Tarzan VS Conan – A Competition of the Ages!

March 9, 2009

What if Tarzan met up with Conan and a fight broke out? Maybe Conan made a move on Jane or Tarzan did his famous yell at 5:30AM and Conan was nursing a bad hangover. Whatever the case, these two Alpha males would certainly clash if they ran across each other. Although Conan would probably win in a head to head fight, I think Tarzan would school Conan in most athletic events. It is time to Geek Out!
tarzan versus conan
[Note: These are real photos of Tarzan and Conan when they were in peak condition. I’m delivering the hard-to-find photos again. It’s all about connections!]

Tarzan’s Height and Weight vs Conan’s Height and Weight

Judging by these two photos, I’m estimating that Tarzan is around 5’10” and 165-175 pounds. I heard that he pumped up right before this photo by doing pushups behind the tree (he appears a little bigger than normal in this photo). Conan, on the other hand, is 6’1″ tall and around 260 pounds. Almost a 100 pound difference in weight!

Conan Is on the Juice, but Tarzan Isn’t Intimidated

Tarzan knows that Conan’s bulky muscles look impressive, but don’t have as much function in the Jungle. Things like swinging from vines and sprinting over rough terrain are tougher with those extra 100 pounds. No doubt that Conan could crush Tarzan in a rock lifting competition, but Tarzan would smoke Conan in any thing that required any type of endurance.

Raw Strength VS Strength to Weight Ratio

Conan has much more raw strength than Tarzan. In a head to head fight or wrestling match, Conan would most likely come out victorious (if Conan could catch Tarzan). As far as functional strength to survive in the wilderness, Tarzan comes out on top. If a volcano erupted and Tarzan and Conan had to reach higher ground to avoid molten lava, Tarzan would be up a tree in a flash…this wouldn’t be an easy task for Conan.

Conan’s Excessive Muscle Slows Him Down Substantially

In anything requiring speed, Tarzan comes out on top. Same with endurance. Unfortunately for Conan, all that excess muscle just gets in the way the majority of the time. It definitely helps him swing around that massive sword he carries, but he pays a hefty price of being much less athletic compared to Tarzan. No doubt that Tarzan would smoke Conan in most competitions (Tarzan is even smoother with the ladies).

Erwan Le Corre, A True Modern Day “Tarzan”

Recently I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Free the Animal, and Richard wrote about a modern day Tarzan. He is a 37 year old Frenchman named Erwan Le Corre. Le Corre believes our workouts have been “domesticated” and believes we should workout in the outside world instead. This guy is impressive and Men’s Health believes him to one of the fittest men in the world. Here is the Men’s Health article: Fitness to Survive in the Wild.

[This is a cool video. It makes me want to head outside and run around the woods and beach like I did when I was a kid.]

A “Thank You” to the Sites Who Are Redefining the Idea of Fitness

There are many great sites who are pushing away from the idea of “gaining as much muscle as possible”. Unfortunately, most gyms and fitness magazines are still pushing the bodybuilding-type workouts pretty hard. I want to thank those who are offering a better alternative (at least in my opinion). Soon the rest of the fitness world will catch up, but for now…please stay “ahead of the curve”!

Same Thing Goes for Women

Women obviously don’t want a bunch of excess muscle either. I see bad advice thrown around like crazy in my gym. If you don’t want bulky thighs or to become bulky in general, you really need to take a different approach to getting fit. Yes, I know it is tougher for women to put on a lot of muscle, but even 5-10 pounds of extra muscle on your thighs can make a negative impact on your physique. Just be cautious when following typical bodybuilding routines (better yet…avoid them altogether).

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{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike OD - LifeSpotlight March 9, 2009 at 9:51 pm

Great video….amazing how nature is the perfect gym, no membership fees required. I see it all the time….big guys on machines, isolating muscles…and probably can’t do much of a pullup never mind be able to run without special shoe inserts, knee braces and a heart rate monitor. Swim, climb, jump, run…..the workout our bodies were meant for. Inspires me to get back outside…as the weather starts to warm up too!

Peter March 9, 2009 at 10:08 pm

I wish I had a back yard like that to run around in! Your absolutely right. Tarzan had to have done a workout just before that picture was taken to get that kind of definition! LOL! Well I know this is a little off the subject but I was just wondering if you could tell me, in your opinion, what the absolute best kind of cardio workout is? I am torn between running, biking, or just keeping my heart rate up through cross training. I really like running and riding my bike but it has been pretty cold out lately and I was having a hard time getting out.

Adam Steer - Better Is Better March 9, 2009 at 10:41 pm


I love the comparison you are using to illustrate this important idea! Strength that can be applied in the real world, functional strength, is so much more important than simple limit strength. I hint at this in my concept of the Functional Physique (www.bettersbetter.com). If you don’t have a solid ratio of strength to weight – and the ability to use that strength in manipulating your own body in space – what is it worth.

The word “functional” has been horribly diluted in recent years. But in essence, if we go back to what functional fitness really means, it is no more or no less than the ability to use your strength and conditioning when you need it. And the side benefit is that the more functional your physique becomes, the better you are going to look. A Functional Physique is a natural looking and beautiful physique!


Al March 9, 2009 at 11:35 pm

Hey Rusty,

Good post as always, without reading the whole article first I put money on Tarzan to win! (I always pick fast, athletic crafty to win, though I know from the Conan books he ain’t a dumby either, anyways.)

It’s a very interesting post that brings the whole point of “bulk” and strength versus strength and muscles you can use. It’s kind of like my martial arts teacher, he doesn’t lift weights but man does he ever have a ripped body. He’s probally 5 11″ 180-195 lbs of solid useable muscle. He’s fast, agile and strong. There was a real big muscled guy that used to train with us (I don’t have anything against big muscled guys, this guy was pretty cool, so I’m only using him as an example, kind of sucks I don’t see him around anymore) but he could never keep up with my instructor. He’d try to kick once and my teacher would already kick him, make him back off, and throw 2 more fast kicks he could barley avoid.

Well like all your post, this one makes me want to work harder. Hopefully one day I can be a real life Tarzan as well.


hawaiigirl March 10, 2009 at 12:12 am

hey rusty..i know you like to work out in the late afternoon then you eat your biggest meal after..but i was wondering i like do my cardio in the morning like 9 or 10 but i like to eat a bigger dinner..is it ok to not eat all day then eat at night and not gain weight and still burn fat?i hate working out in the afternoon because i get tired

David at Animal-Kingdom-Workouts March 10, 2009 at 1:28 am

Wow, that video was pretty impressive. I’m in good shape, but that guy takes the cake. Take any bodybuilder and he wouldn’t last 5 minutes following this guy around, that’s for sure.

– Dave

PS – I’d much rather be in “Tarzan” shape than “Conan” shape.

James March 10, 2009 at 1:38 am

God damn! If I did all that with bear feat I’d have no feet left afterwards! We have sharp rocks, twigs, thorns, prickles, glass, and all kinds of stuff in nature here.

Yavor March 10, 2009 at 5:58 am

Excellent post and a very enjoyable video.

You know, this is exactly the reason why I decided to name my blog the way I did. Keep em coming!


Rahul March 10, 2009 at 6:51 am

Hahahahaha, great post…….some of the reasons I like your blog is that

a) your stuff is motivational
b) it’s READABLE…….great way to illustrate a concept…

I have seen a lot of great changes particularly after I started HIIT, which I first heard of on this site I could literally see my wasitline going down week upon week when I first started HIIT, went down from 34+ waist size to 31 currently.

But i find now, that I am obsessed with the gym, going there on Sunday’s, giving less priority to meeting friends or other commitments to fit in time for the gym etc, getting fussy about eating out options when out with friends etc, recently even pissed off someone by saying that I’d rather not hang out with them at a certain time as I had to get my sleep after a strenous workout ….and I think it’s a common problem as I see the same lot of people there at odd times on Sundays, through the week etc……..

Even though I realize that I have become a bit extreme but when it comes to taking days off or relaxing in terms of time or food I just don’t let myself relax…am I the only one feeling this compulsive need to work out?

Helder March 10, 2009 at 8:25 am

Original 🙂 but once again you send out the right message, enough muscle for one’s frame, having a good looking but functional body, it’s much healthier and usefull in real Life.

There’s just 2 little points i would like to talk about it, you said tha conan is probably stronger and would beat tarzan in a fight. Well maybe, just maybe, most people have the idea that being bigger gives advantage in a fight, but i can tell you no, agility and inteligence win a fight, if tarzan moves fast and know what his doing he can win the fight, look at martial artists, are they big? was Bruce Lee big?

About conan being stronger, again maybe, who’s stronger? a bulky bodybuilder with puffed muscles or an olympic lifter? pure strength doesn’t always mean size and a lot of ripped guys are stronger than bulky ones. Gymnasts are a good example of that.

Pavel came in my mind now, it seems that his a very strong guy, with little muscle.

I believe that in every way tarzan is the real winner and the example to follow, this one of your funniest posts and a very original one, and more important with the right message

MrBunny March 10, 2009 at 8:44 am

A very nice light hearted and very amusing article Rusty, good job. In that picture Tarzan has an ideal physique but all that excessive muscle on Conan makes him look rather…plastic in that picture, i don’t know maybe its just me.

I like the video all the stuff that guy was doing looks great as i am a big fan of outdoor activity i have been bungee jumping, sky diving, rock climbing, ice climbing, kayaking, scuba diving, quad biking, motorcross, snow boarding etc…basically anything that gets my heart pumping and is fun.

Although, i don’t think he would be a good candidate to promote Nike trainers, call this a hunch but i don’t think he would display the product well.

Caleb - Double Your Gains March 10, 2009 at 9:24 am

Haha, the conan v.s. tarzan thing was funny but the working out like an animal outside was illy (that means I thought it was a good thing for you older folk 🙂 )


Son of Grok March 10, 2009 at 10:44 am

In a scheduled athletic event, Trazan might take the cake… but in a heads-on all out brawl… Conan FTW. It would be better if the worked together in tandem. Best of bothworlds pre-historic power team.

The SoG

Chris - www.fitnessfail.com March 10, 2009 at 10:54 am

Great post and one that’s through amusing to my inner geek.

To be honest, I don’t know if the idea of more performance based training will really catch on with the masses. Most people are drawn to working out through their own dissatisfaction with their bodies, and health concerns. The bodybuilding market is just exploiting this – catering to skinny young guys who are insecure, etc.. too many people aren’t motivated by performance, and don’t see themselves as athletes.

It’s always amused me that the athletes who do train for performance end up with better physiques than the people who focus on aesthetics.

I do have to disagree with your cautions to women on bulk though. There are already too many women who are afraid of touching a heavy weight to begin with. When I look at most models I see airbrushed “skinny fat” people. If a women is one of those rare ones who can put on more weight than they like lifting, it certainly isn’t something that will sneak up on then. Even the “fitness model” look takes years of training, and often chemical aid for women to achieve. A set of heavy squats won’t do that to you.

tom March 10, 2009 at 10:57 am

Rusty, are you reading my mind or something? Recently I received the opportunity to live in Graz, Austria for a year. I decided against joining a gym, and instead opted instead to go running outdoors and try something different.

It is easy in Europe, where more often than not, cities, unlike those in America, are able to blend into the surrounding countryside more. So you can find challenging hiking trails not far from your house, and these don’t require driving long distances either. Austria is mapped with tons of trails that are connected and go everywhere, its possible to hike across the country while barely encountering a major road!

I have done some of what that dude in the video does, but its mostly running through the hills (average elevation is about 600m) and my legs are absolutely destroyed afterward. the trips usually take about 6 hours and cover 40-50 k (but i am still getting in shape!). hopefully ill be able to do 100 km in a day. i can only run about 25km of the entire trip though, most of it uphill!

its too bad the cities in america dont do more for hiking, but the general lack of hiking trails in america probably has to do with the fact that in europe people were around much longer before cars!

Patrick Cox March 10, 2009 at 11:15 am

That was an excellent comparison of muscle bound vs Functionally fit. Tarzan’s diet must have consisted of plant foods, fruit, nuts, meat for that ripped lean physique. High fiber foods such as fruit and vegetables still work today just as they did hundreds of years ago. I like what you said about the mentality of gaining bulky muscle mass is caused by a competition between all these guys at the gym, I used to be into this mindset myself, but changed to the right way. When I go to my gym, I feel like I’m the only one who is not into this “get bigger” way of training. I keep saying to myself I’m not here to impress dudes, and could care less what they think. Anyways, based on what I see at the gym, I think most of these dudes are reading fitness magazines. Even though I’m now unpopular, I know that my workouts of intense cardio are a helluva lot harder than just standing around lifting every few minutes. It’s a certain amount of satisfaction, knowing that your training for the right look.
Great post, Thanks Patrick

Frank March 10, 2009 at 11:16 am


If i could get my build like tarzan’s i would find every excuse in the book to go shirtless lol. My fitness goals overall is to be able to jump into any sport and compete well with just about anyone in the gym/neighborhood, be it basketball, soccer, or even just running a fast 5k or going for a fun swim.
Although I might have to agree with Al’s comment and disagree with you on who would win in a straight up fight. Tarzan would have the ‘smart’ body and he can use all 165-170 lbs of him to outmaneuver and get Conan to wear out while trying to catch him. Tarzan is fit to survive the jungle and you can’t underestimate how tough that makes you.
Anyway from one athlete-nerd to another, this post is great haha.

Ron March 10, 2009 at 11:26 am

The bare feet thing is pretty impressive. I was actually looking into getting some Vibram Five Fingers shoes so that I could do “barefoot” running around the track or on the treadmill.

Also, I was subbing for a preschool class (substitute teaching is my day job) last week and we got to take the kids outside for a bit to play on the playground. You know what I found to be a great workout? The monkey bars! Seriously, swinging from bar-to-bar worked the hell out of my shoulders. Hell, I’d say it worked each arm entirely, not to mention my back. Much healthier than the normal bar-hopping most people do and I’d say just as fun! 🙂

Fitness-siren March 10, 2009 at 11:34 am

I was already excited for my workout tonight and that video just made me even more pumped up! Jeez, that guy is just crazy fit! I mean he runs around the outdoors bearfooted and all. It is very inspiring indeed.

I personally don’t like bodybuilding routines. I find them to be a bit boring. I like a lot of variety and compound movements – stuff that will make me sweat even though I’m not doing any cardio.

I gotta say that this whole new training phenomena has gotten me me more fit than I have ever imagined. Just this morning, I forgot something at home and I had to run back (I always leave late…lol) to the house really quick. I was parked a little far from it so I had to sprint. Man, those intervals really helped. I wasn’t even out of breath once I got back to my car. Love it!

Great post and I love the pictures. I wish you’d tell me where you get them…LOL.

Tom March 10, 2009 at 11:36 am

6 ft 175…..perfect size

Bonnie March 10, 2009 at 11:44 am

Running along the railing of the aqueducts? Mind over matter for that one definitely.

I know I could have easily done that stuff as a kid, but not so now. I’d like to though…looks like I know what I’m doing when not at the bottom of a slush pile.

OH and thanks for all the good Tarzan and Conan memories Rusty! 😉 Both cheesy, but entirely fun at the same time.

TSK March 10, 2009 at 12:04 pm

I’ll bet Erwan Le Corre never agonizes over the boredom of his ‘cardio’ workouts the way a lot of gym goers do when on the treadmill.

Michael March 10, 2009 at 12:27 pm

Cool video. Never heard of the dude but his agility is very impressive. As he was running, I was half-waiting for him to start running on all 4s a la Rob Schneider in the Animal:)

ahm March 10, 2009 at 12:33 pm

oh man, this is just what i needed to hear.
every couple of months there will be a week or so where i wonder to myself if i should put on a few pounds (of muscle) but i have just been re-assured that my current training method is the way to go, i’m 5’10 about 150-155 lbs and the truth is i could probably benefit from one or two more pounds of muscle but i figure if i try and gain strength without gaining size, the little bit of size that i seek will come to me in a natural way

Bill C. March 10, 2009 at 1:27 pm

In the past you have mentioned that you do a 2 day split routine but you also seem to advocate full body functional routines. What are you currently doing for a typical week?

The Spaniard March 10, 2009 at 2:14 pm

Let’s see. Tarzan would have never looked like in the picture…in fact, I think he would have looked more like the guys of Survivor because he would have followed the Gorilla’s diet (and they don’t eat meat or fish). Conan also would have never looked so bulked up because he didn’t lift weights. He came from the mountains of Cimmeria, which means he would have looked more like Erwan Le Corre. I say this because Conan would have been working out just like the guy on the video, but he would have had more strength due to the fact that he was raised climbing mountains and he had to learn how to use the heavy sword. To give you a better idea, he would have looked like one of the guys from the movie ‘ The 13th Warrior’. Now, I think that neither of them could match Mowgli. He was raised by wolves (so he ate meat and fish) and was taught by a panther (bagheera) and a bear (Baloo). Of course, if you really want to know who would win in a fight, I would have to say The Phantom…just because he uses two guns.

Arya -www.aryafarzin.com March 10, 2009 at 3:24 pm

Great post! The video really made me want to go running on the beach or somewhere tropical for spring break. I also think Tarzan could take down Conan. Speed is crucial in a fight and he could prob get 5 punches in before Conan new what hit him. Anyways I just wanted to say you can completely disregard my last post where I asked if it was necessary to go into training in a fasted state. I know I am a little late on this one but Sunday was my first day on the workout plan you subscribed for me. It was seriously the greatest workout I have ever had in my entire life. Just by performing the exercises and HIIT I experienced everything you said would happen on this site. Like you said going in to the workout in a fasted state made me feel more energized and doing a lower volume of weights with low reps was also an incredible workout. (felt every muscle contract) Again like you mentioned the strength training acted as more of an energy boost then a workout and charged me up for my HIIT workout which I hit with great intensity. Within the first 5 minutes I experienced the HGH flush. Knowing that I was working out in a fasted state and experiencing the flush made me feel incredible and I knew I was in a fat torching state. Also waiting an hour before eating helped as well as. I appreciated the food more and could feel my body being replenished. Again I know I am late, but your strength training plus HIIT program and everything you preach on this site has revolutionized my health and fitness. I am on my way to the GIGANDET/ Tyler Physique. I can feel it. (all this after only two workouts on our plan) So thanks a mill this site is the real deal. I have been recommending it to everyone.

P.S. like a lot of people I was also highly skeptical about dropping leg workouts. However, after only two days my legs feel energized, lighter and stronger. When I was leg lifting they always felt soar, tired, and sluggish. Thanks a gain Rusty. PEAACE

ally March 10, 2009 at 5:35 pm

I really appreciate you acknowledging that women really can build excess muscle. Trainers never believe me, but if I do weights (or even just a lot of bodyweight exercises like lunges and squats–or cardio like spinning) with my lower-body I will see “results” that just aren’t desirable, namely an inability to wear my jeans and slimmer-fitting pants and skirts. It may be muscle, but when it means I have to go up a size in my clothing it’s not what I want! Plus HIIT and my other cardio seems to keep my legs looking very toned, so why fix what isn’t broken, right?

Rod Newbound, RN March 10, 2009 at 6:53 pm

Nice job Rusty,

And I might add, Tarzan (and the new Tarzan) are just overall healthier. Fun read with a creative imagination – which just goes to show: Being fit physically also makes you fit mentally.

amanda March 10, 2009 at 7:15 pm

“Just be cautious when following typical bodybuilding routines (better yet…avoid them altogether).”

avoid them all together?? yikes! what kind of exercises do you recommend for women

Fred March 10, 2009 at 10:04 pm


Allways enjoy your articles, even though this si a minor point I have to disagree with Tarzan loosing a westling match with Conan. If you don’t believe me check out gracie vs bodybuilder on youtube, the piture is horrible but Rorion who is about 160 takes out this huge body builder who is least 260. the point is with functional fitness and some knowledge you can be fast, agile and kick butt 🙂 (all while looking good)


Yash March 10, 2009 at 10:21 pm

Hey rusty,
Another thing to consider, Tarzan has the upper hand since the compound natural movements he does build that neural connection that translates to more strength in a smaller package. Conan no doubt get his strength [and size] from brute force and isolation movements most likely [and the juice helps too] so he’s probably have a hard time figuring out how to climb a tree in the first place let alone get up there.
[sorry, had to take a stab at concan and his bodybuilding, it just seemed too easy =).]

I saw erwan and his site through another fitness blog [not the one you linked to] that makes a total of 3 blogs. this is gonna start making the rounds pretty soon! It’s really inspirational though. definitely wants to make you get out of the gym. It also kind of makes you think about how man’s intelligence can sometimes be detrimental. If you look at the different habitats in that video, you’d be hard pressed to find another animal that can be so agile and viable in all of them. and that’s not counting the ones that aren’t even in the video! Millions of years of evolution created a species that can adapt better to their surroundings than almost any other organism. Instead of taking that and running with it, we’ve over the years created a situation in which we don’t need any of the adaptations that we’ve been given. Sorry to get philosophical given that the main topic here is all things health, but if you take a collective of the modern health movement, it ties together with the idea that we have to regress to progress. Nature had it right, and we twaeked it and basically messed with a working system, so now we have to revert to the good ol’ days to get back to the sweet spot that society should be in, healthwise. it ranges from exercise, with more natural movements rather than the confines of a 2 dimensional machine, to diet, where its becoming increasingly clear that they had it right 10000 years ago when you ate what you caught, grew, or picked.

NancyJ March 11, 2009 at 1:47 am

Hi, Rusty,

Yes, that was a fantastic video…and it reminds methat we don’t just want to “look” fit but we want to be functionally fit, as well.

So along those same lines, I have to ask — do you know of David Belle and Cyril Raffaelli — the two French actors who starred in the movie Banlieue 13 (“District 13” translated in English)?

Aren’t Belle and Raffaelli AWESOME? Go out to YouTube and search for David Belle and watch any of his videos. Apparently David Belle is the originator of a discipline called Parkour, “which consists of moving quickly and efficiently in any environment” according to IMDB.com.

The video you posted here reminds me of Belle/Raffaelli but the two French guys use a more urban training ground, and do outrageous things like jumping from rooftop to rooftop in Paris at breakneck speeds!

Anyway, both Belle and Raffaeli are in awesome shape, slim (low body fat) and very muscularly well-defined without being bulky at all. Very, very sexy guys.

And from a woman’s point of view, let me say that that type of physical conditioning in a man is VERY appealing , indeed — much more appealing than huge but useless muscles!

Please go check them out on YouTube (and do a search in IMDB or Wikipedia, watch their movie District 12) if you aren’t already familiar, although I suspect you may already know them, or have written about them in one of your articles….

I am curious to learn what you and your readers think about them…

Danny March 11, 2009 at 9:03 am

Hi, Rusty,

Great post yet again!! I agree tarzan is definately the look to go for, time and time again in my home town i see guys in the gym lifting heavy all day and not even doing an ounce of cardio!! Functional fitness is the way to go.

I am currently working out for my summer vacation in june so reading this article has inspired me to get outdoors, thank you!

I have a few questions though, currently i am using around 10kg dumbells for every exercise i do, i.e bicep curls, shoulder presses, rows, shrugs etc, for reps of ten in sets of 3, is this the way to go or should i increase decrease the weight and/or reps, i am also doing a lot of body weight exercises such as pull ups, press ups, jumping squats and planks, planks were based on your recommendation too, so thank you for that one, it makes me kinda proud too as my friend brags he does 2000 situps in a day and his abs look no better than mine haha!!

Anyway sorry for the long post, keep up the good work, great stuff again rusty,

Thanks, Danny.

Son of Grok March 11, 2009 at 2:38 pm

Truth be told though, Arnold had a very athletic asthetics for his size. If you want a stark contrast compare tarzan to say ronnie coleman or jay cutler. lol

The SoG

Arya -www.aryafarzin.com March 11, 2009 at 3:38 pm

Hey Rusty,
One more thing. You had recommended that I maintain my weight at 159 pounds at 5 ft 10 1/2 and focus on strength training followed by hiit in order to attain the giandet/durden physique. I do see some outlines of a six pack but like I said before the definition is no where near that of Gigandet and Brad Pitt which I now believe may be due to some fat. I also believe I have some stubborn fat under my chest and in my back. I would like to get down to 6 percent body fat without losing any muscle. My question is if it is possible to burn fat and maintain the same weight or is the only way to get rid of this stubborn fat to lose more weight. Since I am either at or close to my ideal weight I am wondering If I can continue burning fat while staying the same weight on a maintenance calorie diet. If necessary am ok with getting down to 156 but at 5 10 1/2 I don’t think I should go below this weight. Sorry for my continued questions the workout you gave me is so awesome that I want to make sure I am doing everything right.

admin March 11, 2009 at 6:32 pm


This makes me want to “lighten up” even more. I’ve been between 185-190 for years, but I’m thinking that 180-185 might be the way to go. I can’t wait to get outside!


You have the right idea…anything that you can do in somewhat of an interval fashion, so you are slightly short of breath, will work well for you. HIIT with weights or cardio will do it, circuit training, etc. Just challenge your body and follow Eat Stop Eat (which I know you have been following). If you do decide to go low in calories, just do a bit of resistance training to maintain the muscle you have.


Well put. Athletes that are at the top of their game have outstanding physiques. Especially sports that require a mix of explosive speed mixed with endurance (Soccer, Pro Basketball, Rugby, Water Polo, Boxing, etc.)


Martial Arts Instructors or competitors have to be fast and strong. More muscle than necessary just slows people down. Tarzan might have a chance against Conan because he is fast and agile.


That will work for sure. Post workout meals are vastly overrated if you are just trying to maintain muscle. I’m actually switching to working out in the morning due to a schedule change and I won’t eat until 6:30pm on the two days I’m fasting each week (I follow Eat Stop Eat). This is the first week I have been doing this and in some ways it is easier. The workout kind of just makes me a little thirsty and I don’t think about food.


Yeah…Imagine 5-6 of those 260 pound bodybuilders trying to jump between those huge boulders. They would have a very tough time. Heck…a lot of those guys have a tough time walking normally, let alone run.


When I was little I used to spend the summer barefoot and I could sprint over gravel no problem, run in the streets, etc. Now I have to walk lightly over any bit of gravel and I feel sharp little pains in my foot that makes my body jump every few steps. I want to get back to being barefoot one of these summers!


I like the name of your blog “Relative Strength Advantage”…this is exactly what this post is about. Good call!


It is okay to be obsessed for a sort period of time, if you want to take massive action to reach your weight loss goal. It is like pulling a band aid off quickly. Here is what I would recommend: Get in shape quickly and feel free to be slightly imbalanced during this time, but once you go into “maintenance mode”, you need to enjoy life and become much more well-rounded. As long as you know you are being slightly obsessed and this is short-term, you will be fine.


I try my best to entertain, but in an informative way. Life is too short for the boring stuff. Sometimes an article does need to be bland, but the internet is full of this type of info…just trying to balance that out a bit. Good point on Tarzan vs Conan…Tarzan certainly has a shot!


Erwan wouldn’t do well with Nike…it looks like he goes “commando” as far as shoes are concerned.


I’m going to have to come up with a dictionary for the slang. I’m kind of in betwen the young and old. I would be a good slang interpreter…”You see Margaret, when he said your new Mercedes was a ‘sick ride’ he wasn’t saying the car needed a tuneup”.


They would kick butt in Tag-Team wrestling!


That is cool…I actually recommend that women strenght train as well, but just to be a bit cautious on the volume of training. Low volume resistance training, HIIT or Intervals of some sort, and a clean diet is my typical recommendation. When I talk about avoiding bodybuilding routines, I’m saying that it is a good idea to avoid the high volume, high set count that tears down the muscles and creates “the pump” etc.


Luckily Seattle has trails and parks interwoven all throughout the city (same with Portland), but I realize that most of the big cities in the US don’t. I would love to visit Austria, by the way, because it seems like a place I would enjoy. As far as your workout goes…you sound like you are in outstanding condition. Very few people would be able to cover that distance, especially uphill!


Bodybuilding type training is much easier than doing any sort of HIIT or bodyweight circuits. The funny thing is that many of those guys “act” like they are having the toughest workout ever (yelling, dropping weights, etc.). I don’t care how heavy someone is bench pressing for a set of 10, I have more respect for the person who is on their 10th sprint and push themselves to complete it even when they are gasping to catch their breath.


Being able to compete in any sport is a great goal. When you are in the heat of competition you can push your pain barrier and get an intense Interval-Type of workout without even trying. I play tennis in the spring and summer with a good friend, and I work up a serious sweat over a period of 2 hours!


I love the monkey bars. Did you ever climb the “peg board” in Junior High or High School? I was always terrible at it, because I was a tall kid with terrible strength-to-weight ratio growing up. I would love to give that a shot today!


Doing Interval work acutally translates over to longer distance endurance as well. Bottom line…if you push your limits with HIIT, everything else will seem easy in comparison. I had to pay big money for these archived photos of Tarzan and Conan. This stuff doesn’t come cheap!


Yeah, that is a pretty ideal size for a guy. It is easy to buy clothes that fit, not too tall or too short, etc.


I had similar abilities as a kid as well. It is so funny that after all of these years of lifting, I strive to have the same conditioning I had when I was 13. I love to bring the cheesiness factor to the internet.


Good point. I typically get bored whenever I do steady state cardio, but with HIIT I’m pushing so hard, it takes my full attention. That being said, I’m inspired to do more outdoor workouts along these lines.


Well he kind of did that when he was in the forrest. Probably tough on the hands.


You are exactly right. Focus on building strenght while staying conditioned. You will slowly over time put on a bit more size and build dense, nice looking muscles. No need to try to add mass…it will happen naturally just like you said.

Bill C,

This past winter, I just did the Turbulence Training Bodyweight Circuit 3 times per week and no other lifting or cardio whatsoever. I stayed at the same body fat level and kept all definition and I did this over a period of 9 weeks. This is by far the most time efficient way to stay lean that I have ever stumbled across. The reason I recommend that people visit Craig Ballantyne’s site is that I think he has developed a routine that works regardless of how busy someone’s schedule is. Since February, I went back to weights and HIIT. I aim to get to the gym 4 times per week. On the weeks that I can only make it 3 times I do one of the Bodyweight Circuits I learned from Craig…so I still get in 4 workouts per week. Hope this makes sense…kind of a brief summary of what I do.

The Spaniard,

I’m talking more about the sterotypical Tarzan and Conan. Obviously Conan would have been much lighter than Arnold’s character. He didn’t have all that food and access to a gym to add on a tremendous amount of muscle. As far as the Phantom goes…I’m not allowing guns in this fight. Another rule “Don’t talk about Tarzan-Connan Fight Club”!


I’m humbled at your nice comments. I’m glad you gave this workout approach a shot. It works extremely well and gets results. It is hard to describe to someone what a good fat burning workout “feels” like, until they have experienced it. I can tell that you know exactly what I’m talking about. Now that you know what to do and have tasted a bit of success, you will burn that fat off in no time at all. As far as leg training goes…I know I’m in the minority. I simply believe that explosive HIIT works and develops the legs in a more aesthetic and functional way (they look and perform better). I typically only recommend exercises like squats or deadlifts to people with exceptionally skinny legs…and once they put on enough size to drop them altogether. If I could go back in time, I would have stopped doing squats after my first 3 months of training . I had skinny legs, but put on noticeable size within 3 months. It would have been the perfect time to quit. Unfortunately, I kept working legs hard for 8 more years and put on WAY too much size. These big legs slowed me down and simply didn’t fit well into jeans or dress pants. To be honest, I would have been much better off avoiding squats and leg lifts altogether. I would have had the energy to perform HIIT year-round and it would have kept me lean, quick, and athletic 365 days a year.


I bet the trainer told you this as well: “You see, you want to add muscle, because muscle burns calories around the clock which will make the body burn off body fat”. Here is an excerpt from a post I did on this exact subject:

Gaining Muscle is a VERY Inefficient Way to Lose Body Fat
For each pound of lean muscle that you gain, you will burn an extra 12 calories per day. If you gained 10 pounds of lean muscle mass, you would burn an extra 120 calories throughout the day (note: I’m talking 10 pounds of ‘lean’ muscle…most people would have to gain 15 pounds to build 10 pounds of fat free muscle).

Burn Body Fat Up to 10 Times Quicker With Diet and Cardio
A tough cardio workout can easily burn 600 calories. If you reduced you daily intake of calories by 600, then the total calorie deficit would be 1,200 calories…this is 10 times the calorie burning effect that a 10 pound muscle gain had.


Tarzan looked much healthier. Lean and lighter always looks healthier to me than big and bulky.


I would recommend low volume strength training followed by HIIT, done in a fasted state. This formula works wonders for both men and women. All of that high volume, pyramid, forced rep, aim for the pump, bodybuilding stuff creates bloated unnatural looking muscles.


I found that Royce Gracie video on youtube. Very cool. There was another where he beat a 420 pound Sumo Wrestler!

Nancy J,

I haven’t written about either of these two actors, but plan to do so now. I have seen videos of both of these guys, but didn’t realize they were in a movie together. Thanks for the great idea! Obviously,my whole site revolves around not putting on excess muscle mass, being slim and fit, and looking great in clothes (James Bond style and level of fitness).


Good call. Arnold was a bit too big in my opinion, but at least he looked human. Ronnie Coleman and Jay Cutler look ridiculous beyond belief. Anyone who is outside of the bodybuilding thinks those guys look terrible. Just open up a photo shoot of either of those guys in a room full of women, you will see them cringe.


You will most likely have to lose some weight to lose that last little bit of body fat…unless you put on a bit of muscle. It is rare to put on muscle while losing fat, so don’t stress too much about how much you weigh right now. If you drop body fat, you will most likely look a little bigger than you do now. Often times a guy who is at 6% body fat looks much bigger than someone at 10% body fat, even if their weight is the same.

Wow! Popular post…Thanks for Geeking Out With Me 🙂


Michael March 11, 2009 at 7:52 pm

Of course there are counter examples to this conclusion. Look up Aleksandr Karelin. He’s bigger than Conan and it would be difficult not to admit that he is/was one of the most athletic people of modern times.

djppr March 11, 2009 at 8:11 pm

SOS rusty i need ur help……..

I am a skinny guy and right now i do some weight lifting to add mass before i stick to your style of exercising…….

I have a 6 pack but in my lower abs there is fat…..I mean it’s the only fat in my whole body and i HATE it…….

how can i burn this fat????

Hope you can help me………………

Kane March 11, 2009 at 8:57 pm

Hey Rusty!

Ive been following your advice and tips with great effect!

I love this whole Tarzan thing, my dad used to make me watch and read everything about Tarzan… I think he just had a thing for Jane!

My dad teaches wing chun, a supple (but letheal) form of kung fu. Hes 52 now and is in amazing shape and never gets ill. Im sure its because with his 4 hours a day kung fu practice hes releasing a ton of HGH which is keeping him young past his age. Hes only 5″6 and ive seen him take guys that are HUGE. This althetic Tarzan approach is definatley the way to go.

Have you heard about all these HGH injections and suppliments? Doctors are really starting to take it seriously because if all the health benefits, and so many companies are selling it as a money making scheme… why dont people just do HIIT for a short perios of time and achieve this the same way?… Its cheaper!

Also, have you seen the hundred pushup website? Looks like it could be pretty good, Im a huge fan of pushups and I know people that only do pushups and look amazing.

Keep the knowledge comming, I look foward to everyone of your posts! Take care,


kyle March 11, 2009 at 9:23 pm

Tarzan looks more like 6 1 210 pounds. looks at his legs and chest. A 160 pounder would never look like that.

Eric Komans March 11, 2009 at 10:35 pm

I just look at track records to determine winner.

Tarzan fights superintelligent gorilla men.

Conan fights demons from hell and sorcerers.

They both fight big cats and snakes, too.

I say Conan. He’s got Crom on his side. Who has Tarzan got? DISNEY? I add to this the fact that Conan is a war-trained badass (naval combat too), and Tarzan, again, fights things you find in a tree.

Conan’s not on juice, if anything, he’s got residual magic 😉

Anthony March 12, 2009 at 12:49 am

rusty you are immune from making a bad post. great job as always man. tarzan and the hollywood body is definitely the way to go. i feel sad when i hear my friends say “man i’m so big, but i gotta be bigger; its like an addiction”

kudos to you for continually challenging and changing the outlook on fitness

Yavor March 12, 2009 at 3:00 am

Having excess body weight is one of the biggest mistakes guys make, the other one being not using the principle of progressive overload in their training.

Bodybuilding guru Vince Gironda said nicely: Do you want to weigh more, or do you want a better body, more muscular, and more proportionate body. There is a big difference.

Here is a nice article of his re this subject:



Baz March 12, 2009 at 5:42 am

Man that is definelty a post you wont see anywhere else (ever). Just wondering though you said tarzan was around 5’10 which is fantastic to hear because i am just under 6 foot myself but i thought 165lbs seemed a little low. I mean he looks amazing in that picture(an I’m a guy). I am a tad below 165lbs and look nothing like that. I know he is much leaner than i am in terms of body fat but i still would’ve guessed him to look around 100kg(220lbs) at least. How do figure he’s that low? And what body fat do you estimate him to be at? If you’re right about his height and weight than rusty you just made my day. I just got the urge to go and workout.

Ps- I’ll be printing the picture off and sticking it up on my wall for inspiration for whenever i feel lazy.

craig March 12, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Hi Rusty,

I think I’m addicted to your site- really great info. Anyway…I’ll try to be brief. I’ve always been pretty slim- (I don’t mind the look) usually around 155-160 lbs at 5’11” (22 yrs old), but I’m going to be spending the summer in L.A. so I want to get pretty tone and to a really low body fat %. Currently I’m about 144 lbs – this is after a month of low carb/higher protein/healthy eating and cardio exercise 3-4 times/wk; I also do bodyweight training like pushups (and pushup variations), sit ups, dips, planks, etc. (I don’t have access to a “weight room”, but I think I can achieve results with these). I’m also starting to incorporate some HIIT into my workouts, taking 150mg of caffeine before, and am also starting to exercise on an empty stomach.

So I’ve had great results so far- lost a lot of belly fat and back down to a 30 inch waist like high school. But I have extremely stubborn fat deposits on my sides/lower back and some lower abdominal fat- keep in mind I’m at 144 lbs. My diet/workout may be starting to plateau, but I’m not sure if this is the case- I think those areas are just really stubborn- they’ve been that way ever since I can remember. I’ve just started consuming a protein shake after my workouts- (I don’t want to lose much more weight if any- I’d like a little more muscle tone but that’s about it.) I’d rather not take a week off either as I don’t want to add any more fat to those areas especially. So my plan right now is to consume about 500 more calories that I have been for a couple weeks (I was at about a 1000 calories for the first two weeks of my diet, and the last two weeks around 1200-1500) to avoid over-doing the calorie deficit I’ve been on (and perhaps also avoid any plateau I MIGHT be on) and start doing SFP 3 times/wk. Then as April rolls around, I want to start eating really clean again- perhaps around 1200-1500 calories again- and continue with SFP, making sure to switch up my type of exercise- been doing jump rope, basketball, biking and will soon be varying that with tennis and running once it warms up here in Michigan.

Whew….sorry for rambling… but how’s that sound? Any suggestions or tips particular to my situation???? Thanks a lot man, really appreciate it.


Freezinghot March 13, 2009 at 6:27 am

Hi All

My first post here on black book. I am a 37 year old from New Zealand. I ordered eat stop eat online and have followed the adice and have fasted for 2 days this week and I can honestly say that it was not as hard as I thought it would be. You just have to dicipline yourself to doing it, hopefully it will have the desired effect on my body fat. Also have started doing HIIT in my cardio, I did 35min per day this week and will look to get up to 50min in the coming months when my body adjusts to the stress.

I am looking to get as lean as possible, I am half samoan so weight come on easily for me, I just have to look at food and I gain weight but when I get lean my body looks soooo much better, but it is hard to get, I am just a little thick at present.

Will eat stop eat help me to lean out, I hate the bulky look and it looks tacky in clothes. I am currently 102kgs and my target is 85kg which is good for my height so as you can see I have a way to go but feeling more confident by the day.


Freezinghot March 13, 2009 at 7:05 am

Also am following Antonio Sabatos book no excuses, he uses supersets when weight training to get the heart rate up, a lot like it in a way but he never did cardio after as his workout which is hard enough. I do HIIT cardio after my workout as I want quicker results.


joseff March 13, 2009 at 6:33 pm

Hey Rusty, great post, totally agree with this post, what is the point in being strong, if you cant move to use it. Have you heard of parkour or free running? Thats a very good example of functional fitness http://www.urbanfreeflow.com/ hope you find it informative.

Semi-annoyed March 15, 2009 at 4:04 am

Though I see the point you are trying to illustrate by using two colorful figures both of different training types and conditioning, the way you illustrated it is extremely ignorant. I pursue bodybuilding with a fervor, but am not weighed down by so called “excessive muscles”. Several of my natural bodybuilding friends who I may sometimes train with have a mile time ranging from 7:15 to 5:45, and my personal best is currently 6:15. Many people also follow the stereotype that we can not even touch our backsides, this is also not true. The “juicing” comment, was also an insult, a lot of us, follow strict diet plans and training regiments, all without the use of roids. Not all bodybuilders resort to such measures to reach their goals. This comment was not intended as an attack on your article but merely to show both sides of the story.

Mike OD - LifeSpotlight March 16, 2009 at 3:48 pm

Yes I agree….our butter vs margarine picture is much cooler. 🙂

admin March 16, 2009 at 5:19 pm


Yeah, there are exceptions to every rule. That is certain.


That is the last fat to lose for most guys. You just have to focusing on losing fat in general and that will go. It does take a bit of time and patience to lose that last little bit of fat. Also, you will most likely have to get lighter than you think to accomplish this.


Thanks for commenting on the site. I love hearing from people who are getting good results. As far as HGH supplements go and injections. I don’t inject anything into my body. I realize that some people with advanced diabetes and other issues have no choice. People are always looking for a shortcut. The supplements really don’t work (the injections do, but that is nuts in my opinion). Like you said, people should stick with intense intervals, circuits, HIIT, etc. to get the job done. I haven’t seen the hundred pushup site, but I’m a big fan of bodyweight exercises.


Well, he may be a bit bigger, but Frank Zane who was about the same height competed at 180 (and Tarzan looks a little more sleek than Frank Zane in this picutre with smaller legs and back). Guys with really low body fat wind up a lot lighter than they look..but like you said, maybe he is slightly heavier than what I projected. It is a fun converation either way.


You make your case well. I always forget about “magic”. Magic is much more powerful then roids. I keep changing my mind between Conan and Tarzan. Is Tarzan allowed to summon his friends of the jungle, because Tarzan would have a tough time with a Lion!


It is cool if guys want to get bigger. I just started this site for the people who would rather focus on being healthy, looking outstanding in a swimsuit and being able to acheive a hip and stylish look (like the men and women in a Bond movie). When a guy or girl gets too muscular, they send off an cheesy vibe that makes it look like they are trying too hard. Instead of having a sexy or nice body, people think “gym body”.


Vince is one of the few “bodybuilding guys” I agree with. Good link.


I based his weight off of Frank Zane. A lean bodybuilder around the same height who competed at 180. To me, Tarzan has less mass on his legs and back than Frank Zane. Tarzan also had a really small looking frame and slim build, even though he looks muscular. If he was 220, he would have a thicker torso and bigger frame.


I answered it for you over on the How Much Water post. Thanks for reading and commenting. You will lose that last little bit of weight. It takes time.


Eat Stop Eat will certainly help you get lean. You sound like you are working out hard as well, so this shouldn’t be a problem. Duane Johnson (The Rock) is 1/2 Samoan and recently leaned out and lost a considerable amount of mass. He looks great now. If you are part Samoan you will probably wind up being heavier than guys with a smaller frame. You really just want to look slim for your frame size. For instance, The Rock is heavier than Brad Pitt, but they both have the slim and lean look. I hope that makes sense!


For me, parkour is definitely a “spectator sport”…those guys are nuts!


Cool to express your opinion. I didn’t mean to insinuate that all bodybuilders use roids, but Arnold certainly did when he played Conan. Also, their are some bodybuilders who can run, but many look awkward when simply walking. I would say that you and your friends are an exception to the rule…and running a mile in 6:15 is certainly a respectable time.


Thanks for rubbing it in! I did want to point out one thing…in that picture it looks like margarine has a reach advantage. For those who don’t know what the heck we are talking about click on Mike’s name…it will take you to a killer post he did on butter vs margarine and other natural foods vs fake foods.


Al March 18, 2009 at 11:54 pm

Hey Rusty,

I’ve been thinking a bit more and if you don’t mind I would like to throw another 2 cents onto this discussion.

I think the basic idea of this thread is that some people equate bigger=stronger when in fact you can be still “thin”=strong. I put “thin” in quotations because I think as a whole the fitness industry, muscle magazines, and what not try to make us believe that we have to be bigger to be stronger. Now “thin” is relative it basically means your smaller then the next biggest guy next to you.

Now for example we got Bruce Lee, probally the most butt kickingest guys to ever walk the earth. You can read his biographies and see his interviews and even see sample records of his workout. In the absolute sense of strength he was really strong, not only for his weight but in general. So in the gym where the weight is clearly marked on the side of the machine or barbell or dumbell, you can’t dispute someones strength, you can clearly see with your own 2 eyes.

But hit the streets where we have to wear clothes (sorry still can’t walk around naked showing off all your hard work:()Bruce would look absolutely normal. At worst you would call him a thin, freak, at best a average sized man. This is where bigger=bigger comes in. Since we can’t walk around showing how defined or ripped we are, the only thing you have to go on for strength is size. Now you can’t hide size, a really large guy would look like he could beat Bruce which could be further from the truth.

Now if I asked you if you could be twice as strong but only 5% bigger or twice as big but 10% stronger which one would you choose, your mass being all muscle no fat? Now most people would take the former choice but these are 2 very extreme choices. I wish I could quote or tell the source of the study (I read it in some health section of a newspaper a while ago) but it was found thru research that most males underestimate size. When shown before and after pictures of the same subject 5 pounds heavier most males would say the subject was 10-20 lbs heavier instead of 5 lbs. It’s ingrained in our heads that we need to be bigger, a 5 lbs weight gain ain’t good enough, 20 pounds would be prefered. You want to gain the weight just for the sake of gaining the weight.

I think we have to break this mindset and think we can be the same size and stronger, that you don’t need to think bigger=stronger. I’m not holding my breath though, this way of thinking doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon.


admin March 21, 2009 at 2:58 pm


Brilliant comment. I completely agree. I see the same thing. This is especially true if a ultra-fit guy wears a long sleeve shirt. Typically a short sleeve shirt will show the crazy density of the arms and forearms really well, even if the guy is slim and fit. Daniel Craig in James Bond is a prime example. Looks slim in his size 42 tux, but then puts on a fitted black Polo and looks completely bad-ass.


Al March 21, 2009 at 10:36 pm

My co-workers swoon over him Daniel Craig. Though they did have that same debate if he was buff or not. With tuxedo on he looks slim and fit, some of my co-workers thought he was too thin. When he stepped out of the sea and was wearing those tight swim trunks you could definitly see he wasn’t some slim chump, that’s when they went crazy. It took some gratuitous amount of skin to convince my co-workers he was one really fit guy…

Either that or they knew he was a ripped guy they just wanted to see him as naked as possible.

Tom Parker - Free Fitness Tips March 24, 2009 at 5:48 pm

Good way to make your point about bodybuilding routines Rusty. However, I think the reason they are quite popular is that a lot of men struggle to build muscle. Whilst excess muscle is not attractive, when you are starting off with very little muscle the typical bodybuilding routine can be quite effective. Therefore, I do understand why it is so popular. I agree that once you have gained a bit of muscle you should start to think about mixing it up but when you are just getting started I wouldn’t completely discount this type of routine.

Anthony Bondioli April 15, 2009 at 10:16 am

You make some good points. For the real Conan fans, though, it’s important (and only fair) to note that this article describes the character as most people envision him today, thanks in large part to comic book and film versions of the past couple of decades. As Robert E. Howard described him, though, Conan of Cimmeria stood 6 feet, 2 inches tall, and weighed about 210 pounds. Although nobody was ever described as being stronger than him, there were other characters who were larger. His movements were powerfully athletic and cat-like, not like those of a bloated, bumbling bodybuilder. Conan and Tarzan, as originally described, are really quite similar, physically.

James Eisler May 5, 2009 at 8:07 pm

Agree with Anthony. If one were to ready any of Howard’s books, you’d come away feeling that Conan looked more like Tarzan than not. Many stories involved Conan climbing sheer walls, etc., during his days as a thief. Also, in other stories, he was on extended hunting parties or traveling by foot, which would make it pretty hard to maintain the bloated muscle we saw on Schwarzenegger.

Conan’s transformation started with Frank Frazetta, who turned him into a massive barbarian on the covers of the old Lancer books.

Fast forward a few years and artist Barry Smith first drew Conan as a muscular, but not massive sword & sworcery hero for Marvel Comics in the late 60s. It was when one of their great artists, John Buscema, took over that Conan was transformed Conan into a more massive character. While Neal Adams–who drew Tarzan and Batman for DC comics for years–tried to revamp Conan back into the character Howard had in mind, the miindset of Conan as a barbarian with 21″ biceps had fans demanding the return of Buscema. And then, of course, the movie…

Adams Conan: http://www.cronicasdacim…/Adams.gif

Adams Tarzan:


donixa May 26, 2009 at 9:48 am

they guy in the video is amazing…..

i just can not help my self why finally i’m able to understand the difference between gym-body and athletic-body only at the current age of 30.

sean May 20, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Wrong Tarzan is supposed to be like 6’2″ and like 210 lbs plus he is as fast/quick/agile as a cat he’d have to be to do what he does in all the books. read em!!!

Lane Batot October 5, 2010 at 11:54 am

Although this is way too late to still be commenting on this post, looking up some Tarzan sites led me to this one, for which I am most grateful–SUPER website!!!! So my geek-self felt compelled to respond, if only for education’s sake……Yeah, you really need to read the Tarzan books(if you haven’t yet–cheaply and easily ordered on Amazon)–don’t consider the character anything much like how he has been portrayed in nearly a century now of films(they have YET to get the character right!). He was specifically described by the author as being 6′ 2″, and other fan/afficiondos have estimated his weight anywhere from 230 to 240 lbs. most of the actors portrating the character have been over 6′ and over 200lbs.(with a few, mostly most recent exceptions…) The lion in the illustration you provided(one of Joe Jusko’s paintings) is WAY oversized–actual lions(even the biggest!) DO NOT stand head high to a tall man’s shoulders! Tarzan would have to be only about 4′ tall if this painting was accurate! Raised by apes and growing up constantly climbing and swinging through the trees developed superhuman strength, which allowed the character to successfully survive battles with lions, tigers(in Sumatra during his World War 2 adventure), apes of all kinds, crocodiles, even dinosaurs in one novel! His encounters with single humans were quick and perfunctionary in comparison–there is a great scene where he IS pitted against a huge Conan-like character in an arena of a lost, Roman-like civilization, in “Tarzan And The City Of Gold”, and has the spectators betting heavily on the much larger, more powefully-LOOKING muscled gladiator–Tarzan vanquishes him with embarrassing ease(as he does many such characters in the many books), and even throws him out of the arena! The author, Edgar Rice Burroughs, emphasises the QUALITY(and strength) rather than the Quantity of muscle, again and again throughout his books–makes you wonder if he had seen such examples which inspired his notions on the subject…….Anyway, great fun, and I am certainly going to enjoy reading this website–I gotta lot of catching up to do!!!!!

Aditya August 20, 2011 at 3:29 pm


you say in other topics that lifting heavy makes denser muscles but here you say heavy lifting makes your muscles larger??

please explain

Tim November 28, 2011 at 11:03 am

The plastic toy you used to show conan is not even close to the conan described in the novels.

In the novels Conan is described as having the quickness of a panther with agility and grace to match. Conan wins in battle not but battering through the defenses of others but by striking around them while avoiding their blows.

The Conan of the 2011 movie is much more physically accurate than the Arnie Conan of the 1980s.

Take Conan as written in the origional short stories and you have someone much closer in build to Tarzan and with much greater endurance. He is also someone with years of jungle experience in addition to woodlore good enough to sneak through the jungles of the Pics.

Scott February 22, 2012 at 8:38 pm

You have several things wrong with both characters. First, let’s start with Tarzan.

You claim Tarzan is 5’10 and 165-175 pounds. NOT TRUE!!!! Burrough describes Tarzan as OVER 6’0 TALL when he kills Kerchak…and he’s only 17.

When Jane and company get stranded in Africa (consisting of Jane, her father Professor Archimedes, an assistant, and Clayton, the young Lord Greystoke) Burrough’s favorite word to describe Tarzan from their perspective is “giant”. This is 1905-1906 (in the novel)….165 pounds? A giant? WAY OFF!

Now Conan. Have you read Conan? First, Conan was a Cimmerian. He didn’t grow up in a city (he did go to cities) or a village. He was raised not only by the jungles, but by the deserts, mountains, and every other environment you can think of. He traversed hundreds of miles at a time by foot…sometimes running for miles and miles and miles without stop. Low stamina? Yeah right.

Also, you discredit his speed and agility. I remember Conan being described as a towering (like 6’6) and bristling with muscle (compared to a normal man) but I imagine he was much leaner than a body builder. Also, despite being so big, he was often said to be FASTER and more DEXTEROUS than master thieves half his size.

Andrew Russian December 29, 2012 at 9:14 am

Tarazn is the precursor of Conan, we know that Robert Howard enjoyed reading works RiSE Burroughs. Anyone who has read something, and notice how much more similar to each other, Tarzan and Conan. Tall, light eyes, dark hair, tanned skin, kolosalnye strength, agility and endurance. They are equal.

how do youtube views work January 29, 2013 at 10:58 pm

Great post. I am dealing with many of these
issues as well..

Blackendedsoul June 13, 2013 at 8:12 pm

I am not well versed about Conan but can say otherwise about Tarzan. You have to get your facts straight. If this is the Tarzan from the novels by E.R. Burroughs that is – I have little respect for the Disney movies of Tarzan as in my humble opinion, they were pathetic. The character which they portray there as Tarzan is so very dissimilar to the original one that I can hardly even wonder how they got the permission of using the name. Perhaps, the fact that it was made after the authors demise allowed it.

Anyways, Tarzan in the novel series has been described as a very large man, his exact measurements has never never been stated but he has been frequently called “White Giant” or similar.

In one novel called Tarzan and the Golden Lion, a look alike of Tarzan appeared who went by the name of Esteban Miranda and he was stated to stand at a full three inches over six feet tall. Therefore we can safely agree that Tarzan is no where near 5’10” or even close, rather he has a much larger frame.

Now about the weight, just as I said earlier that Tarzan had no exact dimensions given, however he had been described as more like Apollo than like Hercules. He has muscles that are large but flowing; not gnarled. His sinews are said to move under his skin with fluidity rather than bulging out. From his overall description it could be concluded that he was muscular but more like a athlete than a body builder.

As for abilities, Tarzan’s unusual upbringing gave him tremendous physical strength. So much to the point where he can effectively fight and subdue wild gorillas with his bare hands – albeit perhaps putting his superior mind to derive his strength but barehanded nonetheless.

He had on several occasions fought and killed lions, wild buffaloes, crocodiles, sharks, bears, tigers, great apes (some gorilla like creatures), leopards and in some rare encounter even dinosaurs (including a pterodactyl) with only a knife. Sometimes he has beaten leopards with just a stick or even barehanded. In the very first book, just after attaining maturity and before his absolute prime he killed a great ape leader by just brawling and slamming. In later books after learning some martial arts from civilized men, he could make short work of apes even faster and with less effort, presumably since apes are similar to humans in anatomy and thus more susceptible to martial arts attacks than other animals.

Further indications of his strength could be seen when he is described to carry a chest that required four strong man to just lift, effortlessly, while moving over the trees. He also had carried full grown men, or hunted animals like deer or boars over the trees for longer amount of times and while doing so maintained the same speed that he was used to moving at. At one occasion he managed to lift up hurl a full grown lion.

Tarzan’s acrobatic skills are above that of great apes and sometimes even monkeys. He shares the same level of jumping potential and with his smarter mind he can improvise – like his use of vines to swing. He could easily jump from one tree to another with even someone on his back and keep it going for hours. In the ground he can out run lions in short races meaning his top sprint speed is more than 40 miles per hour. He can traverse far longer distances than ordinary humans can over the same period of time.

Tarzan is immensely durable, in several cases he survived fights with and injuries from wild beasts as well as humans. Which includes a gun shot wound to the head or a bite to the feet by a crocodile, being hit at the back of the head by clubs and similar weapons. He also in some scenarios suffered falls from great heights but managed to overcome the impacts rather easily.

His speed and reflex are far beyond that of normal humans. He is faster than the predatory beasts at reacting to attacks which he utilizes while fighting lions or leopards. He is also extremely proficient at stealth, as he can sneak up on the ever wary beasts like deer and boars to hunt them by hand.

He has very keen senses and can hear and see much further than ordinary humans and in cases even more so than apes. His sense of smell could be compared to that of a dog and he can use it to spot or track people/beasts.

Tarzan’s other skills include high level of marksmanship with both bows and arrows or riffle. He is also skillful with a knife and spear at both throwing and handling. He can watch better in the dark as he grew up in the jungle and had to survive the pitch black jungle nights. He is an excellent swimmer and can hold his breath long enough to even fight crocodiles under water. He is also proficient with ropes and can throw a lasso to capture a prey.

I am not going to elaborate on Tarzan’s other skills like languages, etc as they won’t be a key in the fight. I am also disregarding communication with animals as this is probably an one on one match.

Finally I would like to add that Tarzan had fought against men larger than himself in various occasions and beaten then effortlessly. He even, in one story, defeated a world Champion Boxer with ease. He has military training as he was in the British Air Force during WW2. Also he is well versed in some martial arts.

Now I do not know how thus resume of Tarzan’s fit against Conan but I think it is different from what you initially gave him credit for. Oh and one more thing. Tarzan deep down is more similar to an animal than a civilized man, in other words he is completely savage and therefore will not hold anything back in a fight. In one fight he was described to try and bite off the opponent’s jugular vein. So there it is, the real Tarzan not the movie version.

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