T Nation

Unsolicited Advice

Daily. Holy shit everyone has an opinion about shit they don’t understand.

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My lifting partner and I are the only semi-serious squatters among the happy hour crowd at my gym. This of course means that over the years I’ve gotten a great deal of unsolicited advice on that movement, some of it quite bad, most of it from men with well-developed upper bodies who must be doing their squats when I’m not around.

Some of the greatest hits include…

It is dangerous to squat without a belt. Point your toes straight forward. Your knees go too far in front of your toes. Your shins should be vertical. You need to look straight up. You should never squat a weight that you can’t do for 20 reps. The bar will roll off of your back that low. Say goodbye to your knees. Smith Machine squats are better. Ronnie Coleman something or other. You are too fat to squat, you should just do cardio. Squatting in toe shoes will give you lupus.

Since most of these guys seemed to want me to believe that something awful was going to happen to me because of my squats, I’ve more or less concluded that some guys just don’t like it when other guys squat around them. I now employ the same tactic of placation espoused by Th3Pwnisher. It keeps the whole encounter very short and simple.

Back when I was a beginning lifter this unsolicited advice was all very discouraging to me. These men with big arms were telling me I was doing it all wrong, and I gave a lot more weight to their criticism than I should have. In hindsight, I should have made the same request I do when someone tells me my deadlift work set makes too much noise.

“Show me how YOU do it.”

The one dude who works there is 6’2 about 150 soaking wet and a power lifter, or so he says.

The second guy is an older dude in his early 50’s and decent shape but hardly what I would solicit for advice.

I surmise they both went to college for exercise science or whatever the degree is called; so must feel the need to preach.

Last Friday, I got the “you go really hard, you need to not work yourself so hard” comment. The other skinny dude told me “you cant squat and deadlift in the same day”.

Huh, Fuck me! What do I know?

This is why it’s so important to achieve an unapproachable hue of purple while you train…

That and giving motherfuckers the “hairy eyeball”

Two best non-verbal “don’t fuck with me” queues you can give while you’re training.

In truth, if I’m ever in a public gym, I try real hard to be an ambassador for my sport. The general public already thinks strongman competitors are assholes, so I try to smile as much as I can.

But, at the same time, I just hide away from my garage for the most part, so there is that.

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The worst I ever received was, during a set of deadlifts (basic full-stop deadlifts resetting between reps), a guy said “You shouldn’t put the bar down like that. It gives the muscle a rest so then they won’t grow.” I think I just said something along the lines of “Yeah, I’m trying something different.” Not terrible advice, all-in-all, but definitely unsolicited and out of context.

The worst I ever saw given was when a trainer I worked with randomly went over to a young lady while she was stretching on the mats and proceeded to tell her why her current stretching routine wasn’t good. “The hamstrings need to be worked this way, try changing to really improve your flexibility. And the calves are better worked like this…”.

That young lady was Sarah Hughes, in the gym shortly after winning a gold medal for figure skating in the Olympics. The stretching mats were also coincidentally beneath a banner the gym had put up that said “Proud Home to Olympic Gold Medalist Sarah Hughes!” If only the banner had a pic of her, it would’ve been too perfect.


The older I get the less I interact with other gym goers. This applies to giving as well as receiving “advices.”

Heck, I had some 120 lb “personal trainer” come by and try to help me out one time because I had abbreviated my ROM on the pec deck machine so as not to injure my recently repaired shoulder. Even injured, I looked nowhere near the guy who needed a personal trainer -lol.

I agree overall with the smile, say thanks, and go back to doing your own thing approach. (and yeah, headphones help A LOT!)


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What the fuck does that mean?

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its the same school of thought that jerking off makes you go blind

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I’ve had a similar experience. Was doing an abbreviated ROM on an exercise–like you, for very good reasons. Someone said “Excuse me, but you’re doing that wrong.” I responded by asking “What is it you think I’m trying to do?”, to which he said, “I have no idea.” My final response was to say, “Well, if you don’t know what I’m trying to do, how do you know I’m doing it wrong?” End of conversation.


My experiences are limited to receiving advice about ROM as well so I thought I would share what I heard a PT tell my wife. This genius told her to stop doing crunches because the fat from the front of the belly will be pushed out to the sides and you will develop love handles.


Sometimes I type and words appear on the screen. Nobody’s ever actually told me that I’d get lupus from squatting in toe shoes. I suppose it is an amalgamation of the many comments and advice I’ve received regarding my fully conscious choice of hideously ugly lifting footwear.

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Ok, now it makes sense. I was under the impression someone actually gave you that bit of unsolicited advice.

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If only that was true, I’d have my wife crunch her fat to enlarge her chest. :joy:


What do you mean? My priest was lying to me?

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personal “trainer” who was teaching a les mills aerobics class walks out of an Obnoxiously Loud setting, approaches me as I am doing 1 rep 90% max deadlift and asks that i do not drop the weights. It makes to much noise … ha ha ha.

@24HrFitness, H St. Chula Vista Ca 91910

: (


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I was once chastised for not using an over/under grip… sigh

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…like they chastised you with a straight face? da fuq?

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I was thinking chastised with a straight ruler across the knuckles. That seems appropriate for not getting grip correct don’t you?

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Yup… some skinny little wanna be powerlifter/aspiring personal trainer/room attendant at the ymca.

“You holding the bar wrong… the right form is an over/under grip for deadlifts”…

I had less than 250 on the bar… just finished repping 20.

I rolled my eyes, and got back to work.

Now… if he’d have busted my balls about rounded shoulders (often justified)… I might’ve listened.