T Nation

A**hole at Gym has a Problem with PL


Ok so I'm pretty damn pissed off right now. I just got back from gym, it was my squat day. So basicaly I was training singles in order to increase my max strength (Powerlifting, duh). My current 1 rep max squat is 170 kg (375 lb). So after succesfully completing this lift, I am feeling pretty good so I decide to try lifting 180 kg (397 lb).

So I get ready to lift and I see in the mirror this very big (admittedly) old (maybe 50) bodybuilder watchiing me. I've spoken to him before and he is a nice guy but a very pure bodybuilder, always recommending very slow lifts with lighter loads and never go below 6 reps kind of old fashioned thinking.

Cool, so what. I attempt the lift. I say attempt because yes, I failed. At the bottom of the squat I try but just can't get it up so I sink very low and put the bar down on the side bars of the rack. Sigh, dissapointedly and stand up to start unloading the bar.

Then out of nowhere I hear this loud voice saying my name (literaly loud enough for the whole gym to hear). So I turn around and its the big guy. He starts telling me very loudly that I am going too heavy and I am going to fuck up my back. So I ask "Was there anything wrong with my form?". So he replies, "No, but you are going too heavy. Rather take off all those plates so it's just 60 kg (132 lb)and go very slowly. do that for 4 sets of 10 reps".

This starts making me quite angry because litteraly the whole gym is watching (I go to quite a comercial pussy gym full of people who want to get "toned"). All everybody else sees is a youngster (I'm 19) being told off by someone who clearly knows what he is talking about. So I say "Im not training bodybuilding I am trying to powerlift to get stronger".

He then becomes very agitated and starts ranting about how he fucked up his back when he was my age and how every time I squat heavy my discs are leaking fluid and how strength will come with muscle mass. I counter, "so you're saying that every powerlifter in the world has a fucked up back." (I must admit I thought I had him here). But, amazingly he replies, "yes. There have been no long term studies on the effects of this on people and look at how young powerlifters retire."

I was amazed at this point and I see people all around me nodding their head in agreement and looking dissaprovingly at me. I end the arguement with "I don't agree" and then leave. Have any of you encountered this kind of thing before? Is there any merit whatsovever in this guys arguement? Is it even possible to get strong doing only 10 rep sets???

Maybe I'm just ranting to de-stress but I would like to hear your guys thoughts on this. I don't know if its relavent but here is my info:

19 years old
74 kg (163 lb)at 5'8
lifting for 2 years

Lifts - all 1 rep max
Squat: 170 kg (375 lb)
Dead: 195 kg (430 lb)
Bench: 130 kg (287 lb) (yea it sucks, I know, I'm working on it... tend to do much better with dumbells, 50 kg in each hand for 4 reps)

Shot guys




when he's not looking swipe his fanny pack, weight lifting gloves and valeo belt. that'll teach him.


you could also put "out of order" signs on all the hammmerrzzzz strength machines. once he saw there weren't any machines to use he would leave.


Find a new gym. Period. It doesnt matter if you have to pay more or drive further. Make it work. If your all alone in there, nothing good is going to come out of it...

Better yet, put a rack, a bar, and 1000lbs in weight in your house.


haha thanks man, its scary how accurate this is with some of his characteristics... I have only just realised after reading about it here...


LOL :slight_smile: Like I said he is pretty big so respect for that... but he is so frikken weak... and he admits he takes a lot of HGH so maybe thats how he does it... I can't stand the idea of being big and weak. Even CT from this site agrees that he wants to "perform like an athlete". But thanks for the lulz... made me feel better.


Trust me I wish I could!! But my parents won't let me go to a pure powerlifting gym because they think its dangerous and the coach fees are very high (the only one I know of in my area is run by a coach who trains everyone himself). Il have to wait until I move out for that.

On another note, there are some huge bodybuilders there but most of them don't like 1 rep lifts either. Rack, bar and weights... no space at home nor enough money to buy them. Plus getting my parents to agree...

It is ok that I failed the lift right?? Should I have rather gone for 2 reps of 170 kg first before trying a heavier weight?


It's perfectly fine to test your one rep max every once in a while. Now if you were coming in there week in and week out attempting one rep maxes to failure then he has a point. But i don't think thats the case.

Just because someone is big and has a good physique does not make them an authority on anything. The best thing to do with people like this is to engage them in conversation and demand answers. Usually they out themselves as ignorant within about 5-10 minutes of conversation. Next time you see him ask him why he never tests his one rep max. Demand that he tell you why. If he does say he tests it than ask him why the hell he was telling you not to.

DO NOT let people like him off the hook. He sounds like a dick


It's okay to fail. It's just easier to do it with a competent spotter :slight_smile: I've left the weight on the pins on more than on occasion. Sometimes it isn't because it's too heavy; my head is up my ass, I went soft in the hole, whatever. I might have suggested a smaller weight jump for a PR though. Live and learn.

I wouldn't suggest the man was trying to sabotage you. He's older and has his version of success and probably thinks he's helping you. Adopt the glazed smile and nod look and go about your business.


Wear headphones. If the old guy still bothers you, speak to management.


It's really simple. Prove him wrong.


remind him that he is old and will die long before you.


kick him in his loose skin and old balls.....gross.


Hey, you are kind of old. I think you just called yourself gross.


I think he sounds more ignorant about PL than he is insecure or out to get you.

Oh, and PL has one of the lowest injury ratings of any sport.


I get this attitude a lot - not from guys at my gym, but from my dad! "Squats will ruin your knees" is a typical one. "You'll fuck up your back" is another. "Why do you need to squat that much?". People like this will never understand the sort of heart it takes to go through getting pinned by a big squat, then getting up and going again, simply because you want to.

I can't count the injuries I've had from rugby (which he also played!!) on two hands. Shattered fingers, ear sliced open, torn LCL, sprained AC, etc., etc. In comparison, I've never been injured in the gym, ever.

This argument I have with a 50 year old man who can barely get out of his chair from various rugby-related injuries.

This guy has fucked up his back while squatting? Don't pay any attention to him. You did the right thing and didn't second guess yourself. You really care what a gym full of mortals think when you squat? Just keep doing what you're doing and don't listen to hypocrites like that. You pay your gym membership the same as them, go do your thing.


I like some of these replies...

I've gotten the "hey did you see that guy on you tewb who shit his guts out squatting" I say no.."Well I don't want you to shit your guts out, maybe lower the weight".. I say no.

Fuck sticks in the gym will give advice on every god damed thing. I was running on a treadmill one time and one of these Kenyan looking mother fuckers tells me I'm doing it wrong.

Just tell the old salt that you are doing heavy squats in hopes that you fuck your back up and you'll sue the gym and be on disability and all that. or just simply say "Yep your right..." and walk away. NEVER argue with an idiot..they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.- I saw this on a refrigerator magnet once but it's true.

Rule #1 for doing real training in a pussy gym...Wear headphones- blaring the hardest metal you can get and stare at the floor. Talk to yourself, refering to yourself in the 3rd person. People will generally leave you alone.


i think its good that you told him you didnt agree with his views, im not saying be all alpha and stuff, just keep standing up for your passion


There are a few options for you.

One is to wear big head gear connected to an mp3-player, then just ignore when spoken to. There is no rule in any gym that demands you engage in conversations with others. This might seem arrogant, and so be it, you want to get strong, not to socialize, so if 80% of the people at the gym think you are an arrogant prick, so what. Smalltak can be done before and after training.

Mixing non powerlifters and bodylifters is always a no-no. Bodylifters train differently and have different goals than the powerlifters. Most people will respect that other people have other goals, but some will not, and you always have the stereotype old boydbuilder who thinks he knows everything there is to know in this world about lifting.

Nothing wrong with trying a heavy single and miss once in a while. Sometimes you need to challenge yourself and see if you can make a lift were the outcome is not certain before you do it. Imo, that' often the most fun part of powerlifting. But there are also other styles, you will also find powerlifters who barely ever miss a lift.

The older you become, the less you will care about other people and what they say. The good thing about becoming big is that you can just stare many noisy people down, and they will shut tight. Or become so strong that they will not give you any advice because they cleary see you know your stuff.

Personally I prefer to avoid any conversation, and just start my next set, even if somebody is talking to me. Or just a quick "Gotta do the next set" and start doing the next set, then they usually walk off. If some people get offended with this, it is their problem, and not yours.

You are strong for your age. This is a lifestyle, not a bragging game, so if you lift 130kg or 200kg in the bench press would matter not, what matters is your attitude.

You will experience a lot of bullshit talk in commercial gyms. Another option is to get your own setup, garage or joing a PL club. Nobody there will bother you when you go heavy.

Personally still squatting heavy (and heavy singles too) after 10 years of squatting, and I know people who have been at it even longer than that.

To me it seems like this old bodybuilder at your gym just tries to show off. He has no fucking business talking to you like that. You could attempt to file a written complaint with the gym if you feel like. Fact is, if you don't want his advice, he has no right or obligation to give it to you, and when he cries the advice out for all the gym to hear, that just shows what kind of an ass he is. To some people the world is not how it really is, but how they are. So he looks at the world from his own viewpoint, and find it to be the only truth. For that very reason he does not seem very smart. An intelligent man will be able to see the world also through the eyes of others (ie. see the case from their viewpoint).

Keep doing your thing. Powerlifting is something great, stick to it.