Recently someone I follow on Instagram and admire for his talent and coaching skill in powerlifting posted a rant on a subject I have bitched about in the past as well, and brought up some old themes that I thought were dying out but perhaps are still alive and well. So I figured I would wow you guys with my own rant about basically the same shit, in my own long-winded and rambling way.
So, this month, I bring you
STFU AND LIFT, PRINCESS, NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR BUTT-HURT
When I started powerlifting, I thought I was home.
In my mind, it was a rebel’s sport…..for outsiders, loners, misanthropes, those who didn’t fit in with polite society.
I mean, look at these people, they were filthy with chalk and sweat, banging weights, grunting, and lumbering around the gym like barely-leashed mad gorillas. (ok clearly, I was buying into a stereotype, but let’s be real, that is sorta what the heart of real powerlifting is, at least in its aura…..that sounds weird….soul? idk. Stfu.)
Here was a sport where respect was earned, and given, based solely on performance…..how much could you lift, how heavy was the weight, across three lifts (adjusted for body weight, but you get the picture).
It was so simple.
There were rules, and as long as you stuck to the rules, the playing field was level. There were no politics, no gray areas, and it was one person, three lifts, and your performance determined your rank in a field of lifters.
So clear cut, so drama-free, so easy…..right???!?
Instead I found out powerlifting and the powerlifters in the sport are like any other “group”, subscribing in many cases to the same group-think, psychology, and jockeying for position among the ranks based on not just performance and rank, but also on who you know, who you blow (applying to male and female lifters, I just like the saying), and what clique you can find your way into.
Also, in jockeying for position, there is a very annoying trend among some lifters to try to showcase or enhance their lifts by finding ways to discredit other lifters’ performance…..what do I mean?
Well, just log onto the cesspool of villainy and pettiness called Facebook and look at some of the drivel being passed down as ways to discount other lifters as opposed to oneself:
Sumo is cheating
Large arches are cheating
Women(and men) who use “hard” PED’s are cheating
A beltless lift is more commendable than a belted one
Geared lifting is “laughable” and should not exist
A walked-out raw squat is the only “real” squat.
I could go on, but these are some of the main arguments I see in the powerlifting community (I use community loosely, because if powerlifting was a neighborhood:
We would be shitting on each other’s lawns on the sly
Cutting each others’ cable wires in the dead of night
Poisoning each others’ pets
And calling in infractions on each other to the neighborhood office 400 times a day).
Is it all bad?
NO, OF COURSE NOT.
Lots of lifters I know and respect are awesome people and never engage in the kind of wanton pettiness I see on the regular.
But the voices of those who whine and try to divide out who is “better” are so loud they sometimes hide the fact that a large number in the sport are just hardworking, good people, who respect others regardless of federation or type of lifting, gear used (or not used), etc.
They often keep to themselves, work hard, and are a silent majority, which leaves that noisy minority to skew the view of others of what powerlifting really is.
Anyway, I digress.
So let’s rant, shall we?
1: Sumo is cheating
This statement insinuates that sumo is somehow “easier” than conventional, and those who sumo deadlift are taking the “easy way out” and getting higher numbers than they deserve.
One: sumo is NOT CHEATING.
There is NOT ONE SINGLE FED, tested or untested, that does not allow sumo deadlifting.
Sumo is NOT EASY.
Technically, it is much harder than conventional deadlifting to get right. It also is hell on the hips, whereas I found conventional to be harder on the low back, so it is not like it “hurts less” either.
And seriously, guys….if you are a conventional zealot, chasing a total like everyone else, and tried a round of sumo lifting and added 50-100lbs to your deadlift, just by SWITCHING STYLES, don’t fucking tell me you wouldn’t do it in .002 seconds, CAUSE YOU WOULD.
And if you didn’t, you’d be a moron.
The whole point of powerlifting is to get THE HEAVIEST LIFTS POSSIBLE, TO CREATE THE BIGGEST TOTAL POSSIBLE, BY ANY MEANS ALLOWED IN THE RULE BOOK.
For fucks sake, if I could sumo and add even 15lbs to my deadlift overnight I would do it, and probably be willing to run over my grandma with a Zamboni if needed as well.
2: Large arches are “cheating”.
You would quibble and whine about someone who can maximize their form and performance WITHIN THE RULES to get a bigger bench?!?!?
Shut it, really.
The whole point of an arch is to reduce ROM to allow a heavier bench press. If I could do the bendy-spine roll-up of some lifters I would give my left ovary. You would too.
3: Women, (and men for that matter), who choose to or can afford to use more and “harder” PED’s are cheating.
PED’s are not illegal in untested feds…..(ok, they are illegal in the broader world, but that is an ethics talk I am not even gonna get into, cause my morals are flexible), so if someone wants to pin a Pringles-can-size syringe of test, have at it.
And if it is a woman using, I see arguments from men/women about WHAT they use…..so there are women who use just Anavar, and that is seen as ok, but when a woman adds test, tren, deca, etc. she is suddenly “cheating”.
Ok, guys, PED’s are PED’s and once they are illegal, there are not some societally MORE illegal than others. And they are ALL ok in untested feds.
So, if you make the choice, as a woman, to NOT use certain drugs, or to only use certain amounts, THEN DON’T BITCH ABOUT WOMEN WHO CHOOSE TO USE MORE. YOU have chosen not to use more, and if that plateaus your progress on some level, that is a foreseeable part of that decision.
Also: I can tell you, from personal experience and based on my knowledge of other lifters, male and female, that if you think AMOUNT OF DRUGS ALONE, OR TYPE OF DRUGS ALONE, is what gives someone a far higher total than you or someone else, YOU ARE WAY WRONG.
Often the best lifters are on way less than you assume. They are often just genetically gifted, have great coaching, a great work ethic, and are just superior athletes BEFORE THEY TAKE A SINGLE DRUG.
If it was as easy as dumping in gear, then anyone could be Dan Green, Crystal Tate, or Eddy Coan……and obviously we all know that is not the case.
4: Beltless lifts are better than belted lifts.
Ok, yes, you can probably lift a little more weight with a belt on, although some would debate this.
I know it holds true for me, at least.
But that does not mean because one lifter chooses not to use a belt for a deadlift that they are automatically “stronger” or a “more respectable” lifter.
Someone pulling 500 as a female is strong as fuck, whether she has a damn belt on or not.
That’s a monster lift.
Who cares about the belt?!?!
Actually the same argument can be made for walked-out vs. mono squats.
Hell yes you can squat more from a mono….and yes a 500 squat walked out is more impressive, even to me, than a 500 out of a mono.
But, both are catalogued the same way, on Powerlifting Watch, at least for now….so someone using a mono is utilizing an advantage that is ALLOWED. If you are a walking-out squatter and REALLY have an issue with it, USE THE MONO, GET THE BIGGER NUMBER.
If you don’t want to do that, there is no point bitching about people who do use the mono.
I get your gripe, I really do, but if both are catalogued the same way, and the point is to get the heaviest lift you can, and someone uses the mono, yay for them (and yes in all but one meet I have done I have used a mono, but I would make this same argument if I walked out squats in meets.)
5: Geared lifting vs. raw lifting…..
I have never seen so universal a whipping boy as geared lifting is among raw lifters.
Seriously, us raw folks act like geared lifters came into our houses at 2:00 a.m. and cut the heads off our cats, shit on our grandma’s chests, then pissed in our cereal boxes.
It’s like geared lifters are some kind of public enemy number one, tarnishing the esteemed reputation of powerlifting for all time (hint: we don’t have an esteemed reputation, 99% of the population doesn’t give a fuck what we do, don’t do, or complain about).
For fuck’s sake, leave geared lifting alone.
To me they are a completely different animal of lifting.
They are powerlifting, to be sure, and are actually the father of all powerlifting, but they are not the same as raw, and should not be held to raw standards.
If they want to 2-3 white a parallel squat, awesome, as long as they are judging fairly across that standard in GEARED LIFTING as a whole.
I don’t care if your 1000 lbs. squat was right at, or just below, parallel.
I could never do that shit.
To me raw lifters bitching about geared lifting is like apples bitching about oranges not being apples.
Stfu, THEY’RE ORANGES. LET THEM DO THEIR ORANGE STUFF. It’s not less than apple stuff, or better than, it’s just ORANGE.
OK so I have bitched in moaned first in general, and then in nicely numbered subsets, which basically means you have been braised in my bitching.
I don’t have to tell you that these are my OPINIONS, not facts.
And we have all heard the saying “opinions are like assholes, everyone has one”….and let me tell you, I have like 1,000,000 assholes.
So don’t get all upset if you see yourself somewhere in this article.
We have all been there.
Hell, I have done this petty shit in my lifting career, bitched about someone having some advantage I do not have…..the lesson here is, to recognize that shit for what it is…..jealousy, spite, and an attempt to elevate or legitimize your own lifts at the cost of others.
And then KNOCK IT OFF.
After all, this is still an individual performance sport (you need support and a crew obviously, and it is a community), but in the end it is JUST YOU on the platform…..and you can only improve your own lifts with your own effort.
It doesn’t really matter, at the end of the day, what the fuck anyone else is doing. So keep your head down, work hard, and let your results speak for themselves.
Omfg longest column EVER. YOU ALL HAVE MY PERMISSION TO SHOOT ME.