There is something terrifyingly honest about weight plates. You can delude yourself with a lot of the machines in a gym, with most of them removing about 5% of the weight for every pully that is on the contraption. Yet when you deadlift 405lbs, you have moved 405lbs; and you know it.
At Irrational we use weights for both rehab purposes, as well as extremely high stress loading in the form of heavy lifting. I mean someone might sneak in a tricep kickback or two while we aren’t looking, but for the most part if people only play with the real amounts of weight then this usually doesn’t happen. Most people are just happy to get a chance to stare at the weights slightly bug eyed as they wait for the next set to begin, if there is space sometimes they lie on the floor and think of their happy place; somewhere well away from the weights. Regardless of how much lifting weights might hurt, the lifts are equally rewarding. There is something satisfying about collapsing after finishing a set of 260lb weighted lunges, or of pushing that damned bar from your chest to the rack regardless of how many plates are lashed to the ends of it.
Heavy weights, complex lifts. At Irrational we squat, lunge, dead-lift, bench-press, and toss in our olympic lifts. Where remedial work is required we make use of isolation work to both rehab and balance out the body. However the body is a whole unit, it is not a collection of parts, and we train it with that in mind.
Getting kicked out
We are proud to acknowledge both our trainers and many of our clients that have gotten themselves kicked out of cookie-cutter-McGyms. This is not to say that we encourage being insolent, but we are happy to give a congratulations to the crazies out there who continue to do there best to make gyms their own. If you have anything really good to add to our list let us know. We might even send you a t-shirt if the story is good enough. This is the top ten list of our favorite reasons for getting kicked out of gyms, in no particular order.
• Using chalk while doing heavy rows and deadlifts.
• Duct-taping additional plates to dumb-bells to get the coveted 150lbers.
• Dislocates on the cable machines.
• Hanging rings off of pretty much anything to do dips, levers, and other statics.
• Going bare-foot.
• Hand-stands on the dip station [ed note: If gyms had parallel bars this wouldn’t happen].
• Dropping dead-lifts.
• Turning the music up really loud after convincing the girls who work at the gym to play your music.
• For some reason dipping belts with anything remotely close to four plates makes people nervous.
• Any kind of floor acrobatics.
Things worth knowing
We like garage gyms. Now we understand that not everyone has the funds or space to build their own gym, and many people simply need to be going somewhere to get themselves in the exercise mode. This is fair. However if you decide that you are looking to build a home gym, or perhaps are wanting to figure out what you could get at home for exercising with, let us know. We would be happy to give pointers or ideas for building home gyms. There are countless web resources that offer excellent ideas, Crossfit and Beast Skills both showcase some of the best home gyms around.