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.

Why’d he want to do this? I don’t know, but it makes him awesome.

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.

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Comment by jameson on November 15, 2010 at 3:22pm
I have a rack, bar, several weights, and some odd lift stuff at my dad's (he has a shop on his farm). And I train at my work's gym. No rack so I end up having spotters hand me the bar for bench. If I'd just spend some money and buy my own bench this wouldn't be an issue, but it also gives me the opportunity to lift with others'. The problem is that these 'others'" don't lift heavy. They're all very much into the BB thing. Which is fine I guess, but it doesn't really allow the training environment that you alluded to "pushing each other."
Comment by Isaac Ohman on November 15, 2010 at 3:16pm
What kind of a gym setup do you have? Is it at home or do you go to a commercial place?
Comment by jameson on November 15, 2010 at 9:40am
My feelings exactly. All of it. Unfortunately, there's not much in the way of "strength guys" where I live so I end up training alone in my gym. There will always be someone stronger but making progression is what keeps me going.
Comment by Isaac Ohman on November 14, 2010 at 12:25pm
it helps to train with people stronger than you. it pushes me when i don't want to train as hard as is most effective. my oldest training partner just broke his own MN state records in the raw 148 lb class a couple Saturdays ago. All of my lifts in that meet were less than his and I weighed 211. I know that over time my lifts are going to go up beyond his because I have the drive to make it happen. It's just a solid reminder of where I am at and a good check to the go.

I can't stand the mentality of the big fish in a small pond. If you think you're strong in comparison to other people, compare yourself to the best, and to people who have been training as long as you. I don't get how guys can get off knowing that they just beat somebody who's been training for a year.

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