Unsolicited Advice?

From my crossfit post, I think Sr. Fatberger has the idea that I roam around the gym dispensing advice (and dirty looks) like an unpaid personal trainer.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  Well, the dirty looks part is pretty close.

There were two scenarios today where I considered providing unsolicited advice.   I’ll provide the scenarios.  You be the judge.  To clarify: Judge me on the internet for my judgement about whether to judge – or not judge – people in my gym.  

A. John (the bodybuilder & my favorite spotter) and I are pretty good acquaintances.  He started doing squats, front squats and deadlifts a while ago.  I observed him doing 6 inch squats for a month or so, biting my tongue, until finally one day he turned to me and asked “How was my depth?”  Well this was the moment I was waiting for and I said “Incredibly high”.  Then I showed him how to squat properly, and he actually did it.  From then on he was squatting to parallel. 

Today I was working in with him, and I noticed that as his weight got heavier, his depth got shallower, until at 315, he was about 4 inches above parallel.  Should I say something?

B. There aren’t a lot of “bad benchers” in my gym. By bad benching, I mean not touching the chest, upper arms at 90 degrees to torso, bouncing off the rib cage or lifting the butt 3 feet in the air. Probably because a lot of the guys enter (or have notions of entering) powerlifting meets.

Instead the favorite exercise of the preposterous is the “seated” “military” press, which is done with weights in excess of the exerciser’s flat bench press (by arching ridiculously high and/or adopting a shortened range of motion).

Today I moved over to the half rack for most of my sets because my buddy Chad told me he wanted to use the power rack for “shoulder press partials”.  Here’s how this exercise is performed (after dragging a mil press bench into the rack and loading up 300+ lbs, obviously):

1. Set pins to a height slightly above the head.

2. Begin pressing.  As you do so, arch your back until the top of your head is the only thing touching the bench.

3. Have the spotter lift the weight until you have it extended at arms length.

4. With arms still locked, move from back bridge position to proper military press position (i.e. sitting down).

5. Now return to back bridge position.

6. Lower weight to pins.

This was some insane shit.  I swear the above description is not in any way an exaggeration.  So should I a) make fun of him, b) politely note that “your back came off the bench a little” c) do nothing?


1. No.  John is a bodybuilder and they just want to feel the burn anyway, so what’s the point?  Also his squats were deeper than 95% of people at commercial gyms, so fuck it, if he really wanted to know he could have asked me.

2. C) Do nothing. Who am I to discourage him from training for the SPF seated military press world record?

High Bar Squat: 45×4, 135×3, 225×2, 310, 330, 350, 370, 385, 395, 405, 410; 370×2, 375,380×1, 370x5x1

Didn’t press heavy, just did some light assistance exercises, including: DB Bench, Pushups, Tri Pushdown, Dips, 1 arm Standing Cable Row (not on bosu ball), chinups and shoulder band pulling.

RDL: 135×3, 205×2, 275, 345, 380×3; 285×1,3

Front Squat: 135, 225, 275, 295, 310; 280×1, 285×1,1, 280×2


22 thoughts on “Unsolicited Advice?

  1. Good ol’ partials. In theory, done to improve aspects of the main lift. In practice, just an excuse to use four times the weight you could use doing the full movement… (Huh, just realized that, out of all the partial Olympic lift variations, only a very few can be done with more weight than the main movement. Iiiiiiiiinteresting.)

  2. Let me give you some advice, my friend. First, start a blog. Second, thanks for helping Sid understand the straps thing. It’s funny, that Adell vid was the same one that made me think it was okay to use straps. I mean it is okay for a powerlifter, just, I dunno I like doing it the “real way”. Feels manlier & more alpha, as Fatman would say. Sad thing though is 2 yrs after he quit, Adell could probably still outlift me by a ton.

    I like partials in a rack ala Paul Anderson, but yeah most gym bros get out of control.

    • Yeah, Adell was just ridiculous. And he quit for a career. Here I am, with, like, 70% of his strength, and I wanna drop everything and pursue lifting full time. (At least I’m more efficient, lolololol.)

      I just feel stronger with the bar in my hands.

      • Also, still undecided on whole blog thing. Could be interesting experiment. At same time, could be more internet involvement that I don’t need. Hmm…

      • careers are overrated. so where do you want to go? OTC? Cal Strength? Go to broz’s and then I can ask him questions about powerlifting through you.

        i used to hold the straps very very close to the bar. when i did it 4 inches away like in the vid, things got ugly. probably need work on keeping torso upright elbows up and etc.

      • There’s a former Russian head coach in Kansas City who coached my coach. I’ll probably start there this summer. I do have the option to be coached part time by Zygmunt, but I wouldn’t actually be able to train at the OTC, so the training environment wouldn’t be as good, and I wouldn’t have that level of coaching most of the time. (InB4 getting my foot in the door: I have, at most, a decade of improvement ahead of me, so I wanna make the most of my time now.)

  3. I can’t believe I ever came across this load of shit, do only men on steroids understand your blog dribble.
    I’m going to have to share this cave man site with all my friends at work so we can sit back and analyse exactly what your on about.
    This should be fun.

  4. “Here I am, with, like, 70% of his strength, and I wanna drop everything and pursue lifting full time.”

    When you say “pursue lifting full time”, what does that mean? Are you, like, independently wealthy or something?

    “From my crossfit post, I think Sr. Fatberger has the idea that I roam around the gym dispensing advice (and dirty looks) like an unpaid personal trainer.”

    Sorry brah, I mean, it’s not like every third post is about some skinny douche squatting high with 135 or strippers doing weird things with weights.

    • i dunno man, people like reading about that. This “whocares” fellow read like every page on the blog in the past hour and apparently is going to get his office hooked too…..unless that was you?

      • Seriously, wannabe must have traced the source of her being trolled back to her comment on this blog and now she is out for blood cause she had to discontinue her marvelous 1/2 header, 1/2 text wordpress account.

        • good detective work bro. I can’t believe I missed the clues. The reference to “men” indicates the commenter is a female. The ref to steroids shows that she has not read any other posts and seen my opinion on the subject. “Analyse” and “on about” = commonwealth country. And general poor grammar = our muffin top friend. Also, an Aussie IP address is pretty much a dead giveaway.
          After all the evidence, I still think it was Fatman conducting a complicated ruse.

    • “When you say “pursue lifting full time”, what does that mean? Are you, like, independently wealthy or something?”

      Full-time is somewhat misleading, I suppose. It means paying off my car, finding a cheap basement to move into and a part time job, and lifting twice a day, and recovering the rest of the day. So not independently wealthy, just a single guy willing to live on 10-15k a year…

      • You mean devoting a decade of my life to something with no materal profitability, with only a slight hope of even competing in the Olympics? My numbers will start declining in my early thirties, if injuries haven’t destroyed my body by then, and I’ll be forced to move on, with my only schooling and work experience in a skilled trade. Ideally I’d be able find other ways of being involved, such as coaching, but who makes any money doing that?

        My other option? Continue working for a few years, and save up enough money to go to engineering school without too much debt. Probably quit lifting entirely, as I lack the mental resources to devote energy to more than two endeavours at once. Have a good career, maybe find a woman I could actually afford to marry, but then always wonder if I could have been strong enough to lift in the Olympics…

        Honestly? I’d rather get as much as possible put of my good years for athleticism and be a decade behind in a career, than do it half-heartedly, get middling strong, but never do anything. Maybe money isn’t as much of a priority as it should be for me, but maybe I’ll learn something when I’m not making 50k a year…

        (I should mention that I’ve been varying degrees of obsessed with the Olympic lifts since I was 17 – five years ago. But I lacked the facilities and the coaching to do anything but broomstick and bar work for three of those years. I could probably be just as happy doing other things, but I would be hard-pressed to find them.)

        Tl;Dr: I’m gonna break my back next week, and this will all be a moot point.

      • “but then always wonder if I could have been strong enough to lift in the Olympics…”

        I guess you have given this some degree of thought. How do you fare compared to the competition?

      • Honestly if you’re comfortable with 10-15k a year, you might as well go for it. You could get hit by a figurative bus any day, so it’s silly to try and plan out a long term half-hearted career when you could alternatively be doing something you enjoy more. I’m doing something I enjoy, I get paid dogshit, and live in a wannabe ghetto.

        Things often have a way of working themselves out, and I think you’d have a difficult time getting remotely close to oly-level abilities without developing some sort of marketable skills in the fitness industry along the way.

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