convert into hybrid work out equipment. I got some ideas that I think will work even at my age and give me some more strength at the gym. My upper body strength is not what I wish it was but my legs are strong. I can leg press 14 plates up to 5 times but wish I could get that in my upper body, I have work out out a long time but I have been a teacher and musician and not prone to heavy work like we have been discussing. This has been very enlightening.

    56 and still pumping!

    [Reply]

  36. Ted
    October 28, 2009
    5:24 am

    My dad was a diesel mechanic and pretty freakishly strong. But he had a coworker who was even stronger though shorter. While others would use electric lifts to install semi truck transmissions, my dad’s friend would just lie on the ground and leg press the transmissions into place. Those 18 speed trans can weigh over 700 lbs.

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    And a heck of a lot harder than leg pressing 700 lbs on leg press machine! Wow. MIKE

    [Reply]

    Ted Reply:

    Oh, and I forgot to mention: my dad’s friend was about 5′ 4″ and probably less than 150 lbs.

    [Reply]

  37. derek
    October 28, 2009
    3:49 pm

    i really like this post because it’s true my dad used to lift years ago but he didn’t have a gym he trained with heavy objects w/ some friends he told me he also used to be stronger than me when i worked out with machines but when i started doing free weights and bodyweight excersizes and i worked at a factory lifting heavy metal plates and wood then i was able to match my dad’s strength where at a standstill in armwrestling but i beat him in wreslting he’s 56 yrs old. still incredibly strong and weighs 225 lbs i weigh 187 he also told me that i was gonna grow like him because im 19 and he started growing alot more in his 20s he told me.. but the one thing i learned is never take gym machines seriously LOL..

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  38. Jordan nichols
    October 30, 2009
    5:09 am

    I agree, Old Man strength still rules out fancy machines and such, i just wish there was a set list of outdoor workouts to do to build up such strength

    [Reply]

  39. Dano
    November 1, 2009
    12:34 am

    Depending on what you locale and situation you got to get creative. I have always done that looking at what I have or is around me that I can use to find a new way to work muscles and have some fun and challenge. Even when I went camping I found ways to work my muscles with rocks, trees and picnic tables. People though I was nuts but I didn’t care.

    Be observant and use your imagination.

    [Reply]

  40. Tomos
    November 2, 2009
    12:53 pm

    What you say here is really true, and really hit home.

    My father (who is now 60) is strong. He used to run the family’s timber yard for years, and when he was a child worked there. Sure, he’d struggle in a gym, lifting dumbbells and barbells, but when I help him around the house, it’s then you see how strong he is. He’ll shift stones, large logs all by himself with relative ease.

    Over the summer, he kept on drumming to me about how it’s good that I’m starting to weight train, but like you said:

    “Most ordinary training routines isolate individual muscles, which is not how our bodies are really designed to work. The kinds of things my dad did though recruited multiple muscle groups simultaneously and even more important—would have required both strength and endurance, just like a hybrid workout.”

    and it stuck with me over the summer, and although I may now not look strong, I have seen impressive gains in my strength since I stepped back, took what my father into consideration, and started doing hybrid workouts.

    [Reply]

  41. luca
    November 2, 2009
    1:04 pm

    my brother was the chief of a yard, he told me a story, real story: there was one of his workmen so strong that his cousin, a champion of boxe was afraid of him, he was able to break a chain with his hands…so people told him “it’s ok, it was already broken, no possible, it ‘s a joke”. then he soldered this chain, and again he broke the chain…but in new different points!! he was from bergamo, a place in italy where they are famous for their incredible strenght and laboriousness.

    [Reply]

  42. Belton
    November 2, 2009
    2:51 pm

    I had an opportunity to work with the great Guro Dan Inosanto (Red Belt, Bruce Lee’s student, renowned martial artist, etc..) the guy is already over 70 and he was at Thai Camp with about 140 fighters going at it. Then he does another seminar in Portland where I was at and the man was grappling with us. Awesome Strength…great physical fitness…great teacher.

    [Reply]

  43. alan
    November 2, 2009
    2:54 pm

    I am currently developing a training system that utilizies certain aspects from various sports such as running, swimming, olympic lifting, powerlifting, bodybuilding, yoga, gymnastics, and self defence. The training has made daily life activities such as hybrid work much easier to perform. The other key ingredient to the success of any training program will result from pre/intra/and post workout supplements and nutrition practices as well as strategically setting up training in a way that stimulates the muscle and maximizes anabolic hormone production while at the same time minimizing catabolic hormone production.

    [Reply]

  44. Estrella
    November 2, 2009
    5:09 pm

    I have a friend who plays tennis. She has more strength than me, despite never having weight trained and can easily beat me at arm wrestling, even though I train with weights.

    [Reply]

  45. Roger
    November 2, 2009
    7:36 pm

    Sorry to say, but it’s just all anectdotical evidence your showing…
    What about some source to research what your claiming?

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    Hey Roger, just my opinion here, but seems a lot of people have experienced or seen similar results.

    [Reply]

  46. Robert Martin
    November 2, 2009
    8:43 pm

    Oh yeah, I know someone with “old man” strength – me, at age 61! I haven’t set foot in a gym in years, but check out these videos:

    http://lookgreatnakedatanyage.com/

    No weights, no machines, no crunches, no “dreadmills.” Just multijoint bodyweight workouts, high intensity interval cardio and believe it or not, a low fat, low protein, raw vegan diet! Just like every other primate, including gorillas. Ever see a gorilla with a muscle mass problem? You don’t need tons of protein, and you can get it in a much healthier, more easily assimilated form from plant sources. Ask any gorilla.

    Excellent blog you’ve got here!

    Make it a great day.

    Robert Martin

    [Reply]

  47. Kevin Holloway
    November 2, 2009
    11:00 pm

    My grandad was a great example of “real world” strength. He loved to challenge us to arm wrestle him, and would always beat us. He always had a “trick” that he wanted to show us. He would load a full 55 gallon barrel in the back of a pickup, by getting the liquid moving so the momentum would allow him to load it. Also he had some implement weights that he would lift over his head by clenching his fist inside of them. Then with one “kettleball” like motion he would press them over his head. There were plenty of others, but you should know, he only weighed about 165 lbs. but had amazing strength compared to all of us “athletes.” Kevin

    [Reply]

  48. John
    November 3, 2009
    7:13 am

    Man this reminds me of the training I did when I use to wrestle in high school. I would come out of football strong, wrestle all season doing nothing but practice and cutting weight to make a certain weight class; however, after the wrestling season was over, I could always bench more, do more dips, deadlift more, etc. I also felt more functional. I felt faster, lighter, and all around strong. The constant pushing and pulling and lifting during practice with another person makes you strong and conditioned. It’s funny that I ran across this today because I have been thinking about this alot lately because I now have a 7 year old boy who is in his second year wrestling. I have been wanting to incorporate stuff like this back into my own training.
    -John

    [Reply]

  49. Mads
    November 3, 2009
    2:16 pm

    I have a question, Wouldn’t compund exercises like squat and deadlift, give you something like this real life strenght? To try and dublicate this real life strenght into a gym, and get that elusive type 3 muscle, wouldn’t the 20 rep squat program be ideal (the squat and milk, you know ;) )?

    [Reply]

    Elliott Reply:

    Hell Yea!! I love the Giant Sets including the 20 rep
    squat workouts.

    This really kicks ass!

    [Reply]

  50. Scott
    November 3, 2009
    10:26 pm

    I have been in this very same predicament with my own father. I wondered what it was, but blew it off as something blue-collar related. LOL!

    [Reply]

  51. zach Even - Esh
    November 4, 2009
    4:08 am

    Mike and Elliott – in my town of edison, there is a tire yard…. It was the ONE thing missing from my garage workouts and my friend and I popped over one week to see if we could fiip some tires one saturday morning.

    They said “Yes” and we were psyched!

    I was 220 and pretty damn strong….ehhhh, gym strong I guess :)

    My buddy, also gym strong, looked like he was carved from stone, and myself, were in for a rude awakening.

    One guy, Tony was his name, was operating the tractor for moving tires and he pulled down a tire for us, maybe 450 or 500 lbs.

    Holy S**T!!!!

    I wrestled with it for a good 45 seconds before I finally got that f**ker flipped over!

    I was embarassed!!!

    My friend couldn’t get it past his knees!

    Here’s where it gets MORE EMBARASSING….

    Tony and his friend, another tire yard employee, are laughing at us….while smoking cigarettes!!!

    They put down their cigarettes and walk up to the tire that almost crushed me and ended my life, and each of them flip it over 3, 4 and 5 EASY reps…

    NO knee lift, just ripping it up and over.

    And when they were done, they looked at us and said the words, almost in slow motion….. “EEEEEASYYYYY”

    They pulled down a lighter tire and me and my friend spent the next hour flipping the tire.

    The next 4 days I couldn’t move my arms!

    My forearms and biceps were shot from trying to curl it and not being used to such a movement.

    My legs and hammies were sore as hell.

    Tony had these BIG freaking hands and forearms, much like Popeye.

    He told me he had been working at the tire since age 14….he was in his 30′s

    That’s 20 years of flipping, throwing, tossing and carrying all types of tires around.

    Tony is the kind of guy you would want on your side if a bar brawl ever broke out.

    Thanks fellas, keep up the great videos and articles!

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    What a story! I love it :) The smoking cigarettes part makes it even crazier.

    [Reply]

  52. Joshua Vasquez
    November 4, 2009
    8:18 pm

    I rarely hit the gym, all my workouts were actual work. From loading bails of hay, moving full kegs of beer around and working with axes and sledge hammers, my work has afforded me a little what I call “sneaky strength”. I’m 6’0″ 230 lbs. with a small tire around the midsection.

    I started taking traditional jiu-jitsu six months ago with my four sons. That’s right FOUR boys who think their “old man” is fat. I have 2 teenagers that think the only way to get strong is to hit the gym and do the conventional circuits of bench, curls and squats. I try to explain that they need to workout doing things that aren’t in the weightroom to get functional strength. They look at me like I’m full of it.

    One day in class we are working on two on one attacks and my boys are watching the two biggest guys attack me. I move them around the whole exercise. Then the instructor says two holding one down with the person on bottom trying to escape, again i get the same guys. One grabs my legs and the other my head and arms. I struggle to free my arms and get under the body of the guy on my upper half. I proceed to throw him on top of the guy on my legs and work on freeing my legs. After I escape I look at my sons, they all have their mouthes gapping and staring at their “fat old man” and the two guys laying in a pile.

    Now they realize what I call work is helping them get stronger and they are seeing a difference in there strength and endurance.

    Thank you for the article to back up my claims with my sons.

    [Reply]

  53. st.gan
    November 5, 2009
    7:37 am

    Fantastic report…from Thailand. Cheers.

    [Reply]

  54. Ronald
    November 5, 2009
    1:53 pm

    difference between gym strength and real life strength!

    Gym strength is what keep you going. when your body say stop but you known you at do 5 more or more at that! that keep you going back to the gym! looking to get better and feel strength!

    BUT TO HAVE GYM STRENGTH YOU MUST HAVE LIFE STRENGTH FRIST!

    Life strength is the stronges strength on them all. the strength keep you going. keep you alive, get you up every day with on the L. strength you will not give a shit about going to the gym, going collage, hell going work!

    Life Strength what go me on here. tring to get better, feel good about knowning what i can do with my life amd what i can do with my body! that y

    LIFE STRNGTH is better if there was no L. Strength! There will be no Gym strength

    Ronald

    [Reply]

  55. Kenny
    November 5, 2009
    3:29 pm

    OKay here is my “old man strength story”. My father used to work on race cars with some of his friends. This was a low budget operation. They couldnt afford all the fancy tools and machines some people have. My dad used to lay on his back under the car, when it was sitting on jackstands, and bench press the 250lb transmission and hold it there until his buddy could line up the spines on the yoke so it could be attached to the back of the motor. Once it was slid into place he had to still hold it until his buddy put two bolts in so he could let it go. Anyone who has done this knows it is not a 20 second job.

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    Wow talk about a killer chest workout and he got paid to do it! Nice Kenny.

    [Reply]

  56. Lucas Jones
    November 5, 2009
    5:30 pm

    Thanks for the article! I agree about the real life strength. Even though I get jealous when I see these huge guys benching 300+ pounds, but I’d rather know that if I was hanging from a ledge of a cliff that I could pull myself up or if a tree had fallen and trapped a loved one I could help move it. Thats real life strength.

    [Reply]

  57. Mike
    November 5, 2009
    6:43 pm

    My grandfather boxed in the army back in the 40′s, but never lifted any weights. He did a lot of manual labor with jack hammer crews and then later ran his own tire shop. His grip was like a vice. He would challenge his grand kids and local weightlifters to grip contests. He would always make any competitor buckle. this went on well into his 70′s. Strong old school dudes.

    [Reply]

  58. Njama
    November 5, 2009
    8:01 pm

    My grandfather (RIP)was the strongest man I’ve ever known … rarely set foot in the gym but he was 1 naturally strong, but being an ex boxer he did alot of body weight training and actually use to take me out with him when he’s train on a farm!!! You never know how heavy hay could be until you lift it onto a platform. He loved swimming, walking and arm wrestling (beat me everytime!)

    [Reply]

  59. Herm
    November 5, 2009
    10:20 pm

    My father..He worked in a factory loading and driving fork lifts, before that hauling and installing large appliances like washers/dryers, fridges and Window air conditioning units. When he was in his 30′s I’d watch him and his brother swap engine blocks out under an oak tree using a chain and pully and he was the wench. He’s 60 now and I still think he’s probably stronger than me.

    Herm

    [Reply]

  60. Matt
    November 5, 2009
    10:56 pm

    I work with a MMA kid who has never lifted a weight in his life but his strength and power are off the charts!! It’s unbelievable! Guess How I train him? Yup! Functional, compound movement, odd objects. The tire, sledge, sandbags, etc. We all know it works for “real life” strength and workload capacity!!!! I have begged him to get in the weight room for a month because I’m dying to see what he can squat and dead in a static environment! He will have none of it!!
    You rock! Keep it up!

    [Reply]

  61. Cary
    November 7, 2009
    1:20 am

    My cousin Vern is freakishly strong and as far as I know he has never trained seriously. About five years ago I was helping him move(that’s what he does, he owns a moving company) and watched him pick up a treadmill using only his arm and shoulder strength and put it in the back of the truck. At that time I could bench 320, press 280, and curl 150 and my gym strength couldn’t touch his real world strength. I have other cousins and friends that grew up on farms and they all possess incredible strength as well.

    [Reply]

  62. Eli
    November 8, 2009
    6:33 am

    This is really interesting to see I wish I had a specific Type III muscle program. I would follow it hard work is the least of my problems, but the explanation of how to build Hybrid programs is a little confusing.

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    Eli,

    hopefully some of our videos and the FAQ link at the top of this website will clear things up for you a bit.

    Thanks!

    -Elliott & Mike

    [Reply]

    Eli Reply:

    No what I meant is I don’t know how to make a workout. Currently I’m using Jeff Anderson’s Optimum Anabolics, but I want to have functional strength.

    [Reply]

  63. Michael Moore
    November 14, 2009
    1:35 am

    i cant afford to get this right now. i hope you keep posting stuff that inspires and helps us though??!! Please!!

    [Reply]

  64. PJ
    November 19, 2009
    8:47 pm

    too true bout the real life strenth. my sister is a good example in a different way. she was a bodybuilder and really cut but then stoped when she started diving. after the divig she lost alot of her musscel mass but was 3 times stronger than when she was body building. that was 9 years ago and now she is even stronger and has hardly lifted a weight since. working as a rousie an the sheep pens must be pretty tough work!

    [Reply]

  65. PW
    November 22, 2009
    4:23 pm

    Yea my pops who is 62 and 260 lbs hasnt weight trained in ages but he worked on a farm from 4 am to 8 am then from 3pm – 10 pm for about 20 yrs. and did many sports and he still can beat my ass in strength and im 17 with 15% bodyfat can bench 220 max.

    [Reply]

  66. berger
    December 8, 2009
    9:24 pm

    wow that is good.

    [Reply]

  67. justin
    December 31, 2009
    7:12 pm

    Ive been moving furniture professionally for about ten years. Many wouldnt belive the men Ive seen come and go throughout the buisiness who could easily out duel me in a gym setting. Carrying heavy objects up and down stairs daily for extended periods of time cannot is not easily duplicated. Harsh inclimate Minnesota weather and countless hours of repetitive lifting have made me a true beliver in ‘old man strength’.

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    sounds like it’s not even old man strength but “hard work” strength. Thanks Justin.

    [Reply]

    Troy Reply:

    Yeah, that’s some of the hardest, and most challenging work there is, especially when you add stairs to the equation.

    [Reply]

  68. Troy
    February 2, 2010
    4:45 am

    I heard of a guy, like 110 years old or something plowing fields with an old style plow and a horse pulling it. Farmers who throw hay bails all day are beasts. Usually brawny people. They will tear your ass up. My grandfather was a lean dude, a hard working fellow, when he was younger, at 21 biscuits for lunch. I think I got the number right. I think we’ve been fooled into the something for nothing workouts. Me included. We’ve been told the opposite of what is true. These folks work their ass off in the fields for hours, but bodybuilding wisdom tells us they are supposed to be puny and weak. This is the long strength that has been talked about here. Ask a big name bodybuilder if he can carry two hay bails across a field, throw them in a moving truck, do it many more times, then, throw these bails up into a loft. He would probably be gasping for air. Talk shit to Farmer Brown and see if he doesn’t whoop you ass and throw you out of his yard, literally.

    There’s a big difference since adding the hybrid aspect to my workout. Today, I decided to throw in some hybrid style cardio at the end of my workout, dang, my face was red, I was sweating. I was half way out of it when I was back in the locker room. Now, that’s a workout. And I feel I’m doing something good for my body.

    Troy

    [Reply]

    Thor Reply:

    I’m a lifelong martial artist and never go to any gym. I just do my forms/kata and usual martial arts training. I’ve always been athletic, and just felt I can do anything I put my mind to. I also do bouncing and security work. Living and working in Hong Kong, 1 of the most densely populated areas on earth, teaches you something about crowds, energy and presence. When I decide to make my presence felt, I quite literally part crowds just like Moses parting the red sea, and guys much bigger and more muscular than me, simply move, for they know if they don’t, I’ll move them. Call it presence if you will. Bruce Lee called it Chee. 1 example: 5 Africans refused to pay the entry fee to a night club I was bouncing at 1 night. I was inside doing a round to make sure everything’s calm. I came back to the door and from about 10 feet behind my friend at the door arguing with the 5 men, I just stood there, wordlessly and looked at them. 1 of them felt something and looked up, and without a word they immediately became silent, lowered their gaze, pulled out their wallets and paid. I was told I look terrifying, and have heard others say as much in foreign languages not knowing I can understand them. We have some huge body builders in HK that are featured in movies sometimes. 1 of them, a titan of a man, about 6’4″ and maybe 270lb, just ripped, crossed my path once. I looked at him as I passed, mostly out of curiousity. You don’t see such a specimen everyday. I met his eye openly and sized him up. I had no doubt he would blow me away if I tried a bench press contest with him. However, he had no doubt I could blow a hole in his chest and pop his heart with a single punch, and his body language showed it, he lowered his gaze, and turned into a woman. I’ve wrestled and fought with guys much bigger and more ripped than me who were always stunned to find I was actually much stronger than them, and they frequently would immediately ask, why is it I am much stronger than I look. I tried to put it in words and articulate it one time, and the best I could describe it to them was that I am “more compact, more coordinated; when you move you use 2 or 3 muscles, when I move I use more than 50″. Something like that. There is a Chinese proverb; enough ants will kill an elephant. The worst thing about gym training is isolation, and isolated prey are the predators favorite delicacy. In my opinion, strength is a choice, and the source of strength is Will power. If you doubt my words, then go read Arnold Schwarzeneggar’s encyclopedia of body building, and he quite literally says the people he knew grew muscle practically from will power alone, and he repeatedly emphasizes the “mind in the muscle” stuff.

    All I do for strength is pushups and squats and sit ups. Period.

    Amongst the Hindu and Pakistani wrestlers, amongst whom wrestling is a tradition that goes back thousands of years, their opinion of western strength training is very poor. They call them “bloated weak muscles, with no real strength”. In the beginning of the 1900′s there was a Hindu/Paki wrestler named Gama, Gama the Great, so called for being the ONLY lifelong undefeated pro wrestler in over 5000 matches. He did 5000 body weight only squats daily, and 3000 pushups daily. Their training denounces weight lifting and says it creates stiff, artificial strength that is not very powerful and certainly very slow.

    A boss I had was Polish and his grandfather was a miner. He could ask everyone in a bar to stand on a single long dining table, maybe 20 people or so, and then lift the table off the floor using nothing more than the strength of his wrists.

    Western science in it’s arrogance often refuses to acknowledge that they don’t know everything. For all of the new cures the west produces, there are at least as many new diseases. Modern training methods are actually quite poor. A friend of mine has an uncle who works for the museum in Greece, and he said that in ancient times the Greek fishermen measured distance at sea by how far they could row in a single day. He said that even the average fisherman in ancient times could row much farther than any olympic champion today. Fact is people are growing soft and weak, and body building does nothing more than artificially inflate muscles, which look great in the mirror, for that’s all they do with them, but they need too much oxygen, are slow, have no endurance, and are nothing like real strength.

    Fedor Emelianenko is the worlds’ heavy weight mixed martial arts champion, 9 years running and undefeated. Unlike all his competitors he is the only one who does not lift any weights. He does do push ups, pull ups, running, and sledge hammer training. I believe it was Babablu who was on record saying in an interview that people don’t understand, Fedor is superhumanly strong, Babalu has fought many strong men, all professional, but Fedor’s strength is inhuman. That’s because he does not lift weights, which cripple your coordination and muscle memory, you learn to move unnaturally, 1 muscle at a time, instead of exploding with ALL the muscles of your body in 1 single blitzkrieg.

    You must understand, put simply:
    A body builder wants to look good in the mirror, on the beach, and is a poser:
    A strong man want’s strength, raw, powerful, primal, untamed, wild, unruly, awe inspiring and dominating.
    And the average gym goer really is just chasing the slug trail.
    1 guy wants to pose like a peacock.
    1 guy wants overwhelming strength.
    1 guy just wants poon.

    A difference in goals, and everyone eventually finds what they are looking for.

    [Reply]

    Troy Reply:

    Yeah, the power of the mind and spirit is amazing. It trumps everything.

    [Reply]

    Scott Reply:

    I have learned a lot from you today. Thanks mate

    [Reply]

  69. Ed
    February 2, 2010
    12:00 pm

    Yeah, I think my Dad qualified for “old man strength” also; born in 1912, he worked on farms for room and board from 11 to 18, spent one winter in an acreage cuttin and makin fence posts for the farmer to use and sell. Carried a 90 lb pack pretty much everywhere in WW2 as he was a medic.Worked in a foundry for 30 yrs as a molder , carried around 100 to 160 lb molds a good part of the day for a living.

    He became an assistant scout master in Boy scouts , when I was in cub scouts, and I remember them camping for a weekend at the Hoover memorial , which included a 25 mile hike(wonder how many boy scouts can even do that anymore). Half way thru the hike this 160 lb kid just couldn’t go another step his feet hurt so bad, so my Dad carried him piggy back for 12 miles and kept up with the rest of the group, He was at least 55 at the time.

    Ed

    [Reply]

  70. Wendell
    February 2, 2010
    2:11 pm

    My dad is exacly like your dad. Im 16 I consider myself pretty strong I weight in around 165lbs and my dad only wieghts around 145 and is 51 years old. Hes been smoking for as long as I can remember. But works non stop its almost as if he can’t sit still. He grew up on a farm and worked his whole life. Now on his days off he will wake up and chop wood all day long from sun up till sun down. Throw the wood in his truck and unload it all. I love helping him and its a great workout even I need a break and i consider myself in decent shape. When we go hunting and have all our gear and tree stands on our back we both walk up over the mountains and im normally the one that is breathing heavier! I hope I can still be doing that when im at that age. The other day I was working out in our basement and he came down and started smiling and went to the pull up bar after I got off and did 6 pull ups without even strugling and he never worked out in his life! I know some teens that played football all there life and can barely perform 1 pull up.
    Real world strength beats all!!

    [Reply]

  71. tim B
    February 2, 2010
    7:57 pm

    I have two examples: Dan Inosanto and Gene Labell, both old guys with outrageous power. I tease my teenage sons now that they’re weight training that they still can’t pin me. I’m 41 now and I guess you’re right chucking wood and using power lifting movements when I did actually start weight training make me more solid. I don’t think I’m a super model but I’m an old school full contact, punch a tree for a while kinda guy.

    [Reply]

  72. Troy
    February 2, 2010
    9:50 pm

    Wrestlers (the real ones) can be quite real world strong. Me and a buddy (who’s a wrestler) were wrestling around at the gym. This guy was like trying to move an immovable object. I was gym strong, but he would have been able to throw me around. It disappointed me, because here I was pushing all this weight, but I couldn’t hardly budget this guy.

    And these guys who do a lot of labor, they don’t really think so much about how much the object weighs, or what kind of pump they are getting. They just move it. They don’t have nice, handy little handles and bars on some of the things they move.

    Being exposed to the hybrid concept, I’ve changed my view of what I really want. I hate being out of shape, and that’s what I have been, out of shape. I want the whole package. I want the endurance and I want the look. I want the muscles, and I want the functionality to back it up.

    I don’t know if any of you guys are pro-wrestling fans. But on TNA impact, there is this beast of a man. They call him Super Mex (Hernandez). He does these high flying moves, I mean, he will take a leap over the top ropes out to the floor. He’s athletic, and he’s built like a tank.

    Troy

    [Reply]

  73. jeff
    February 14, 2010
    12:12 am

    I was lifting since the age of 13. I remeber many times trying to beat my granfather or his bigger brother in armwrestling. Never really beat them , my grandfather once i think..these men were from the old country, the hill of Italy. Chefs by trade. Old school chefs. Leg of lamb butchering guys. lol. My grandfather was about 5’7 175 around, but a hard worker. Old country strong.And My love of the weights, and those old Italian stories he and my uncle would tell in the basement to me as they sipped demi tes with sambucca would inspire me to lifte harder , heavier, and also to get jbs that were physical labor. I remeber at my old church we were breaking a sidewalk up, and throwing it into a backhoe, and i was in my glory, loving every big chunck of broken sidewalk…pretending i was in the worlds strongest man contest. We had in the churches backyard , a groundcompacter, this thing weighed a lot, for my own excitement i proceeded to pick it up , my friend,an older man, was like..wathc out jeff u dont hurt yourslef.. i picked this thing up and began to walk with it, i think i was 17…even my present day job in a wharehouse, draggin pallets 7 or 8 feet high around with non electric jacks, cause i think its good practice for the worlds strongest man,(my dream)..occosionally i grab a 120 pound drum of grease and press it over head, just to see if i can, and i can..lol..try draggin 54 batteries on a skid,non electric hand jack.. ur heart wants to explode, ur legs fill up with acid. IF i had a heavy deadlift day i might use the electric jack the next day just to save myself from pain, lol. but the gym, and a manual labor, i think is a good mix..that power bodybuilder mike the iron bull pacchelia, i think thats his name, always recomends manual labor for those who are power atheletes,im thinking of getting molds for atlas stones…there was a few years where i stopped lifting, and worked with mexicans in a resturaunt, and talk about strenght from work alone, these guys were smaleer than me, but gave me a run for my money when we arm wrestled and mercy, got beat by this one guy in arm wrestling, strong as hell,for a guy who probably didnt work out, but just did hard labor for years..

    [Reply]

  74. Rjay
    February 14, 2010
    1:03 am

    Man i know what you mean when you say real world strength. My granpa is 66 and hasn’t weight trained since he was a teen and he is still the strongest dude I know. He has some of the biggest and stongest hands I’ve every seen.

    [Reply]

  75. Donnie Hunt
    February 21, 2010
    7:00 am

    From my own experience this type of useful, functional strength makes a great deal more sense. The more experience I have with lifting this seems to make more and more sense. Also what good is being strong if you can’t use it. Some training programs advocate such long rests (several days) between workouts. This whole type III fiber thing you’re talking about seems to go along with the level of development I had back in high school. I’m not saying this will work for everyone and it may have been due to my age also. But during a period of about a year I worked out very frequently. I felt great. I got more muscle and alot stronger. I didn’t really follow a set routine. I worked out with free weights and machines. Sometimes worked out twice a day. Seemed like that such a high frequency made my body adapt to a higher level. I kinda got away from all this when I started reading certain magazines and books about training. I thought that I should be using alot less frequency and volume according to some writers/trainers. I also got kinda hung up on having to have access to certain equipment. I gradually lost that level of development. Not that I didn’t learn anything from the reading I did. I try to learn from everything I do. My point I guess is that from my own experience the body seems to have great adaptive capability. Listen to what others have to say but don’t be afraid to think outside the box with training/getting stronger or any aspect of life.

    [Reply]

    Donnie Hunt Reply:

    I thought I would go into more detail regarding my own post. I think you you should enjoy physical activity. Personally I like resistance training and certain kinds of physical labor. When I lift weights I don’t count reps or sets. I do kinda keep a mental list of how much weight I use on each exercise. I guess my reasoning is that in everyday life you don’t count how long you shovel snow or how many times you load the shovel. I feel that its better to do exercsies that allow you body to move freely instead of machines that keep you in a fixed plane of movement. When you look at how you lift something in everyday life you don’t intentionally force your body to lift in awkward plane of movement. I feel that dumbells, kettleballs and free moving pulleys are best. Barbells are definately great tools I just feel the added free range of dumbells and pulleys is better to how your body moves. As far as how fast I lift something it kinda depends on the exercise or object i’m lifting. I don’t see any reason for lifting something fast for the sake of lifting fast. If you have to catch a fast moving weight at the end of an exercise a heavy object you body is taking the brunt of the impact. Probably not a good thing. Anyway i’m no fitness expert or a hardcore physical laborer. I have lifted weights off and on since i was like 8. I’ve done my share of physical labor. This is just my 2 cents.

    [Reply]

    Donnie Hunt Reply:

    To anybody who reads the stuff I posted here. I have no business giving anybody advice about exercise, strength/muscle building. Yes I have lifted and done some physical labor. Figure out what works for you and be careful.

    [Reply]

  76. mark
    April 4, 2010
    1:11 pm

    My neighbor is a 84 year old farmer. I would NOT mess with him. I have seen him move wood and keep his livestock in line. All day strong, real world strong. BTW, I just made my first atlas stone and get to open it this easter morning!

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  77. Danelle
    May 8, 2010
    8:32 pm

    I laughed when I read the title. OLD MAN strength. I knew precisely what you meant. My dad died 7 years ago but the guy was like a locomotive, you know?
    I never ever knew anyone who could just work and work and work like he could. The man pushed himself past the limits of normal human physical endurance on a regular basis. Dude used to cut down trees, then use an AXE to chop ‘em up. Haul rocks, loads of dirt, shingles up and down roof tops, huge garbage cans full of wet grass. Mow the grass with a push mower, NOT self-propelled. He always flirted with 15 extra pounds. But he died a happy man. A great day was raking and burning leaves and watching Perry Mason re-runs. And all the guys said “amen, bro”.

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  78. michael jones
    May 28, 2010
    7:02 am

    my nephew calls my strength old wise mans strongarm,i just call it brute strengh,its seems tha even when i lose alot of wieght after being a slacker i still have the same force as when i was 135kg`s of rippling mass or 63 kilo skinny dude i guess it comes done to getting it,& even though your not at the peak you or me i should say,you can summon the animal your keeping inside

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  79. sid
    May 30, 2010
    12:11 pm

    my grandfather once lifted a buffalo on his shoulder, the buffalo got accidently stuck between two iron poles about 5 ft in height ,, studded to the ground, my grandpa went under the buffalo , resting its lower belly-abdomen on his shoulder and then he stood up and pushed the buffalo over the pole,,, i was bedazzled to see him do this,, it was a full mature buffalow.

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  80. Mitchel Yorks
    August 18, 2010
    8:57 pm

    I am a very small guy about 5’6″, 135 pounds at about 6-7% bodyfat. People always underestimate how strong I am because I am not this huge meathead. I performed physical labor at my job and could outwork most of the guys twice my size. But my one co worker lives on a farm and he is huge 6’1″ close 300 pounds and looks fat. I was over at his place the one day and they had a bull get loose. It charged him and he punched it in the forehead and dropped it. And he never lifted a weight in his life. Farm boys are people you don’t want to mess with.

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  81. Ronnie
    September 9, 2010
    5:51 pm

    we still cal um cornbread fed around here…. but in truth it is hbrid muscle they use all the time on the farm or ranch

    [Reply]

  82. gary
    October 20, 2010
    6:01 pm

    i have a friend who always wanted to be big and strong like me, i am 29 now but all my life have been a naturally strong person even though i was very skinny as a child, my frind and i always had play fights and i always won! he now has taken lots of steroids and goes to the gym atlest 4 times a week for about 5 years more and can do quite a bit more than me on his arms and chest, i am a steel erector and use all my muscles at the same time and have said to him that i am still stronger than him but in a different way. i know now that i am right so thanks for your story.
    funny thing is he refuses to arm wrestle me as i always won and i say to him if your that much stronger than me he should not have to worry about me making him pull his muscles, lol.

    [Reply]

  83. wrestler strength
    November 10, 2010
    1:37 pm

    Awesome post and fantastic video…one of the best ever!

    [Reply]

  84. Matt Smith
    December 12, 2010
    6:49 am

    Ha ha. You are great at marketing your shit. I love the way you used the example from the movie Rocky 4 to “make believe” that it is real. Sure, next you will say how Superman, Batman, Spiderman are lessons for us to learn how to fly. Dude I know that you need to sell your hybrid stuff so go ahead but please stop demeaning gyms. If gyms are so non functional then I suppose all top athletes nowadays must be dumbasses to waste their time in gyms to get more powerful and conditioned. Of course your dad is still awesome and I respect him fully.

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  85. Scott
    December 20, 2010
    7:32 pm

    I don’t mean to “spam” with embedded videos, but words alone will not describe this. I am the guy (23 years old) standing on top. I am using the ceiling for balance.

    [Reply]

    Scott Reply:

    The embedded video didn’t show. Here is the link.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zp59vsHSZ9Y

    [Reply]

  86. Randy ladwig
    January 21, 2011
    4:07 am

    I’ve been working in shops my entire life. I worked as a “hopper filler” in plastics for years, and have been in the print industry for 17 years. When I picked up martial arts again, my sensai used to say I had “retarded strength”.
    I’m 6 foot 5 and only about 185 – 190, and work circles around the gym rats at work. And “Mr. Stan” didn’t even like to spar with me because he said every part of me was solid, and it hurt him to hit me.
    As I progressed up the corporate ladder my job is becoming more clerical, and less physical. As such I’m looking for a way to increase or at least maintain what I have.
    Going to give this a try… it’s gotta be better than turning into a weary old man.

    [Reply]

  87. BioBasics
    February 8, 2011
    6:10 pm

    This blog site has got some very helpful information on it! Thanks for helping me.

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    thanks for reading ;)

    [Reply]

  88. Joe
    October 14, 2011
    4:40 am

    Well my grandfather definitely qualifies here. A tall skinny guy that could do heavy physical labour 15 hours a day, smoke like a chimney and feel great just the same. Beat the crap outta two guys for talkin smack at him in his 50s. What a guy.

    [Reply]

  89. DEXTA
    November 10, 2011
    3:06 pm

    im 15 years old, and i bench press a 120lbs! when i started i was able to do 50lbs….i started going to da gym from da time i went over seas to dubai…and when i returned after 2 years…i had a frend waiting for an arm wrestling match..and when we did get our chance to arm wrestle..i was shocked to see how hard it was for me to put him down. i know for sure dat he doesnt do any workouts. but he help his dad alot in his work, like washin his car and cleaning da garden and stuff..so maybe his got hybrid muscle :l….but what da heck ..cant i get those type of muscles too?? like other then helpin around da house is there any workout i can do in da gym to focus on building dis type of muscles? pls reply :/

    [Reply]

  90. James
    June 13, 2012
    5:41 pm

    I am 17 years old, i have not been training to get mass or look good. Just to get that intense strength because i lack the size for my age. after about two years of strength training i have become unaturally strong for my size. i can overpower people twice my size. :)

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  91. Alan
    July 8, 2012
    10:56 pm

    I think a lot of “real world” strength might be to do with co-ordination and intelligent use of musculature, not “old man strength” which doesn’t make much physical sense to me.

    I’m 37 now but when I was 20 I could move furniture that furniture movers couldn’t move. It took two of these big guys all their strength to move our piano around and into place, but when my mum decided it had to go in another room I moved it myself. There was no big secret to it – I didn’t try to move it with head-on mass and muscle, instead I mostly used my calf muscles and my lower legs as levers.

    I think once you get your body co-ordinating properly you can perform feats that other people think are difficult, simply because they’re not applying their strength correctly. So maybe these old guys aren’t any stronger really, they’re just using their bodies more efficiently through experience?

    [Reply]

  92. John
    July 17, 2012
    9:34 pm

    I’m 250 and 27 years old worked with. Guy Who was prob 55 n would put other stockade fence by him self n all I would do was dig I spent my younger days in the gym n was shocked that he had strength that came out of no where

    [Reply]

  93. Adam
    August 1, 2012
    8:02 am

    I remember back in Auto Tech in high school. All the guys in there were extremely focused on working out, and would always talk about going to the gym after school, special shakes, diet, etc. Most of their arms were nearly twice as big as mine. But somehow I seemed to easily keep up with them moving and lifting large car parts and breaking bolts loose. One day we all decided to start arm wrestling, and I slaughtered every one of them except for one, which ended up being a tie (he did beat me at the end of the year). Amazed, my auto teacher challenged me, and… well… all I remember was the ripping noise of the torn ligament I gave him, which put him in a cast and sling for the next month or so. He was in his early 50′s, so nothing to brag about.

    I did a lot of manual labor back then. I owned (still do) an old pickup truck with a lift gate on it, so I was always busy helping people move large items, doing yard work, etc. I’m also an avid dirt bike rider, which probably helps a lot considering when I first started riding my arms would always be killing me afterwards. I also hike, paintball, canoe, and do a lot of physical activity, but I have never set foot in a gym. My little brother is very similar, but he is kind of a hybrid, doing real world stuff (not quite as much as me), and moderate working out. I’m about the only person he could never beat arm wrestling, but that’ll probably change when he returns from Navy boot camp.

    [Reply]

  94. Dan E.
    September 8, 2012
    2:51 pm

    I am reaching that old man strength. Long time recovering from catastrophic MVA accident where I broke my lower legs in 34 places, my left arm has 6″ plate, both collar bones, smashed right hand, 7 head wounds, tore up part of my face, broke all my ribs on right side of body.

    I’m 46 and 280lbs. Work out at Howell Fitness in Howell MI. Currently I’m an RN and work with people who have traumatic brain injuries..but spent my first 20yrs of employment as a rough carpenter and excavator. Spent many a day swinging a 16 pound sledge or working a shovel or carrying wood, etc.

    Current best lifts or gym days:

    Squat 335 x 8 x 6sets (depth is a problem due to past injures, but do what I can)
    Bench: 380max, 225 for 35, 285 for 2x15reps
    Overhead Press: 195×3
    Pull up: 8 reps with 45lb weight. Superset on squat days and do 8-10 sets of 10 chins/pull ups
    Dead lift: 475lb
    DBell curl: 65′s x 6
    Pendlay Row: 315 x 6 x 3 sets

    I don’t use straps or belt ever.

    Workin’ Hard, Liftin’ Hard, Lovin’ every minute,

    BDS

    [Reply]

    gaurav Reply:

    Very inspiring….shows what life is all about!!

    [Reply]

  95. James
    November 12, 2012
    9:44 pm

    Good points. But lose the Rocky movie argument. It was a movie. And actually, in that movie the Russian was presented as having superior strength. Rocky’s edge was not superior strength but superior will (and his character would have chosen modern equipment if he’d had the choice, but he didn’t).

    [Reply]

    Nick Reply:

    I actually like the rocky reference. To me it’s exactly what they were showing. Rocky was going back to the root of his training. Just like when he was breaking ribs in the meat locker. Real training.

    [Reply]

  96. naturallymedium
    January 3, 2013
    11:56 am

    I have observed whenever I’ve tried joining a gym, within 2 weeks I have gotten skinnier, while without gym and with my natural workout I am always quite stocky. I am 5’11″, 200, with a little belly since I don’t do crunches but it’s not visible at all, like very little but quite stout. And very well built chest, nice shoulders and medium to strong arms with some tricep. I’ve been told I look quite stocky and worked out, but not gym cut. Surprisingly though, I stay very big just using a chair, lifting it from different angles, push ups and other simple exercises. I step into the gym, and I can do 200 lbs, 20 reps of bench on day one. But after a while I start getting very lean, which I absolutely hate. Don’t know what’s the reason. In real life strength, I have taken down some of my friends in a full on friendly fight, they are 200 lbs and all jacked up. I don’t take those suppplements either. I am thinking of never ever going to a gym ever again, cause with my bulked up stocky shit, I’ve had more girls than I ever do with the gym shit.

    [Reply]

  97. naturallymedium
    January 3, 2013
    11:56 am

    I have observed whenever I’ve tried joining a gym, within 2 weeks I have gotten skinnier, while without gym and with my natural workout I am always quite stocky. I am 5’11″, 200, with a little belly since I don’t do crunches but it’s not visible at all, like very little but quite stout. And very well built chest, nice shoulders and medium to strong arms with some tricep. I’ve been told I look quite stocky and worked out, but not gym cut. Surprisingly though, I stay very big just using a chair, lifting it from different angles, push ups and other simple exercises. I step into the gym, and I can do 200 lbs, 20 reps of bench on day one. But after a while I start getting very lean, which I absolutely hate. Don’t know what’s the reason. In real life strength, I have taken down some of my friends in a full on friendly fight, they are 200 lbs and all jacked up. I don’t take those suppplements either. I am thinking of never ever going to a gym ever again, cause with my bulked up stocky shit, I’ve had more girls than I ever do with the gym shit.

    [Reply]

  98. Nick
    January 6, 2013
    10:20 am

    Growing up I had a best friend who had crazy “old man strength” we were once building a tree house, and had to carry some heavy pallets to our building site. I’d barely be dragging them along, whil he’d grab two and throw him on his back and them drag them up into a tree by himself. I was a football player and powerlifter who probably outweighed him by 80 lbs. I could out lift him all day in the weight room yet he would destroy me in physical labor. He would also whoop me in wrestling too.

    [Reply]

  99. Sidney Coad Williams
    February 2, 2013
    10:00 am

    I AM A HEALTH ACTIVIST. MY AIM IS TO INSPIRE, MOTIVATE AND ACTIVATE OTHERS TO ADOPT A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE SO THAT THEY CAN GROW OLD GRACEFULLY.
    I HAVE LOST ABOUT ONE THIRD OF MY POWER FROM MY PEAK AT FORTY YEARS TO MY PRESENT AGE OF 86 YEARS. AT MY PEAK I DEAD LIFTED 230 KILOGRAMS AT A BODY MASS OF 100 KILOGRAMS GIVING ME A POWER TO BODY MASS RATION OF 2.3. AT 86 MY MAXIMUM IN THE DEAD LIFT IS 160 KILOGRAMS AT A BODY MASS OF 100 KILOGRAMS GIVING ME A RATIO OF 1.6. DO THE MATH AND YOU WILL SEE THAT I LOST ABOUT ONE THIRD OF MY POWER FROM MY PEAK TO DATE. CHECK MY INTERNET PROFILE ON http://www.google.com THEN SURF THE LINKS. VIEW MY TWO POWER VIDEOS ON http://www.youtube.com THEN EMULATE ME. I MAINTAIN THAT WHAT I HAVE I HAVE ACHIEVED OTHERS CAN EMULATE IF THEY ADOPT A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE IN THEIR YOUTH AND MAINTAIN IT. SIDNEY COAD WILLIAMS HEALTH ACTIVIST.

    [Reply]

  100. logician
    February 25, 2013
    4:16 pm

    did you stop to think that maybe your neurons grow to fire in a way to make you efficiant at what you do? or maybe your father has the relavant core strength.

    [Reply]

  101. Han
    April 1, 2013
    9:45 pm

    Being a construction worker, I can relate to this article, the strongest guys I ever encountered during work are those who drill holes on cement walls.

    Magnus Samuelsson the world strongest man champion in 1998, worked as a lumberjack before he entered the competition.

    Also ancient Shaolin monks, would really train their muscle by doing “everyday work” like working in the farm and field to train up their muscle and rhythm, those kung fu movies wasn’t lying with those “training montage”.

    [Reply]

  102. jeed
    April 9, 2013
    7:23 pm

    this is a true story of me, i am a guy. When i was 16, a water supplier in my residential parks cut our supply. We have no water and i had to go to another residential to get some water. I had to carry a water gallon above my shoulder and walked for 200 metres away from my house. I had to walk through a hilly route while carrying that gallon everyday, and each day for about 12 times back and forth. With a extreme heat environment because i live in Malaysia.
    i was just a small guy at that time, 5’7 tall and weigh around 47kg.
    my daily workout is just 20 push ups and never been working out at the gym.

    now i am 21, and grow a lot bigger than i was before, but i don’t think i can do that again because i am studying in a university now.

    [Reply]

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