T Nation

Dealing with 'Concerned' Workout Partners


So, this is my first post. Hi guys. (: Been lurking for a while, too scared to say anything, but I need some help.

My current workout partners, my two best friends, are giving me some trouble because I'm doing the same program as them, even though I'm a girl. Mostly, I think I just need to vent about how today went and see what you guys think I should do.

We're doing a program called "Starting strength" which is basically 3 sets of 5, squat, dead and bench. My problems in the gym today started when my partners Iz and P straight up told me I shouldn't bench more than 85 (I had a rotator cuff injury eight months ago, from doing wrestling on my high school team, that basically sent me into a slump where I didn't work out at all during the time from december until now) .. Even though it wasn't that much of a problem for me, and I used to bench 105 no sweat.

Then I'm told, "not meaning to be sexist, but this really isn't for girls anyway" .. And I'm basically yelled at for benching, because my honey (an avid TNation lurker for years now) wasn't that thrilled at the idea of me trying it, due to my previous shoulder injury. And because he's gone at training now, so he's not here to help me pace myself, they've made themselves "in charge of the situation"..

So after that whole thing, we go to do squats and there's only 85 on the bar that Iz does, and then he's like "Is this too much for you?" even though we BOTH did 105 the week before.. So I end up not even squatting, getting so offended I go do some machines the coach in the gym (this is a college gym) told me would help get my shoulder back up to shape.. But, only if they promise I get to do deadlifts with them. (those're my favorite) So my other friend, P comes over and starts berating me for using any machines because they isolate the muscles too much and will hurt me..

.. And by this point I'm pretty pissed, and when it's my turn to do the deads half the dumb gym stares at me because Gasp there's a 45 on each side, and I'm a girl, how is that possible for someone FEMALE and 5'2''? (I'm the only girl not in the seperate cardio room, except for an aide at the desk bullsh*ting with the coach btw)

So, I just ignore them and we go up in weight.. And neither myself or my friend Iz could do 165 with good form, so I stopped after 2, and we called it a day.. When P wasn't even working out in the first place today, not even dressed to work out, but he can still yell at me for benching.

And I feel bad I got so frustrated, because they really do just care, .. And maybe I'm just being overly sensitive about this, but what's your guys' opinion on the matter? Is there any way I can convince them that a squat, or a bench press won't cripple me? I know girls aren't the same as guys, and we have different anatomies that make different lifts easier or harder and stuff.. But we're not a whole different species, and even with our differences I don't think one gender is 'inferior' or 'superior'.. But when I feel inferior, what am I supposed to do? ):

Thanks for reading through that whole crazy book of a post. (:


Aside from the concern with your shoulder, there is absolutely no reason you shouldn't be able to bench squat and deadlift whatever you want. Period. Most women (and some guys) are scared they will magically become huge hulking monsters if they lift weights, and it's just plain nonsense. I'm not sure why your training partners are worried about you squatting, but it's on that same level on nonsense, imo.

Far as the shoulder goes, and what you should be doing with that, I won't comment. Get some professional advice there. But as far as doing compound movements, just do it if you want to, end of story.


Well, this is immaturity on the part of your friends. It really is. I guarantee if they stick with the lifting game for a few years and are seriously dedicated they will look back and shake their heads for treating you the way that they did.

For now, you really need to bring this up with them and tell them how much it has bothered you. You aren't being overly sensitive. Your buddies need to grow up, grow a pair, and stop being so damned insecure when a lady is lifting with them. That is not a good training environment and you will not progress as well as you should be with a nice support network.

Honestly, at one of the powerlifting gyms I go to gender disappears at the doorway.

Whenever a guy's on the platform deadlifting, it's "C'mon! Pussy weight!"

Whenever a gal's on the platform deadlifting, it's "C'mon! Pussy weight!"

Catch ma drift???



if y'all are just out of high school, then immaturity from guys isn't surprising. their concern over your injury is valid, but if I were your friend I'd mostly keep my mouth shut especially if you already put up more weight last time. a good workout partner should be encouraging you to push yourself as long as your shoulder feels ok. that being said, do make sure you're properly warmed up before you bench. there's plenty of mobility stuff on here to help you out.


people deadlifting (or just lifting, really) with good form is great.

a chick deadlifting is pure awesome. you'll probably get a lot of support on the PL/oly forums here (not sure which of them you do).


i wouldn't get very far training with people who say those kinds of things. for the most part i train alone and i really prefer things that way. i'm on nodding terms and sometimes chat with other people who train seriously and who take my training seriously. if they don't take my training seriously (e.g., expecting me to move because they are lifting more or making any kind of condescending comment) then i'm outright rude.

i think some guys have the attitude that the heavy weights part of the gym is a place where they can hang with the guys and slag off about the bitches and they would really rather women weren't in there. that is there problem, though, not yours. i get a lot of benefit from my i-pod so i can tune out from those kinds of conversations though i'll admit i resent that they bring them into public places.

it really does sound like you would be better off training without them. maybe they do just want their guy time, i don't know. sounds like they are toxic for your training, though. training partners like that you certainly don't need.

do you arch on your bench? you might be able to set up the squat rack so you don't need a spot (just collapse your arch to let the safeties take it). otherwise i'm sure there will be other people who you can meet who take your training as seriously as their own. luck.


Without wanting to get all 'girl power' on you it sounds like the dudes are intimidated.

Your making actually progress and they're douche-bags, IMO they're terrified you'll be out lifting them soon (if your not already)

Negative people like that are poison to progress, ditch them,you don't need their shit, keep killing it, hopefully one day you'll bump in to them when your squatting twice what they do.

Fuck em.


I guess they don't like the whole gym seeing that a girl can lift as much as they can. Don't let them stand in your way. Keep up the good work!


They are upset that you are near or past their strength level.

What the hell does it mean girls "shouldn't" bench? Like the fact they have boobs means the movement will promote no positive changes in the body?


exactly! please please please continue and get stronger and a billion tiems sexier than them, i gaurentee the immense feeling of satisfaction you'll gain


For fuck's sake, stop working out with retards and break up with that retard "honeyyyyyyyy" of yours.

Problem solved.

If you're serious about getting stronger and looking better so that you can attract more quality partners than your "hoooooneeeeyyyyyy", then welcome to the Nation.

Otherwise, GTFO and get back to being miserable and being bullied by guys who squat and DL less than 11-year-old female cancer patients in palliative care.


I forgot to add - your husband can't be a serious lurker of T-Nation if he didn't like the idea of you lifting (unless his concern was strictly about reinjuring yourself)


Gender aside, it seems like you are serious about working out and your friends aren't. The idea of someone telling me "you can't do this" at the gym is ridiculous.

I think you are destroying their self-esteem because you are stronger than them. That's their problem, not yours. Keep kicking ass.


You won't get very far if you let yourself be bullied by your friends with respect to what you should do. I realize that you are likely fairly young but if you want to lift, educate yourself and either train alone or with people who have similar goals. Change your environment if you can.

Like a couple of other posters suggested, I would get a professional opinion on your shoulder but don't rely on the input of people who don't know what they're talking about. Possessing a penis does not automatically confer weightlifting knowledge.

To succeed at anything, you'll have to be a lot less of a pushover pussy and look after your own shit. I mean this in the best possible way. How can you excel when you cave to pressure from your 'friends'?


Is your rotator cuff 100% fully healed and rehabbed? That's my primary issue.

Other than that...

"These types of saboteurs behave this way to make themselves feel better. Your discipline and success is like a slap in the face to them. Without saying a word, you're making their excuses look pathetic. These infectious whiners won't be inspired by you; they'll be offended. Nothing pisses off a toxic person more than seeing someone else succeed!

I've seen toxic men use these same tactics on their wives. You'd think a man would want his overweight wife to get into shape, right? Not if he's toxic! These pencildicks might not like having fat wives, but they'll do everything they can to keep them that way. Why? Rampant insecurity. Keeping your wife fat is a great way to control her and keep her at home."
"#3: The Saboteur is the one with the problem.

It's easy to take these attacks personally, but you shouldn't. The Saboteur is the one with the "issues," not you. Their insecurity, jealously, and self-loathing are forced on you because you represent the opposite. Even though you don't mean it, you're a symbol of their failings and shortcomings.

4: The Saboteur is seldom seen by you as an "enemy."

Although they can be, the actions of a saboteur are seldom overt. And the saboteur himself is seldom a person who obviously has it in for you. The most prevalent saboteurs come from within your own family and close circle of friends."


is dinner ready yet?


fuck them.

bench, squat and deadlift till you die happy.

You don't need any person in your life that will push you down. DITCH THEM.


A real friend/partner cheers you on, pushes you to work harder and congratulates you on your progress!

My GF used to whine about my diet, my pre wo supplements, post wo meals and all the time I spent at the gym....so I dumped her. Case closed!

If you truly enjoy lifting....do yourself a favor and find people who will support you in your lifestyle!





On another note:

OP - was half the gym stopping to stare at you deadlift of the male gender? :stuck_out_tongue:


Thanks everyone! I feel a lot better after reading all your posts. (:

Let me clarify that my honey was ONLY concerned about my previous injury, because he knows I like to push myself really hard, really fast when it comes to weights. He and I have benched//etc before, actually, and he thought it was awesome.

And, as for the half of the gym who stared at me, it was more like the whole gym. And there was only two other girls in there than me, sitting at the reception desk checking their nails, hella makeup. So, it was the male half staring.

I'm kind of scared to go without a spot, even if I do set up the squat rack to catch me (I do arch my back -- isn't it bad for you//ineffective not to?) .. But I'm just going to tell them to suck it, if they have a problem today.

Also, about my rotator cuff.. The injury happened about a year ago, almost. The shoulder itself no longer gives me problems, and although I had damage to it, it wasn't that bad.. It was a nerve injury with something in my neck, making it hurt all the way down my arm//in my scapula.

I get occasional electric shock feelings in the middle of my trap, still near my neck (usually when I turn my head just slightly, but quickly).. But since working out, it's less frequent. It got more frequent at first, now it rarely happens.

Thanks again everyone. I can't tell you how much better I feel. (: