Infinity Gains: What you can learn from Thanos about training
When I first laid pre-pubescent eyes on Infinity Gauntlet issue #1 all the way back in 1991, Thanos instantly became one of my favorite comic book characters. And over time, he’s grown to become my absolute favorite comic book character.
Any time Thanos is involved, I knew something good was coming.
What started for me as enjoying a villain who’d dispose of his enemies with a sense of humor, albeit a dark and twisted sense of humor, became something much more. Despite being a villain, I couldn’t help but develop a grudging sense of respect for him.
Be Like Thanos
While not a noble figure, I’ve often found myself admiring aspects of his personality.
Thanos is a force to be reckoned with, having stood toe-to-toe against the likes of The Hulk and even Galactus. If his raw physical strength wasn’t enough, he’s ruthlessly cunning, planning and calculating all possible outcomes before making his move. Which is to say nothing of his ambition; he’ll stop at nothing to reach his desired outcome.
Strength. Intelligence. Ambition. All traits you’re going to need if you want to rule the universe.
The very same traits that you’ll require to build the body of a titan.
As you well know, the quest for size and strength begins at the gym, but this quest is often littered with dead ends, leaving many with one question: “how can I get bigger and stronger?”
After a few years of training under your belt, you manage to scrape together a decent physique and a respectable level of strength, but things start to slow down. The ambitious lifter is left trying everything, anything, that will promise results.
After a while, all that time under the bar eventually brings along aches and pains that only get worse the older you get. Now your ambition seeks answers to a more specific question: “how can I keep getting bigger and stronger, without having to move around like an octogenarian?”
You’ve gotten strong. Now it’s time to get smart.
Why Not Both?
If you want to look like a titan, you’re going to have to train hard. If you want to have a long, pain-free lifting career, you have to train smart. But, like the Old El Paso at-home taco kit commercial, there’s no reason why we can’t have both.
In the strength and conditioning world, “looking better” means muscle hypertrophy, along with some fat loss. “Moving better” means working within usable ranges of motion, doing drills to increase the usable ranges of motion, and some prehab/rehab work (foam rolling and active release techniques).
Stereotypically, it’s thought that those chasing size and strength will lose flexibility and athleticism. On the flip side, the physical therapy/rehab is sometimes thought to spend too much time on “functional training” and improving movement patterns at the expense of building size and strength.
It’s almost like we’re forced to choose between being agile and athletic or big and strong. We’ve all been lured by the siren’s call of focusing entirely on looking better, and not enough on moving better. On the other hand, spending all your time in the gym foam rolling and going through corrective exercises aren’t going to get you strong, either.
Becoming a God
Generally speaking, intermediate lifters will get better results using and improving their compound lifts. Compounds, involve multiple muscles and joints, and allow for the greatest generation of force, building the greatest amount of strength. Compound lifts also do a better job of preparing your body for real-life situations.
By contrast, how often are you in a situation where your ability to perform a task depends on a single joint? Unless you’re Captain America trying to prevent a helicopter from taking off, your biceps will usually work in tandem with your back and shoulder muscles, pulling things towards yourself (rows), and yourself towards things (pull-ups).
Pulling is just one of the six foundational movement patterns. Barbell rows and chin-ups will build a back, rear delts, biceps, and forearms worthy of a titan. Since each movement pattern focuses on different muscle groups, you’ll have to use them all; in order to obtain the body of a god, you’ll have to combine the power of all six movement patterns.
Greater than the sum of its parts
Like I said at the beginning, Thanos was already a force to be reckoned with. And that was before getting his purple mitts on all the Infinity Gems and putting them all into the Infinity Gauntlet. The six gems controlled a single element of the universe. Consisting of the Mind, Reality, Power, Space, Time, and Soul gems, he who controls them all controls the universe; the wearer of the Gauntlet is granted absolute power.
Just like the combination of six Infinity Gems granted Thanos infinite power, incorporating all six movement patterns in your training will provide the best possible training results.
Your body already knows this; it’s only been waiting for you to catch up.
The human body is an amazing thing and can move in many different ways, but there are very specific movement patterns we all use, dozens, or even hundreds of times a day: pushing, pulling, squatting, hinging, lunging, and walking.
These six movement patterns are the basic movement patterns found in human movement. Here’s how they can be trained in the gym:
- Push – push-ups, bench press, overhead press
- Pull – pull-ups, lat pulldowns, barbell rows
- Squat – goblet squat, front squat, barbell squat
- Hinge – Romanian deadlift, rack pull, convention/sumo/trap bar deadlift
- Lunge – forward lunge, reverse lunge, Bulgarian split-squats
- Walk/Carry – walking, farmer’s carry, suitcase carry
The exercises listed above are just a few of the different ways these six movement patterns can be trained, respectively. It might not seem fancy, but it works. Just look at what one of our
guinea pigs clients had to say.
Contrary to what the gym bros might say, no one has to barbell back squat, bench press, or deadlift. However, everyone and I mean everyone, needs to incorporate some kind of pulling/pushing, hinging, and squatting into their fitness routines.
While both Dan John and Dr. John Rusin have both written at great length about this topic, and I encourage you to check out their work on this subject, the important thing here is that working movement patterns have more real-world application than training individual muscles, in terms of building bigger, more functional muscles.
Then, if you make sure to recover just as hard as you train, you’ll see those nagging aches and pains slowly start to feel better. Never skip your warm-ups, spend a few minutes every week foam following, follow a nutrition plan that supports your goal, and prioritize your sleep, and you’ll see that you’ll not only be bigger and stronger, but you’ll feel better overall as well.
Enter The Gauntlet
By now, you’re probably wondering how you can incorporate training movement patterns into your training, and we’re not going to disappoint. Like I said in the beginning, anytime Thanos is involved something good is coming and this is no exception.
Below, you’ll find a sample workout from our Infinity Gauntlet program. It’s a free 6-week program that incorporates all six movement patterns, programmed in a holistic way to prevent muscular imbalances and build brutal strength.
The Infinity Gauntlet – Push Day
A1) Slight Incline DB Press 4×8 (place a small plate [5-10lbs] under the bench so as to create a small decline)
A2) Explosive push-ups 4×4 (explode up as if you’re trying to push yourself off the ground; clap at the top if you get explode hard enough to do it)
B1) Flat Bench Press 7×6 (take your time working up to top-end weight on your last set)
B2) 90/90 pec stretch 30 sec/side (using a doorway or column, lay your forearm vertically against it and lean in. If you feel your shoulder, you’ve gone too far)
C) Incline DB Flyes 4×15 (hold the bottom stretch for a full second before coming back up)
D) Push Press 6×8 (make sure to bring weight all the way down, with your elbows tucked into your body at the bottom)
E) Tricep Push-down (lean into the cable stack a bit, and keep your arms tucked)
Thano’s efforts to become a god were foiled at every turn. There is, however, this one comic book that tells the story of what things would be like if Thanos won. For now, all you need to know is that he kept The Incredible Hulk as a pet on a leash. See what I mean? There’s that dark and twisted sense of humor again.
While I can’t guarantee that you’ll be able to play fetch with the Incredible Hulk, I can guarantee you that training movement patterns, and more specifically the six foundational movement parts we discussed, will help you be stronger, faster, more agile, and look and move better, pain-free.
I know that you’re excited to start your own quest for unlimited power today. Your first step is to download The Infinity Gauntlet.
To get your free copy, enter your email below and you’ll receive a download link within seconds.
So, what are you waiting for?
Your quest for results ends now.
Ultimate power comes from facing the ultimate challenge. Are you ready?
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