What’s the absolute latest and greatest as far as legal performance enhancement is concerned?
This is going to sound strange to many, because it’s not a pill, powder or supplement of any sort. But there’s some incredible research going on in both the United States and Russia surrounding exoskeletons for military use. Briefly, exoskeletons are something a soldier would put on and wear inside or outside of their uniform. The prototypes look like something out of the old maskatron and six million dollar man tv shows. Significant challenges remain, but by way of example I want to show you what’s possible.
The US recently tested a lower body exoskeleton for how much of a performance improvement it could make with an example we can all relate to: Squats. They took a completely fresh, well fed and rested soldier and had him perform as many squats with 185lbs as possible without the exoskeleton. He got 24 reps.
They then applied the exoskeleton and put him through a battery of exhaustive exercise – carrying medivac patients up and down 5 flights of stairs, hiking through mountain passes for 4 hours and digging foxholes and trenches for another 5. After all of that, they had him re-do the squat test with 185lbs.
He got 72 reps.
Trickle Down Effect
When these things are perfected, they’re going to result in super soldiers that can run faster, carry more, hit harder and take hits that would kill an ordinary man. And here’s what’s significant to you: Sooner or later, military technologies almost always trickle down to the civilian population.
You can see this in everything from firearms to food. That GPS system you use in your car today? Came directly from the military and in fact, a good number of them still use military satellites to function.
So I can’t tell you when, but I’d bet good money the day is coming when you might be able to wear an exoskeleton to the gym and perform absurd feats of strength. How or if this will translate into bigger or stronger muscles I’m not sure.
On the one hand it’s the exoskeleton that’s doing most of the work. But the systemic effect of performing 72 vs. 24 squats is undeniable, and I have to believe they’ll be some sort of knock on effect where resulting muscle growth is greater than it otherwise would be.
An interesting development for sure, and one to keep your eye on.