My gym is typically okay about this, although not great. The big guys squat properly, the little guys don’t. The mentality, I believe, isn’t just male specific.
I walked into the gym once to notice a girl benching. That’s cool, I remember thinking. We don’t see a lot of females weight lifting, they’re often fucking around on the bosu balls or doing some lameass core workout, if they’re not on the treadmills.
Few even wander in to the weight training area, except when they’re sending some kind of message to a guy friend, and even then often in packs. This girl was doing something that just isn’t very popular among women here, (although I doubt this is big with women in other places- someone please prove me wrong).
She only has 85 pounds on the bar. That’s cool though, she’s small, and I hadn’t seen her around after all the time I’ve spent at the gym, so it was likely she was new. She pulls the bar off the rack. Her arms are shaking. Her jaw is clenched. She begins lowering and…
She gets halfway down and then pushes back up.
I frown. Maybe it was too heavy. I know that guys who don’t lift can start at that level, assuming they’re unathletic. It would make sense for a girl who doesn’t participate in physical activity to need to start less. Likely she would put the bar down and lower the wei-
She goes in for another rep. Then another. Then another. Only getting halfway down each time. I stopped watching after that.
I saw something similar when a girl in the squat rack next to me tried to match my weight, but only got halfway to parallel during her sets. She stopped after she saw me add more weight for my next set.
I didn’t understand it myself. Maybe they’re afraid of being humiliated? Maybe they want to seem stronger than they are? The thing is, when I see a weak guy struggle, it motivates me. That guy is having trouble, but he’s here because he wants to grow and he’s not taking no for an answer, no matter how humiliating the process is. The guy who goes in there and works at it with a low weight but does it properly deserves respect in my book. I don’t laugh at them or mock them, I try harder.
The first time I tried benching, at 110 pounds I remember a fairly big guy coming over and asking if I needed a spotter. When I told him I didn’t know how to bench, as nobody I ever trained with thought I could even lift the bar, he showed me how and made sure I worked on my form, rather than adding weight to the bar. It was at this point that I realized I wasn’t going to be laughed at for being small, there were people willing to help.
Other people, I think, don’t quite understand that. They’re afraid of seeming small, and want the attention and satisfaction of being big without working for it. A bigger number means they’re stronger and better. If they can shortcut getting there, while justifying it in their head, then they’ll do it.