As promised, here is part 2 of Greg’s Florida globo gym adventure.
Chronicles of a Traveling Lifter: Day 2
Returning to the scene of my first adventure, I thought I knew what to expect. No lifting shoes, no knee sleeves, no timers, no bumper plates, and everyone would have their shirts on. I get it, I’m not in Kansas anymore (actually, I’m in Florida). Nevertheless, Day 2 offered me some new lessons, and reinforced old ones. Here’s the essence of my educational experience.
Lesson #4: Squat racks are not for squatting
Odd as it might seem, the best use for a squat rack is not for squats. This one might cause some disequilibrium, I know, so stay with me. When I walked into the gym, making my way to the locker room to change into my “special shoes”, I scoped out the scene. Remember, there are only two squat racks, and both were being used at this particular moment. The first, I observed, was being used by two kids alternating sets of reverse grip wrist-bending-things with a 135# barbell. The safety racks offered a good resting position for their barbell, lest they figure how they could pick it up off the ground and orient themselves for their behind-the-back wrist exercise. Oh yeah, feel the forearm burn. The second rack was used by a guy watching himself reverse curl and press 115# (he seemed fascinated by his own rippling muscles because he was wearing a sleeveless shirt…sorry Ian). Watching him, there was a little jump with his reverse curl and I couldn’t figure out if he was trying to power clean the barbell or just thought it was natural to hop into a hyper-extended spine position. I’m not sure he knew either. In between his sets of five, he rested the barbell on the safety racks at his station. So much for squats.
In light of this, I think we need to rethink the term “squat rack.” The name is misleading, don’t you think?. We should call them “rest racks.” There, that’s better. Let’s be true to our utilitarian nature and call something what it is. It’s like if you never used the bumper plates at CFLG on a barbell, but only as a surface to rest your water bottle on, then it would be misleading to call it a bumper plate. You’d just call it a coaster. Ok, maybe that’s taking it a little to the extreme.
If you show up to the commercial gym ready to squat, be sure to have a back-up plan.
Lesson #5: Range of motion is optional
The squat racks eventually opened up so I could, you know, squat. While warming up, a scrawny 12 year old kid and his body building dad took the rack next to me. They attached the blue-thingy that protects your traps from the mean old bar and proceeded to start back squatting. Or at least that was their intention. The young kid quarter-squatted 135# on his toes at the behest of an over-exuberant Dad. After the miserable attempt, the kid returned to the calf raise machine. The Dad threw on 315# and proceeded to squat WITH THE SAME FORM!
What have I deduced from this experience? Good form is optional. I mean, if it’s heavy, it must be good, right? Yesterday I learned what a rarity it is to even see someone attempt to squat. Today, I learned that if you choose to squat (for some crazy reason) it doesn’t matter how sound your mechanics are, just don’t forget your blue, plastic traps protector or you’ll look silly.
Lesson #6: Kettlebells are good for lateral raises
I’m not sure how to explain this lesson. As I was foam rollling, I watched in mild horror as an overweght, middle-aged man in OR scrubs used an 18# kettlebell for lateral shoulder raises while his personal trainer looked on (yes, he was paying someone to tell him to do this). Now, I’m not a kettlebell expert, so maybe that execise is reserved for the most advanced instructors. I guess powerful hip extension isn’t that important anyway.
Stay tuned for my final adventure coming up in the third and final installment.
Work up to a 3RM
3 Clean and Jerks @ 65% 1RM
1 Round of Cindy (5 pullups, 10 pushups, 15 squats)