'Paradox' Behind The Premier League's 'Strongest Player Ever,' Explained By Experts

Some have called him the EPL's 'strongest player ever.' Yet he claims to achieve this title without lifting weights. So what's Adama Traoré's secret?

Think Premier League players – or any football/soccer player for that matter – and you’ll no doubt picture the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Mo Salah and (maybe) Harry Kane. What these players all have in common – despite great skill on the ball – is a lean build that grants them agility along with a healthy dose of strength to provide stamina and speed.

What you probably wouldn’t imagine, is someone with the build of Adama Traoré. The Spanish youngster (seriously, he’s just 24 years old) currently plays on the wing for recently promoted Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers, as well as Spain’s national team.

Traoré has always shown footballing talent from a young age, being drafted into Barcelona’s youth squad at the tender age of eight and in recent years has been described as having “rapid acceleration” along with high levels of strength.

 

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Take one look at the man, and it’s easy to see where those comments relating to strength come from. He’s an absolute unit, with a build more closely associated with rugby, and one you don’t often see these days in the world’s most competitive football league.

But how he goes about gaining such size is even more mind-boggling. Adama has been quoted as saying he doesn’t do any form of weight training, claiming he’s just genetically blessed to gain muscle mass with ease.

A mind-blowing paradox if there ever was one (something Instagram users have picked up on time and time again).

Sports pundits have been claimed to back up these claims, saying “he doesn’t do any gym on his arms or upper body.” Even Luis Enrique, the Spanish football team’s manager says “he doesn’t do weights.”

 

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So how does he – and to a greater extent, you – achieve the figure he has if he doesn’t lift a single dumbbell or barbell? DMARGE reached out to Ben Lucas, Director of Flow Athletic to find out if Adama’s claims can, in fact, be true.

Ben tells us, “it is absolutely possible to build a shape like this by just using bodyweight exercises and calisthenics (bodyweight exercises with the aid of bars, rings and jump ropes)  as both of these training styles require you to recruit a lot of muscles in order to stabilise.”

However, as for Adama’s claims that he doesn’t do any other form of training on his upper body, Ben is inclined to disagree, “It’s unlikely that he is doing nothing/not working his upper body at all to achieve this figure unless he is using something else. But even then, if is he doing nothing he would be a dime in a dozen.”

 

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And as for those claims of being genetically gifted? “Genetics certainly would play a role, but it is very likely that a good diet and consistent training would also be taking place.”

The International Sports Science Association says that yes, genes do play a role in determining how well you can build muscle, although as for exactly how they make a difference isn’t fully understood just yet. The ISSA adds that testosterone levels play a role too, as decreased levels correlate with a loss of muscle, or at least, make it harder to build new muscle tissue.

As for how you can tell if you’re genetically blessed remains unclear, the only way to truly find out is to get yourself into a gym – or find yourself some space at home – workout, eat well and track your results.

We wouldn’t suggest trying to compare yourself to Adama just yet, but it’s always good to set goals.

Oh and with regards to the title of ‘strongest player ever’ – though we’d argue Traoré is a serious contender (perhaps even the winner), there have been numerous other hugely ripped players not just in the EPL, but football’s other major leagues too (think: Toure, Samba, Ibrahimovic, Lukaku, Drogba, Chiellini; Benteke).

It’s also not the first time Wolves have picked a startlingly strong fullback, with
George Elokobi making his presence more than felt on attackers as a regular first time player between 2009 and 2011.

Wolves have lost their last two games in the premier league, so Traoré will be hoping to use his strength to help them get a win against Crystal Palace this coming Saturday.

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