T Nation

Deadlifting in a Not So DL Friendly Gym


I started lifting at a new gym that said that I could lift there and I could do deadlifts and make all the noise that I wanted as long as I didn't drop the weights.

Well this morning I managed to get 335 for 4x3 (I know its not that much but thats a different story for another day) and the head trainer at this gym comes up to me and accuses me of dropping the weights even though I didn't.

He then goes on to waste 15-20 minutes of my training time to give me the following bs comments:

"First of all you shouldn't lift with such a wide stance. Thats just asking for a hernia"

I was using an extra wide sumo deadlift.

"Secondly you don't need to start out on the floor I did powerlifting for 15 years and I never lifted from the floor. I just did this (he unracked the bar and did a romanian deadlift)"

Now don't get me wrong the romanian deadlift is great lift for accesorie work, but safer than a sumo or even conventional deadlift, I don't think so!

"Ya, I worked my way up to a 485/585 (I cant remember which one he said it was) deadlift for 2reps, had to stop lifting because I was tired of getting injured. So I became a runner."

Gee, could it have been all those years of putting your lower back through more than it was designed to handle by using it more than your legs and having the weight a good 2-3ft from you so you don't have as much leverage (which would result in a large amount of pressure in the lower part of your spine)? Now being a trainer, you would think that he would opt for a different technique, but whatever.

I asked him if he had ever competed, and he said that he hadn't. Don't get me wrong, Im open to advise, even from a guy has about as much experience at competing as I do (none) if it makes sense. Unlike this guy however, I do my research and am willing to try different things if something isn't working, its painful, or somebody with more experience gives me advise.

So on to the question, I can't afford a home gym with everything I need so how do I compensate for this douche bag?


don't drop the weight


do a controlled drop

the gym I regular is above a restaurant in a plaza, so they ask the members to use these really thick pads

I don't when I deadlift, but I also don't dead drop the weight



It takes a bit more effort to set the weight down under control, but it's doable.


dont be a runner either


i thought all alaskans were cool, oh well.
that guy sounds like a dick. you could get ur own mats


Plese tell me this was at the Alaska club chain and not at Golds or Powerhouse. : P

Also where in Alaska are you? I don't live there now but I was born and raised in Anchorage. Worked the gyms there to.

Might be able to give you a gym alternative if your in one of the cities. (Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau)

If not, you may have to start saving for the Elite FTS package.

And actually on that note start pulling up articles, the best thing for a gym know-it-all is proof. Outside of his own experience - with probably half-ass form - he has none.

search T-Nation and ELite FTS. That way when he walks up again you can hand him some reading material. And tell him when he finishes it, he can talk to you again about what's right or not.


I think the whole notion of 'not dropping the weight' 1) is easier said than done, and 2) changes the type of movement.

First of all, lowering a heavy weight slowly in the deadlift is often close to impossible, especially if its been a very hard set. If you just barely got the weight up, why would you be able to lower if under control. While the eccentric part of a movement is stronger in general - in the deadlift it is often the isometric muscles that will tire (i.e. the back). I feel lowering the weight slowly at the end of a set is often too close to impossible to be worth the effort and potential injury.

Second, by only doing the concentric part of the deadlift you can effectively train almost soley for strength because the eccentric part of the movement that makes you both sore and also causes the most muscle damage is taken out of it. By adding an eccentric motion it changes the effect the deadlift set will have on the bodies response.

Anyway, imo you need to figure out a place or way you can lift the way you want, not how other people think you should train around their arbitrary rules.


I'm not going to disagree with you getfast. I was imagining the OP doing the lift then just dropping the weight.


Romanian deadlift has lower stress on lower back from what I remember in comparison to conventional deadlifts.

Did you perhaps mean a straight legged deadlift?


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


Next time your in there offer the trainer a bag of concrete and tell him to harden the f**k up!


if you got the money, a mono lift a bench and a bar and 700 poundfs of free weights would be a great way to go, but most people dont have the cash, so dont drop te bar


I went back there this afternoon and set a squat rack in such a way that I can deadlift in it the same way that I was originally doing and the squat would absorb most of the impact. Best of all, I can still get the same range of motion.

to answer your questions:

getfast24: I was thinking the same thing but didn't quit know how to explain it which is kinda why I didn't mention it.

TNUT: That made me laugh my ass off!

thedude: I mentioned in the original post that I didn't drop the weights, just didn't treat them like glass is all. But thanks for your input.

pushharder/brawny96: I wish I had the money but I don't. Hopefully I get a job soon though and then I will definitely get my own home gym. Would it be cheaper to possibly make one?

Thanks for your comments, it really did help me out!

Oh and Barachiel, its Denali Fitness in Wasilla.


Oh one other thing I forgot to mention, this gym is located directly above a Pre-School and the owners office. Guess where the deadlifts are done!



Just buy a cheap olympic bar 300lb set and a few extra 45lb plates at a sporting goods store(Such as Dick's sporting goods or even a cheap ass wal-mart set). The 300lb set will run you around $120.

No it won't be able to hold 1500+ lbs like a fancy powerlifting certified bar that costs quadruple the price but it will do the job and pack meat on your frame.

Even with just this barbell at your home and no other equipment you could build up a decent deadlift and clean & press. Being able to train whenever you feel like it will help you sneak in more workouts.

Keep the gym membership if you want to work on exercises you cannot perform at home.

Goodluck and godspeed.



This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


I agree on the wide stance.

I feel its more for people who are leg dominate, and for geared lifters.

I feel the sumo relies alot on a weight belt and on the hips and more lower body. As opposed to a conventional.

I feel it more in my legs and posterior than in my back.

I deadlift conventional and almost straight legged - any attempt to squat farther into the bar has just resulted in lighter poundage for me and a sensation of being off balance.


One thing some guys do is buy one set of 45lbs bumper plates and just make sure you put those ones on first. Almost always they are slightly larger in diameter then regular plates (just like 1-2mm). Better if you can test them out to make sure of this though.

I drop all my deads in training pretty much soon as I lock it out. Luckily i have all bumper plates + a platform. ive dropped 600+ and everyone at the gym hates me on deadlift day because of the noise.


You're dropping the bar into a rack instead of the floor now is it?