Timidity Under The Bar

I’ve got a confession to make. It’s going to become a theme as the week rolls on, I suspect. No, I haven’t been lying to you or anything. Nothing of the sort. But there are things I did a pretty good job of lying to myself about. Especially when it comes to strength training.

You see, despite weeks doing nothing but barbell training, I’m still a little timid under a bar.

To understand why, I need to take you way back. The year, I believe, was 1989. I was 16-years-old and had just gotten the go-ahead from my folks to start lifting weights at the school’s weight room. It was open to all students, but it was really a football thing. I wasn’t on the team, but we were a small school so I knew everyone.

I was the small, kind of geeky kid in school, so I’m sure there were some thoughts about what the hell I was doing there when I showed up. I kind of recognized that I had stepped into the lion’s mouth, so to speak. Most of the guys who I saw as tormentors were in that room, and they were going to see just how weak I was.

Well, it seems someone thought it would be hilarious to pressure me into trying to bench my bodyweight my first time in the weight room. Now, at the time that was just 135 lbs, but when you’re arms are about as strong as overcooked spaghetti, that’s plenty.

My first attempt went about as well as you would expect. It was lifted off of me and I felt stupid. However, I didn’t want to be beaten, either. That’s probably how I was talked into trying it again.

Now, you need to understand something about that time. I knew nothing of how to bench. This was the years before YouTube or Amazon, so it was difficult finding information. Knowledge was often passed by other people in the weight room and contained about as much BS as your average load of natural fertilizer.

One thing I didn’t know anything about was form, and I had my arms running right next to my body. No arms at anything approaching an angle, and I had my grip about right for a close-grip bench press, but not an actual bench.

All of this contributed to what happened next.

The weight was lifted off the rack and moved over my chest…only to see my arms lose the ability to hold the weight right at the elbow joint. The weight crashed down on my face.

Yes, really. Continue reading “Timidity Under The Bar”

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