Allow us to share an analogy that Tony Yaniro has used in his strength coaching for rock climbers that does a good job demonstrating the system your body uses to develop strength and athletic ability. From Tony’s analogy we can understand why the Olympic lifter won’t be the best marathoner.
Louie formed a piano moving company with a few guys (the motor units).
At first these guys were not very good at moving pianos because they were not very strong, nor could they all lift and pull in coordination. With practice however they became pretty darn good at piano moving and began to get requests to do more jobs with bigger pianos.
Louie, being the brains in the group, realized that he could recruit some more guys and get more work done. He’d have to serve them all lunch and he’d have to take them to all the jobs but hey, it seemed like a no-brainer because he’d make more money in the end.
Well, these new guys turned out to be really lazy and bumbly. So much so that they got in each other’s way and dropped pianos. It was mess. So Louie decided he had to give them more supervision and train them to work as a team. Sure enough, after a few weeks even these new guys were really good at moving pianos.
But jeez, could they pack away the lunch. They were eating him out of house and home. But the jobs kept coming in and now Louie was making real money.
Then the bottom dropped out of the piano moving market.
Louie was still obliged to transport all these, now kind of useless,workers around to the few jobs he could find, just in case new work came in. To make matters worse, he still had to feed them. It became obvious pretty fast to Louie that this was no way to run a business, and he needed to reduce his crew to just the number of guys needed to get the immediate job done.
The Olympic-style weight lifter can afford to carry a lot of guys around in his truck and he can afford to feed them as much as they want to eat. When he needs them for that big moving job he needs every single one of them and they need to be sharp and ready to pull together as a team.
The marathoner or the alpinist can afford neither the cost of the lunch nor the cost of carrying all these guys around that he may never need to put to work.
The alpinist must have his minimalist crew so well trained that they can handle any moving job that comes their way.
Typically, athletic activities have limited budgets, so the goal is to get the most efficiency from our bodies. We need enough muscle strength and mass, but not too much. Then we must tune what we have to perfection.