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Why Do Men 'Lift' More Than They Can Lift?


So this is something that's been severely peeving me at my gym lately. (Sorry if the ladies feel left out, but I've never witnessed this with them.) I'm not talking about,"Damn! Missed that PR attempt...(sets BB down on safety rack)...better luck next week..."

I mean looking like a retarded camel giving birth on the last 4-5 reps of EVERY working set of your new and improved total body lat pulldowns or asking me to give you a spot and after I've literally lifted half the weight up for you for two straight reps you still have the balls to mutter, "one more!" even though you're only lifting up the right half of the loaded BB anymore.

I honestly don't understand, and can't say I've ever had this mentality since I started training. I understand that there's a thing called pride and men want to appear strong, but does the "perks" of hitting a number seriously outweigh looking like the biggest turd in the universe while doing it?

I think the newb with a buck 35 on his back squatting to proper depth and knowing how to recruit his hips properly looks more badass than any douche who can throw 3 plates on and...well...like I said...retarded camel. Hell, the newb with a broomstick on his back looks better!

Any insight?



I this a lot at my gym, where guys come down with ILS (Imaginary Lat Syndrome) the moment they walk in the door before ever touching a weight.

I have a video I'll link later ( or search yotube for "nardpuncher" and "how not to work out") of a guy I see that ONLY benches (from what I've seen) and ONLYdoes 225lbs with terrible form. I mean this guy doesn't warm up and hasn't gone above 225 the whole 2 years or so I've been seeing him at the gym.


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.


Well god dammit, one day I'm going to learn how to type a post that isn't as long as a small essay.


And for enhanced effect I google image searched "retarded camel giving birth." For some reason, this guy showed up about halfway down the page. Coincidentally, I think he's the dude I spotted last week!


When I was in middle school, I used to attempt dunks that I knew I was going to miss just to convince onlooker that I could probably dunk sometimes. Which doesn't really have anything to do with this thread, and I only mention so you all know that I could almost dunk in middle school, which is kinda impressive.


Nards, I watched some of those videos and the assisted assisted-pull-ups cracked me up.
I know a guy that fits the description of always trying to lift heavier than he should. Tries to do 225 for 5x5 without warmups but every week drops a rep or two, last time we trained it went: 5, 3, 1, 1, 1/2 WTF man?! I'm stronger than this usually!

He's pretty short (5'5'') and has good pressing levers so he progressed to this point within a few months but has been stagnant for the last 5 years from what he tells me. When I suggested eating more I got the old "can't lose my abs" speech and once I convinced him to do some warm ups with something less than 225 things started to get better. At least in his case it's a little man thing and likes to appear strong to people passing his bench.

I've seen a couple of guys (one in particular does it all the time) load the bench up with something that looks like it would crush them, sit down, do some stretches, then arm swings, lay down then get back up like they just lifted the weight. Orignially I thought that maybe the weight just got in their head and had a lapse of confidence but now I think it's for show as it's been repeated.


Because of wanting to impress your avatar.


Most people that go to the gym have no idea of what they are doing.
This explains everything.


I dont think its only males. I was going to the squat rack last month and a skinny girl was doing squats with 60kg. I put 60kg to warmup and she put 80kg and didnt even go halfway down and was shaking bad. So whats that all about =)


Ha! While I was reading your post i thought about a guy at the gym back in Winnipeg that would do that...load the bar to 315 or more, sit down, get up, stretch and just basically hang around the bench so that people think he actually moved the weight.


Girls are less likely to have learned how to bench by goofing around in some high school friend's garage, who's dad had a weight set.

I don't know why people don't at least go watch a few Youtube videos first. That's the only way I actually got up the nerve to head over to the benches and squat racks. I appreciate that you aren't making fun of her for only benching 85 pounds. I'm little and that hits kinda close to home!

I talked about this in another thread, why are women who "lift weights" curling 10 pound dumbbells for a whole bunch of reps every time they come to the gym?

So they don't wake up the next day accidentally looking like Professor X, silly.


Thats so pathetic...wow. I use a university gym so I see a ton of this kind of stuff, but I've never seen anybody go to the gym to pretend to lift weights!


I used to do that.

  1. I didn't know what I looked like. (Is proproception the right term?) I couldn't "feel" what a squat to depth was. I had to have strangers come up and tell me "Hey, you're not squatting to depth" before I figured it out.

  2. I didn't have any idea what the exercise was supposed to be. "Bench press is self-explanatory, right?" Well, at some point you have to discover that the bar is supposed to go all the way down. (My dad had the same issue -- he'd been "benching" for years and it had NEVER OCCURRED TO HIM that the bar is supposed to touch your chest. He was all, "do I really have to?" when I told him, and I said "yep" and he had to cut his bench weight in half. Then when I wasn't around to nag him he went back to benching halfway down.)


If you are really skinny I dont think its a good idea to bench press all the way to touch the chest. At that point your elbow might be alot below your bench and having that angle isnt really good for shoulders in my opinion.






If you're in the proper technique your elbows shouldn't go below the bench no matter how concave your chest is.


I use a ton of technique when I lift. Some would call it cheating.

Unless your lats are wider than mine, which is a small percentage of people at my gym, I couldn't give a fuck what anyone thinks of my pulldowns.

There is more than one little bastard in my gym that think they are hot shit with there little guy form, slamming 135 into the rack after their set of rows... I find that more annoying than people putting in effort to step outside their comfort zone.


In addition: I stopping paying attention to what people who aren't making progress were doing awhile ago, and it really helped my own.

(Outside of those few freaks that make you notice them, slamming bars into the rack, stand in front of you, etc etc etc)