The Power Lift/Power Drop Syndrome

January 29, 2018


Macho, macho man

I’ve got to be a macho man

Macho macho man

I’ve got to be a macho...

                  —Village People


Another chapter in my occasional series: Do you really want to be that guy/gal at the gym?


We’ve all been there and seen it—or, at the very least, heard it. While at the gym, focused on our workout, exercising our due diligence, tracking our sets, extending our reps, meticulously timing the periods of rest between each set, pushing our bodies to that sweet ache that tells us we’ve reached the point when the real progress is about to begin....when suddenly there comes a loud, earth-rattling, metallic crash that would rival the thunderclap of Thor’s hammer.


There’s no need to look around. We know where it’s coming from. Macho guy has just lifted an impressive amount of weight and, once complete (whether he succeeded or failed is irrelevant), has sent it plummeting to the floor. 


Why? Why? Why?

Now, was that really necessary? Those weights were coming down anyway. Gravity does not need the extra help. 


Is it some kind of macho thang (not a typo; this is definitely a “thang,” not a thing)?


Is he showing off? I’d think the lift alone would earn him more than enough swagger points.


Is it a cry for attention? Well, that’s a matter between little Hercules and his analyst.


As far as I’m concerned (and most of the people I talk to at the gym agree) it’s totally unnecessary, not to mention costly, considering the damage caused by the constant collision between weights and floor.


The Macho Lifter’s rationalization

Now, there are weights out there designed to take this kind of punishment: Bumper plates. Made almost entirely of rubber, bumper plates can be dropped, for the most part, with less fear of damaging the weights or the floor.


However, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should, especially in a public setting. 


Guys who work out with their own equipment learn soon enough that even the best bumper plates and the sturdiest of platforms will wear out faster under the constant slamming. So they refrain from the practice.


And if you wouldn’t do it to your own equipment, why inflict that abuse on the weights at the gym just because they don’t belong to you?


Undue influence

I believe part of the problem stems from what we see on television. We are, after all, a media-induced society. Seeing all those competitive lifters drop their weights, not to mention watching the televised antics of athletes in other sports—touchdown celebrations in football, excessive prancing after a monster dunk in basketball—seems to encourage some sort of exaggerated gesture after a herculean effort.


It goes without saying (although I feel I must say it, anyway) these overblown high jinks will not make you a better weightlifter. Neither will they make you a more accomplished athlete, nor a more confident man.


So come on, do you really want to be that guy?

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