The levels of strength to which modern day gym-goers aspire to is terribly pathetic. Having a 315 squat, 225 bench press, and a 405 deadlift are starting points – not feats of giants. Even still, most guys can barely handle half those amounts. Well, maybe not on the bench where everyone seems to be a stud. Anyways, who decided to set the bar so low? I see 13.1 stickers stuck to the back of soccer mom’s minivans on the highway. If these women who either a.) trained a few months and ran a 15 minute pace or b.) walked, get to boast about this then we have a problem on our hands. Not because they did it, but because it’s supposed to inspire the masses on their ability to move for a few hours at a moderate pace. I just read that it’s “amazing” that a guy can do 100 push-ups in a minute. Sorry, but that should be every high school students’ goal in gym class – not something that impresses friends over a beer.
I’m not saying everyone should, or even needs to be, squatting 500+ pounds for reps; I’m just saying that those who lift weights ought to reach for higher goals, to expect to achieve it, and not be happy with a 315 squat. And that 315 squat certainly shouldn’t impress onlookers. I’d like to see the strength community quit boasting of their pathetic numbers (like mine) and start focusing on getting stronger. No excuses about aches and pains, no over-analyzing; just get in there and get a little crazy. I just read a great summation of training philosophy by a guy named Taylor. He basically says you have to put in the hurt. Be prepared for it. You’re going to hurt, and it’s worth it. And if you’re not prepared, stay out of the squat rack and off the platform. That’s where the BIG BOYS roam.
This isn’t about being the biggest or strongest guy at the gym. I suppose it’s more about not being impressed by that guy because there’s inevitably someone half his weight and twice as strong. Take Peter Cortese for example pulling 3x his bodyweight (plus 22lbs) with one arm. That’s 370lbs at a bodyweight of 116.
Now why is doing 100 push-ups in a minute worth anyone’s time again?
This post isn’t at all about WHY we train for strength or workout in general. Rather, it’s about not settling for mediocrity. Anybody can spend 20 minutes on a treadmill and another 20 doing dumbbell curls and chest flys. “So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Don’t be lukewarm and don’t settle for middle of the road. Raise the bar and realize there are very strong people out there. We’ve got a lot of catching up to do.