In 2010 I started Crossfit. After a little while on the program, I thought that I knew a lot about strength training.
I would do the workouts at my local, ‘regular’ gym. Very few people in there were ever squatting, deadlifting, or doing circuits. No one would snatch.
There was one older guy who was different. He had obviously been strength training for years; he was built like a truck.
I didn’t exactly know what exercises he was always doing. I sometimes thought that his range of motion wasn’t complete, and that his style of working out was boring – not as cool as mine.
One day, was squatting in the rack. I unloaded one side of the barbell completely, instead of evenly removing one plate from each side at a time.
The bar went down heavy on one side, and completely rotated the empty side over, crashing loudly – and dangerously – onto the equipment nearby.
The older strongman was close by. I apologized profusely. I realized afterwards that I could have killed someone. A 40 LB iron barbell whipping around at speed could easily crack a skull.
The strongman just looked at me and shook his head in disgust. He never said a word.
I’ve been strength training for about eight years now, and, although I’m no longer a true beginner, as each year goes by, I see how much more there is to learn at the highest levels.
It’s wise to speak to people at your gym who are stronger than you. Most of the time, if they’ve been training for years, they’ve got something you can learn from.
Unloading the barbell incorrectly is a mistake I’ll never make again.
But, my other mistake that year was not asking a man with thirty years of training experience for advice.