T Nation

How Weak/Uncoordinated Were You?


I was learning 3 guys who were about 17 years old some basic exercises yesterday like squat, deadlift, bent-over bb row, militarypress, chins, bench and I was pretty shocked how weak and uncoordinated they were.

I'm gonna talk about one of the guys because the two others gave up after two exercises and went to do some abzzz :). I first loaded up the bb to 40kg 90pounds and he couldn't even do 1 rep so I had to lower the weight 30 kg 65 pounds and those didn't have really full ROM and no controll. He had difficulties to control his spine being in a arch or bent so I had much difficulties to teach him to deadlift. However chest up seemed to do the trick so he could do decent deadlifts.

He doesn't have bad genetics he told me his dad have had a 180-190kg bench 405pounds and 52cm arms 20.5" when he was 25-26 years old. I think it has to do with a lot of young people don't do any sports or other physical activities in their younger years.
I was always active in sports atleast 3-4 times per week until I started lifting. I could lift 20kg db's when I started and was pretty quickly up to 25-27.5 which isn't great but still I had control :slightly_smiling:

I'm curious to find out how weak/uncoordinated you were when you started to lift and how much sport's you had done in your younger years. Also other thoughts on this subjects are welcomed:)


If I can remember correctly, when I started lifting in high school I felt a little froggy and threw 95 lbs on the bar. 'bout killed myself and had to dump the weight. lol 33 yrs old now and have pretty good form on my 2 rep max @ 315.


it doesn't have to be sports. i grew up on a farm and spent an awful lot of time running around in the woods and climbing trees. not to mention carrying buckets of pig food and stuff. plus when i was in middle school my dad welded me up a chin-up and dip rack that i used to use daily.


I know what you mean by new people being uncoordinated and generally weak, just started helping a female friend of mine, she could not even start a squat without beginning with the knees and couldnt even hold the 20kg bar. I guess all these things you start taking for granted after a few months, but the basic movements are just not natural for most people.

Personally if I was to start teaching someone the deadlift I probably wouldnt have them lift from the floor, I'd begin just above the knee (ie. a rack pull) and get them to feel the use of the posterior chain and then progressively lower the bar.


I had to start with less than a 45lb bar for most of the lifts. I never played sports in my life apart from running, so my coordination verges on pathological. I was that kid who always tried to sit out of gym class. I still can't really throw or catch a ball. It's really weird (and addictive) to be stronger and faster than the average individual, because for most of my life my body has just been an inconvenience.


When I first started lifting, I tried doing dumbbell shoulder presses and one of my elbows collapsed, sending the weight straight onto my head. It was awesome.

If you're teaching new lifters, just have them work with light weights. Really work on form before they create bad habits. Once they're able to stabilize the weight and maintain good form they'll be all set.


yeah, sports definitely gave me an upper hand...

I played pretty much every sport, and I started lifting weights at 190lbs. Sadly, some things have gotten in the way, and I haven't had a chance to take advantage of my head start until now...

I did develop some imbalances in my body from sports, though...Especially from baseball...I'm correcting some of those issues now...


I actually went back and checked my personal log from where I began...and damn...

Bench (Barbell): 45x10
Military Press (Barbell): 45x5 (failed at 6)
Pulldown: 50x12

I actually had pretty good coordination starting out, due to sports and whatnot, but nothing near what I've achieved now...


His dad had 21" guns?

Sorry, but I call BS..

When I just started working out, I'd been doing bodyweight exercises for a long time so I wasn't that weak.

Before I started doing sports, though, I:
Couldn't do a single chin-up
Could only do a few push-ups


hahaha once again....

holymacaroni the summer of junior/senior year of HS


That's cool. Props to your dad. On a related note, it's always nice to see a dad teaching his kid to lift properly. There's this old dude who comes to my gym with his kid, who looks about eight or nine. He has him doing deads and stuff with some light weights to learn form.. pretty cool

And the dude is pretty strong and he has the little eight year old spot him on like 280 benches.


To HolyMac:
I would date you in high school. But now you are to unfunctional for me so I wouldn't date you now (lying to himself).

To the OP we all have to start somewhere really...


OKay, while I didn't start lifting until I was in college (20 years old), I was on the track team in high school. Along with my best friend Sam, we decided it would be fun to do something 'athletic' after school. After all, we were already on the Newspaper and Yearbook staff, participated in Mathletes and the Debate Team, both held positions in student government.... what else would look good on a college application? -lol. At abut 140-150 lbs (I was 150, obviously the 'huge' one), we were the smallest guys who decided to throw shotput and discus (which just sounded like a hell of a lot more fun than running around in a circle!).

THe other 'throwers' were guys from the football team who needed to stay in shape for football season, so as part of the practice every day, after actual throwing, they would hit the weights. One day Sam and I looked at each other and decided that this would be the day we would get huge. We waited until the others guys left and quietly slipped over to the rusty old Weider bench. The bar must have weighed maybe 15 lbs, and I think we put a 25 lb plate on each side. I decided that Sam should go first, because I had watched the other guys "spot" each other, and this way I could make sure he didn't get hurt. I think the bar came down one time before it got stuck on Sam's chest, and while standing behind him (as a good spotter should!) the two of us couldn't get it off of him. We were both laughing hysterically, but he was obviously in a world of pain. We slowly slid the bar down to his stomach until he was able to sit upright and let the barbell fall to the floor. At the sound of the Thud, the other throwers looked over with a shared expression that seemed to say "dumbasses". That pretty much was my first encounter with weight training. I'm still pretty damn unathletic, but at least I look good enough to fool most of the people.



At my gym theres a dad that comes with his 12-13 year old son and the kid is already repping 135 on bench, its pretty cool.


I was pretty fucking weak when I started due to years of nothing but computer games, but I was always one of the best at any sport I did.

I used to be one of the smallest/skinniest people, and I remember getting my ass laughed at when I walked up to the shot put circle one years in High School by all the big guys. They stopped laughing when I beat all their asses on my first throw lol.


When I started I could squat 60kg for 5 reps and bench 45 for the same, I also overhead pressed 30x5. This was at the age of 14, bodyweight of around 55kg.


Me I was always small there were girls bigger than me! lol
I was around 120lbs entering highschool I think or 125. But I was ALWAYS naturally strong. I didn't play many sports. I always played street soccer though..when i was a little kid I ALWAYS wanted to play for a soccer team..so it was a bit late in the season and this coach told me to give him a call..well i gave him a call and he never picked up the phone..i tried for days..so i left a message on his answeringmachine saying FUCK YOU! haha i got in a lot of shit and big beating by my father for that lol.
Other than that..was always the faster/stronger kid in highschool in most sports..but never excelled in sports because never stuck with it long enough.

But also even as a lighter kid..around 150lbs we're talkin gr.10 here..I was stronger than most guys who were bigger than me. At 15 150-155lbs I fought a 19 year old who was 210 and beat his ass. Got mad respect for that by the whole school cause this guy was known for bein a thug-type fella..pretty much a bully also.
Me and all my arabian friends back then would get picked on by white kids all the time in our early years in highschool mostly gr.9 and we didn't tolerate fuck all from anyone. That's when that 19 year graduated and was out of school..I was gr.10..that's when we fought out of the blue.


I dug out my very first training logs , dated 6/26/06 .


box squat (box used to touch/check depth only ; not a true box-squat)

flat bench

rack pulls

seated military press
bare-bar x 8 for 3 sets

that was at 42 years old and 170 lbs

ps....I noticed an entry a couple weeks later for a bench session that went like this...
135x4....haha , just couldnt grind out that fifth rep !


First time I ever bench pressed I did 90 lbs. My first squat was ~110 I believe. I was so embarrassed. Huge football school, this was the summer of my 8th grade year. There were already kids maxing 315 on bench and squatting 400. I never felt so inadequate in my life lol. Steroid use was rampant at this place.


Have a log from about 2 weeks after I started training seriously - was squatting 1 plate for reps, and benching just under that. I remember the first time I squatted I foolishly loaded up 185 on the bar.... I actually got it, somehow... but lol

Not as bad as I remembered it being.