Being jacked isn’t a requirement to be a great athlete, but it sure does help. Just look at guys like Bo Jackson (to the right) and gals like Serena Williams. Sure, they had unreal skill and athleticism, but I guarantee they’d tell you a lot of their success came from their superior physical condition.
Athletes must produce force to jump, sprint, swing, throw, etc. A muscle’s capacity to produce force is directly proportional to its cross-sectional area. What does that mean? Big muscles produce big forces.
But all muscle isn’t created equal. Bodybuilders have tons of muscle, but you don’t see Jay Cutler throwing down monster dunks (although Arnold can hold his own at table tennis).
Like many athletes, I was introduced to strength training via bodybuilding methods. That’s fine and dandy because I got stronger, but it definitely wasn’t optimal. Instead of doing biceps curls and leg extensions, I should have been squatting and deadlifting to build muscle and get stronger at the same time.
The bottom line is that athletes shouldn’t do bodybuilding workouts if they want to build useful, athletic muscle. But athletes can learn a thing or two from bodybuilders to get jacked and improve their athleticism. In my latest on Stack.com, I show you how to use bodybuilding habits to get big, strong and athletic.