T Nation

Wisdom of a German Lightbulb


So I was in my gym in Berlin today, doing leg day number 2 of my de-load week (doing Westside). Banged out some front squats and romanian deadlifts and decided to finish out with some high rep, low weight good mornings (115 lbs). I was just reading the squat rack curls thread yesterday and hearing stories of doing good mornings and getting told "you're not doing squats right." So I finish up my 3rd set and get the inevitable tap on the shoulder from one of the 2 hugest guys in my gym (both obviously roided up lightbulbs who only wear baggy long pants, never shorts, conveniently enough). He tells me I'm not squatting right, and I reply that I'm doing good mornings, not squats. He says then I'm using too much weight (lol!) and it's really bad for my back, and I need to keep my knees completely straight when I do them.

I tell him that this is very light weight for me and he was like "ok, just trying to help" or whatever, then starts telling his friend watching him benching on the SMITH MACHINE what I'm doing wrong. So for some reason I'm in a good mood, and I'm like fuck it I'll ask the guy to help me out. I told him I used to have back problems but since I've done heavy deadlifts/good mornings they have completely gone away, etc. etc. I tell him I'll do a rep his style. So I go really close stance and keep my legs almost locked (I'm not dumb enough to lock them completely). He says I should still lower the weight and do high high reps, then says he's an exercise scientist or something.

Somehow the conversation switched to squats, and he demonstrated a "proper" squat and good morning with JUST the bar. He couldn't get either exercise even close to parallel, and seriously looked like he was struggling with the bar on this "squat," having trouble balancing it as well. I seriously couldn't keep myself from smiling as I watched a dude with like 22 inch arms and probably pushing 275 with ~10-12% bodyfat who probably can't even squat half of what I do. He tries to do a front squat with olympic grip and can't do it properly (with just the bar again), after which I bang out a set of olympic grip front squats for him. He says squats are very very dangerous, and he's "afriad of them (ich habe Angst von Kniebeugen)" especially if you go ass to grass, and that leg press is better because you can use more weight (!). He says I need to stop going so low on the front squat. HAHAHAHAH

Keep in mind, in four months of being at this gym, I see this guy 1-2 times a week, and I've never seen him do a leg exercise of any kind. The first thing he does is dumbbell curls every workout, then moves to benching on the smith machine (where he puts like 30kg on each side).

On a positive not, both he and his friend said my German was excellent and better than lots of turks who've lived here for 20 years. LOL I was very cordial to both of them the whole time, but I'm not stopping heavy good mornings or powerlifting style squats, so I think I'm going to print out a bunch of articles from T-Nation and elitefts and hand them to him if he tries correcting me anymore.


Are you turkish ?


Nope, I'm American of German and Polish ancestry. But they compared me to the turkish immigrants apparently.


Given the title I wasn't sure what this would be about. Good read though.


What I don't understand is why Germans as a whole seem to be so afraid of leg exercises. I kid you not, in my gym over the last four months I've seen maybe 2 instances of people squatting, and when they do it, they use 5 kg on each side of the barbell, wrap a towel around the bar to protect their neck (from the vicious damage from 65 lbs apparently), and stop short of parallel. I never thought you could get any worse than American gyms, but my gym does just that.

Oh yeah, I forgot: the guy also told me I'd be better off squatting on the smith machine lol


British gyms are no better.


I am german and train in a german gym and I do sqaut.
But you're right, we have a lot of people we call "Discopumper" (people who just train for looking good when going out. Most important is just to train your chest and your biceps. abs from time to time. Legs are a no no.)


Hahaha discopumper. That's great and I will have to start saying that when I get back to the U.S.


Discopumper - my word of the month!


lol - Discopumpers they are!


It's not the problem in Germans, nobody is sqating in comercial gyms, arround the world.


Discopumper- that's fu*king classic.


Nah man, at least in America you'll see some clowns load up 405 and 1/4 squat, and the rare real squatter. Here, like I've said, over a 4 month period (in which I go 3-4 times per week) I've seen one other individual squat, and it was starting with 65 lbs and working up to 95 lbs.


I smell racist german light bulbs.


In my gym, I always leave the straps hanging on the powerrack after I finish my deadlifts. Sometimes the straps stay there for days and days. No need to remove them, since they don't get in the way of a biceps curl.

But just last week, someone tossed aside my straps. Since I'm the only one to use them at this gym, I can call them "my straps" can't I? I also call it "my powerrack" since it's only used for curling by others.

Anyway, he removed the straps, put the bar up high. Which got my attention immediatly. He started squatting with an empty bar. Ok, form wasn't that good. I was a bit disappointed but it turns out he was just warming up. He gradually added weight untill he was squatting something like 60 kg.

Which is probaly a record for this year at my gym.

When he's ready, he's about to strip the weights. Another guy tells him to leave them on, he starts squatting also.

WTF ! ! ! It's like an invasion of the unepected squatting people. I had to pinch myself and since I'm a sound sleeper, I pinched myself twice AND stubbed my toe.

The guy eventually squatted 100kg, though not completely parallel.

It was really exciting to see someone making an effort.


You do realize you've just added another word to the T-Nation vocabulary, don't you? :slight_smile:


There are many people who'd love to correct you. Just don't take it that personally, all they want is to help. :slight_smile: Seriously. I myself want to correct a few people there but then I think... ah... no matter.

The point with BB squats... well I don't like them too. Just because of the pressure on my neck. For instance, my neck's made me problems for a week now. It was just like 60kg. DB squat or front squat is alright though. I guess I simply position the barbell somehow wrongly, but it's alright as long as I've got an alternative.

You know what I find worst? The trainers when they just run around and say "Hi, howdy" without any intention to correct your wrong execution or even help you out when you're about to get skull-crushed by a BB on bench pressing.

Well, here in Germany it's alright, since most of the gyms hire licensed trainers. And those licenses mostly guarantee the dude knows something. It's so outdated, you wouldn't believe it.

What I find good is that I've got an impression that some folks at my gym aren't afraid to experimentate and try out new exercises. That means they've got some creativity and are open-minded but at the same time I don't like people who stubbornly do the same over and over again and don't want to listen to anything - they've got their prescriptioons the trainers had given and that's it. No way they do anything differently. Strictly 90 degree angle upper arm to lower arm. When you ive them an advice, they ask you: "do you have a trainer license?"

And if you give those two dudes any material I guess they wouldn't believe it or might even feel offended. I've seen quite a lot wondering faces looking at me as I run sweating from one exercise to another trying to keep the pause short and use a little more weight than what some people consider "safe."

By the way, leg presses are much more dangerous than squats, since you can just put huge weight and still do a few repetitions but you forget about your knees. I did the mistake and trained for a few weeks with over 440-530lbs (i.e. 200-240kg). Imagine how amazed I was as I found out that 80kg hack squats are by far much more demanding, also for the quads.

Let me guess, is that a McFit gym you mentioned?


Nah, not a McFit. It's a cheap little place in Neukoelln that just opened last year. I guess I shouldn't complain, as it costs 9.99 euros per month! No showers, not too much fancy equipment, but it has a squat rack, plenty of benches (flat/incline/decline), 2 dual cable stations, and dumbbells up to 50 kg, which is the basics I need at this point.