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Superhuman abilities are something most of us dreamed about as a child. When you were young I bet you thought about how cool it would be to be super strong, super fast and be able to fly. Am I right? As the years went on you were trained to think differently, to “be realistic” and to get your head out of the clouds.
As you reached adulthood you were completely sensible with no dreams of possessing superhuman abilities. I mean that’s the way it should be right? You should think about more important, “realistic” things.
But what if certain abilities were meant to be pursued? What if there were some things you could do if you truly trained for them, superhuman things? There are and they are being done every day.
First of all let me clarify what I mean by superhuman abilities. I’m not referring to outrageous things like flying off a building or throwing a train. What I’m talking about are things that are humanly possible or what myself and many others consider to be possible.
1. Ultra-fast running, both long distance and sprinting. I refer to this as superhuman when it is only done by one or two people in the world. Running is just an example, this refers to massive feats of strength and other athletic abilities.
2. Whenever a world record is significantly broken. This refers to physical records and all other records. It’s superhuman when it’s broken by a big margin like when Usain Bolt broke both the 100 and 200 metre world records several times by quite a large margin. Some feats have only been done by one or two people in the world, with all others attempting to match it falling well behind. In this sense, a massive world record that stands for a long time is considered a superhuman ability of sorts.
3. Demonstrations of ability that cannot easily be explained like hysterical strength. This occurs when a person of seemingly normal strength lifts a car or something along those lines. This is not ordinary behaviour so therefore it can be considered a superhuman ability.
Being superhuman is certainly within reach for many people. If it’s in reach for them then it’s possible for just about anyone. There are demonstrations of the adaptability of human beings all the time.
Examples of Superhuman Abilities
THE SYRIAN GAZELLE BOY
Jean-Claude Auger met some nomads while travelling across the Spanish Sahara when he was told of a story of a wild child, a day’s journey away. The next day the nomads took him to see the boy. When they arrived they saw a naked child galloping in huge leaps, jumping higher than any human would ever be thought capable of jumping.
The boy was raised by the Gazelles from about eight months old. This example shows the enormous ability of the human body to adapt to the conditioning it is put through. Which begs the question, is athletic ability in particular races or cultures genetic or environmental? UNLEASHED Training works with the notion that anything can be conditioned and genetics can be altered. That is how our training works.
Hysterical strength is a term applied when a human uses more than the usual 33 percent of muscle fibres that the brain normally permits humans to use. It is usually applied in an hysterical state such as in those with mental illness and people faced with emergency. We have covered the science behind this here.
In 1982 in Lawrenceville, Georgia, Angela Cavallo lifted a 1964 Chevrolet Impala from her son after it fell off that jacks that held it up while he wphenomenon orked on it underneath. Angela lifted the car long enough for two neighbours to replace the jacks. This took a considerable amount of time, not just phenomenon a second or two. Have you ever seen an Impala? They're a big-ass car.
To an extent this can partially be trained for through psychological focus drills, concentration of effort and a corresponding neuromuscular and physiological conditioning programme. I do not by any means promise that the average sized soccer mum will start lifting cars. However you can indeed develop the ability to surpass many of the physical inhibitory mechanisms of the muscular system, nervous system and endocrine system. This is what makes UNLEASHED Training quite different than other programmes out there.
SUPERHUMAN ATHLETIC ABILITY
In 1954 Roger Bannister ran the mile in under four minutes for the first time in history. It was thought to be impossible until then, now it’s been done hundreds of times. And Roger was not a full-time professional athlete, he worked a regular job and trained in his lunch breaks. This tells me that we are right in our philosophy and application of a minimum effective dose when it comes to training.
In Beijing Usain Bolt ran the 100 metres in a time of 9.58 seconds. This was a massive world record over such a short distance, considering the margin he broke it by.
Athletic world records are broken all the time. 50 years ago that 100 metre record was thought to be an impossible time. Human beings are incredible at surpassing their own achievements in every conceivable way.
How many times can such records be broken? Could they continue to be broken forever?
Superhuman abilities refer not only to the physical, but to the mental as well.
David Richard Spencer was able to memorise pi up to 511 digits. A little over 30 years later Chao Lu was able to remember pi up to a whopping 67, 890 digits.
There are plenty more examples of superhuman mental ability throughout history. Take a look at some of our technology advances. Every now and then someone comes up with a genius idea that helps medicine, engineering or the computer industry. In the early 21st century I thought that the Nokia 3210 mobile phone was incredible. Compare that with an iphone 5 just 12 years later.
Superhuman abilities? Or just human?
If these examples of superhuman abilities I have provided have already occurred then what is yet to come?
It was regular humans that demonstrated such amazing examples, they weren’t born special. For some it is a split moment in time where all limitations are switched off, triggered by necessity, for others it is the training and conditioning they have consistently undergone throughout their life.
I have read vampire stories and thought how awesome it would be to possess the strength, longevity and speed of the vampires. It’s always been an obsession to me to study superhuman abilities and how to obtain above-average levels of ability. Not in the clearly ridiculous sense, but in the sense of what can logically be conditioned.
The following are a few pointers on training for superhuman abilities…
1. Condition yourself consistently. Elite athletes train all the time, they don’t just go to the gym and plod around going through the motions. If they did then everyone who does any form of fitness training would be at the same level. Elite athletes who break world records seem larger than life. Imagine a world record weight lifter training in your local gym. They would make the biggest guy there seem like a sissy. It’s that extra degree of commitment to excellence. Water heated to 99 degrees C is hot, whereas water at 100 degrees C is boiling and becomes a vapour. It is that single degree of difference that separates the elite from the mediocre.
2. Develop habits. There are people who possess skills that no one else in the world has. These people habitually apply and practise them. Develop some different habits that are in line with others of seemingly superhuman ability and skill level. If you want the strength of the world's strongest man then model him, do what he does. Once you are approaching that level then you need to take a risk, devise some new habits and work towards doing what no one else has done before.
3. Believe it can be done. This one is harder to do for many people due to cultural and societal conditioning. In order to consciously choose to develop some superhuman level of skill or ability, you must actually believe you are capable. This may sound overly simplistic but without belief it will fail. Look at athletes that break world records, no one else has run that fast or thrown that far so they need to have complete faith that it’s possible. This is developed entirely within your own head. There is a difference between impossible and never been done before.
4. Throw away preconceptions. This relates to belief. Superhuman abilities sounds like a ridiculous topic, however I hop by now you get the idea of what is meant. We are not speaking of wearing underwear outside your pants or moving into a private bat cave. Anyway, I digress, you may have preconceptions about certain things. Things like age. For instance it is impossible for some at age 30 to consider training for their first Olympic games or becoming elite in any sport. However this does not have to be the case. Think of it this way; there is no solid biological proof that a trained human body declines with age up until the 6th decade of life. In other words, an untrained human body will decline with age, this is how physiology and senescence (aging) works. However with consistent training this process can be delayed or even reversed to a certain degree. Linford Christie was sprinting elite 100m times on a world scale at age 35.
This applies to more than just age. Genetics, or at least the belief in genetics, seems to be a massive limiting factor in athletes and others. Kenyans are great distance runners, northern Europeans are massive strongmen etc. But there is no solid proof of this, just speculation. Correlation does not imply causation. Much of this is now thought to be a combination of belief/social conditioning and environment. Don't limit yourself based on things you have been conditioned to believe.
Superhuman abilities may seem like something reserved for the minds of children, however it does not have to be the case. People exert higher than normal levels of skill and raw ability all the time. Do a quick Google search for various categories of superhuman abilities. There are many you may never have even heard of, it may shock you to see what has actually been done by human beings throughout history.
A final note on superhuman abilities…
If something is possible then you can consider it within your own reach. There have been stories (validated ones) of a woman fighting off a polar bear that was about to attack her kids, old ladies lifting cars and all sorts of amazing things. If it can be done in an emergency situation the human brain and body must be physically capable of doing it. It is a matter of switching off the inhibitory mechanisms.
Don't get me wrong, I must stress that this is not a wish page where you can fool yourself into believing that you are a superhero or a vampire that can run at the speed of sound. Don't be absurd. This is a line of thinking that somewhat defies general conventional wisdom and the general societal idea of what is or is not possible. Superhuman abilities in this context refer to things within the realm of physiological possibility, even if they are far from anything that has yet been demonstrated.
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YOUR COACH – Chris Lyons
Chris Lyons is an experienced strength and conditioning coach, having trained athletes of all ages and levels since 2002. Chris specialises in coaching athletes for speed and power specific to fast-moving sports such as rugby league, rugby union, soccer, Aussie rules football etc. Since 2002 Chris has conducted close to 15,000 hours of training and coaching directly with athletes and members of the general population. From this experience comes Unleashed Training, based on tried and tested training methods combined with up to date research. Chris continues to challenge himself not only as a coach, but also as an athlete, competing in sprinting events, strongman and Olympic-style weightlifting.