I Don’t Lift Weights for Strength
When I was 19 years old I started to lift weights. I kept the habit up for three years and gained many positive attributes. For starters it was my first steps toward any real athletic activity in my life.
Before that asthma and severe allergies kept me from really pursuing anything too physically demanding. I also taught me to focus and how to truly dedicate you to something. In many ways lifting weights brought me into my maturity and; already being 20 years old, I was a bit late.
I gained almost 15 lbs at my peak, I was considerably bigger and my confidence was high, and socially I became more approachable; but there was something missing. Unlike many of my peers, I started to lift weights for function not for aesthetic. I wanted to be strong, functionally.
While I was able to lift some considerable amount of weight, I still felt weak when grappling with my cousins or friends and I would tire very quickly. Along with that I had acquired a few injuries, both in my right arm that I carry till this day. I knew there was something missing so I set out to find the missing piece.
I did everything from crossfit training, to lifting lighter weights, vertical jumps, lifting and throwing around sand bags; nothing seemed to work. At the end of each work out I felt tired, but never seemed to gain any strength or even any sort of endurance; I was just tired. On top of it the vertical jumps caused another injury; this time in my right knee, likely linked to the past injury in my shoulder.
It was then that I stopped. Quite frankly; I was scared. I wasn’t exercising to look pretty; I wanted to be strong and there is no strength with a dead knee. I stop everything all together aside from jogging.
6 months later I found myself entering to doors of OC Muay Thai. It was “my last stop” to trying to figure out this puzzle. Martial arts had been my first love; but ego’s and bad experiences kept me at a distance from joining any dojo or gym, so I took to practicing on my own. I’ll never forget the day I first heard David speak on the matter of strength.
“Who are the strongest pound for pound athletes?” he asked.
I sat quietly and listened as a few other students chimed in with their own answers and when David finally answered his own question a small light when on in my head. “Gymnasts; they never lift a single weight, but they’ll rip your arm right out of your socket without even trying.” Of course, and the answer couldn’t have been more simple.
From then on I took to strength training in a whole new light and David was there to carefully guide my progress. Each day all I did was body weight exercises. Pull-ups, Chin-ups, Push-ups, sit-ups, hanging knees raises and leg lifts, handstand push-ups, or even just hanging on the bar when I felt weak.
Today I am the strongest I have ever been in my life
And I continue to grow stronger and stronger every day. Grappling with my cousins and friends is a breeze, and my endurance does not suffer from it in any way. I’ve suffered no further injuries and my past injuries are healing more and more, as an added bonus; my physical aesthetic has surpassed that of when I was lifting weights. I’ve seen nothing but benefits and this is the reason why I will never touch another weight in my life.