How Do You Handle Non-Lifters Scared of Your Heavy Lifting?

I’m sure you’ve all gone through this no matter the level of powerlifting you’re in… whether you’re a novice, intermediate or a veteran. I’m sure you’ll get all kinds of misinformed non-gym goers who give you all kinds of unsolicited and misinformed advice like “don’t lift too heavy or you’ll kill yourself” even if when you’re not lifting all that heavy and even if it’s an easy lift, people will say that anyway.

It’s like “hey, it’s called powerlifting, heavy lifting is the name of the game”. What do you say to these kind of people so they’ll understand and leave you alone? I get this a lot and it’s getting annoying, honestly.

I just dont interract with people like that.
There is no point to say anything as they wont understand. I have many non-lifters around me, and i just dont talk about this topic, or if they say smth i just act like he said a good joke and reply with something stupid, like “as long as i dont shit my pants while squatting” - everyone laughs and the topic is dead.
The worst you can do is start a serious discussion with people who dont know that topic.

Debating people who dont know the topic is like playing a chess with a pigeon. It will kick off all the pieces, shit on the table, and strut around like a winner.


I politely thank them for the advice and then do what I want to do anyway.


Yup. This is kind of what I do. Just politely say “okay” and continue to do what I want anyway.

I like hankthetank’s response too, though.

Be a little more considerate of people’s feelings and don’t lift so heavy.


This is one of my new favorite sayings. That is hilarious


I never had such inquiries from non-gym goers. They don’t know enough to ask a question. Someone might ask, “How much can you lift?” or “How much can you bench press?” I usually changed the subject. I’m thinking to myself, let’s talk about something we both can contribute to.

Now, I have had quite a few dads, back in the 1980’s go out of their way to tell me how their son was built like me, only bigger. That conversation never ended well. I’d size him up and down, and then if I was really aggravated, I’d ask, “How big and muscular is your mailman?”

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I’m a big fan of “well it’s better than going back to meth”
But taking @T3hPwnisher 's approach is good


It’s not mutually exclusive. One could lift heavy and do meth. I know an individual who used to do just that (he is clean now, aside from steroids). He did say meth was a pretty good pre workout, and I’ll take his word on that.


Dumbass doctor I met told me I should stop lifting before I get hurt. He asked “How long have been working out?”. At the time, I said “35 years and it’s a little too late as far as the getting hurt thing”.

(Golfing is not working out.)

Damn, just pissed myself off remembering him. He said he was trying to grow his hair back by taking a heart med that had a side effect of hair growth.

The most popular hair regrowth medication (Rogain or minoxidil) started life as a blood pressure / heart med in pill form. You can still get the pill form, but it requires an Rx (at least in the US), but most of it is topical now.

In agreement actually… testing out your max and doing singles/doubles is kind of dumb anyways. Doing triples is fine, though.

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I interpreted FlatsFarmer’s comment as sarcasm, but maybe I was mistaken. I see nothing wrong with testing your max as long as you’re not doing too frequently and as long as you’re being safe about it, that is, you’re being realistic about what you have a shot at and you have trustworthy spotters.

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Thanks for that great response. Guess there’s nothing wrong with heavy lifting, just gotta ignore the criticizers, doubters and worriers.

One of the things I miss most about smoking cigarettes is lighting one up and blowing smoke in someone’s face as a non-verbal insult. I didn’t lift weights back then, but I was also careful to never blow smoke in someone’s face who looked like they could beat me up.

Of course back then the entire Midwestern United States was a smoking section except for that booth in the corner of Shakey’s. The glory days of boldly lighting up a cigarette in the squat rack are a thing of the past in most commercial gyms. Thank the do-gooders for that.

If you don’t care about this particular gym membership, I’d highly recommend blowing cigarette smoke in these people’s faces and daring them or the gym to do something about it.


I flip my hair and ask them to help me grab plates


Regarding the “you’ll get hurt” comments…

I pulled my groin on a speedy double last night >.< lol


Thanks for the great responses. Yeah, the so-called “experts” that act like know it alls when you know what you’re doing is annoying and a real problem, of course, the know it alls is worst from people that don’t even go to the gym. haha…

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My dad used to think like this, then a personal trainer at my gym told him off

Smile and say “Oh this isn’t considered heavy”

And keep on lifting anyway.

They’ll never understand. And I don’t need them to.