If you’ve ever stepped foot in a commercial gym in your life I guarantee you’ll have seen this situation at least once.
That one person who sets away with a one man stupidity show in the middle of the building. The sole intention of which is to show the whole world how much they can lift by any means necessary. Normally accompanied by injury inducing form and grotesque noises.
I’m going to stop myself now and clarify that I’m not taking about beginners or people who haven’t been taught correct form. I’m referring to those who already know how it should be done but instead decide to mong out a set of lateral raises with 15kg Dumbbells and end up looking like a fucking chicken because there arms are bent so much.
Joking aside most people who lift weights want to lift heavy weights. Everyone loves the idea of being freaky strong but there’s a time and a place. By using weights that are simply too heavy your just going to stop yourself progressing.
I’ll start with the big compound lifts. For most people these are going to include the squat, the deadlift and the bench press. Earlier I talked about a time and a place for lifting heavy. Well your compound lifts are definitely the time to go heavy. These are what your session should be structured around and you should be training them hard.
The problem is people go too heavy too often. You’ll either see people trying to get a 1 rep max every session or constantly failing sets bellow the target rep range because again they’ve gone to heavy. (Yes this happens to even the best trainer occasionally but not every session) Unless your going for a pb you should not be regularly failing reps. If you are it’s a massive clue your doing something wrong. If your programme says your doing 5 reps you should be lifting a weight you can do all 5 reps with whist maintain good form not failing again and again.
On the topic of form. This is the one that really pisses me off. Now you’ve established that the weight your using is too heavy. You decide that the best action to take here is not to reduce the weight but it is in fact to change the exercise. Popular variations include high squats. I see it all the time. Week 1 with the right weight the squat is nice and deep. Week 2 higher weight higher squat. This pattern continues until there pretty much un-racking and re-racking the weight with no noticeable squat in the minute. Another is the bench press initially everything is fine then slowly the bum creeps of the bench to point where it’s impossible to tell whether your benching or doing a glute bridge. The will bar will start to stop further and further away from the chest and your ‘spotter’ is getting a better bi-cep workout than you are chest.
I could go on all day but you get the point. I mean seriously do these people not realise how pointless this is. Firstly your not getting any stronger or building any muscle and secondly you look like an absolute idiot. If you’ve decided to go to the gym it’s because you have an end goal. Either you want to get bigger or stronger or both. I’m positive nobody ever walked into a gym with the intention of trying to injure themselves yet this is exactly what happens because you simply can’t leave your ego at the door. Stop worrying about numbers, focus on yourself and your own programme and you’ll make the progress you want, as long as your patient.
Another point I want to make is accessory work. I.e. The fluffy stuff you do after your big compounds. It’s called accessory work for a reason!
Remember that next time your going for a 1 rep max preacher curl. Hopefully you all realise I’m not being serious. The primary focus of accessory work is build muscle and improve weaknesses in the main lifts. This defiantly isn’t the time or the place to go heavy.
The majority of your accessory work should be performed with sub maximum weight and near perfect form. Seriously, someone please give me a reason for doing tricep extensions with a weight that is so heavy you don’t even end up using your triceps to lift the weight.
I get it when it comes to the compound lifts. At least when someone asks how much you bench you can give them an answer your ego is happy with. (Even if it wasn’t an actual bench press). Nobody has ever asked anyone how much they curl; or at least I hope they haven’t.
So, what exactly are you trying to prove by using weights that are simply too heavy for you? The only person that stands to suffer is yourself when you don’t make any progress for all those wasted hours in the gym.
I think we can all agree that everything I’ve said above makes sense. Even the most die hard brah will agree that I’m right in what I’m saying. So, with that in mind why is it always met with so much animosity when you advise someone to drop their weight? (Please don’t do this if your a normal member training in a commercial gym) And why do people lie about the weight they lift. We’ve all spoke to that guy who benches 200kg squats 300kg and deadlifts as many plates as the gym has to offer. Of course he tells you all this whilst struggling to bench 60kg.
We all have egos and that’s ok. But if you seriously want to make progress in the gym then you need to learn to leave your ego at the door otherwise the only thing your going to walk away with is an injury. If you can still walk at all.