Straight to the Bar

All Things Strength


Ode To The Casual Lifter
Written By : SttB Guest
Filed In : Articles

casual (adjective): lacking a high degree of interest or devotion
Source: Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

Hello, Mr. Casual Lifter. You might not enjoy hearing this, but trust me, it needs to be said. I kept my mouth shut for too long.
I see you, over there in the squat rack, doing your partial-rep cheat curls, not realizing that the biceps is one of the smallest muscle groups in the entire human body. I notice when you gawk at me like I have three heads, while you are wasting your time in the leg press machine and I am getting stronger doing the basic, compound lifts, like the deadlift, squat, standing press, and power clean.
You are the one who wears workout gloves while my hands get tougher from using just chalk. Yes, my callouses sometimes rip and my hands bleed, but that’s O.K. because what does not kill me, makes me stronger. You are the guy who cannot comprehend doing a workout without wearing a tanktop or wifebeater, even during the coldest day of the winter, to show off the “guns”.
You lift to impress other people and get laid, while I lift to challenge myself and get strong. You enjoy staring at the sexy girls on the treadmills, whereas I primarily consider them a distraction.
You tend to be a seasonal lifter, mainly going to the gym when it is warm so you can prepare for spring break in Cancun. I, on the other hand, do not differentiate between the seasons; I train at the gym or outside my house when it is hot or cold, summer or winter, and anything in between.
You choose exercises and lifts that are easy, painless, and do not really tax the body; I choose those which are difficult, painful, and brutal. When using weights, you almost always do everything either prone or seated rather than standing. If it is a choice between a machine or free weight, you will opt for the machine. You do not see the point in training anything except your chest, abs, and biceps, because they are the muscle groups visible in your mirror.
Mr. Casual Lifter, I know I was a little hard on you, but now I have a few simple bits of advice for you so you do not continue to waste your time in the gym. Read a few good books on the subject of strength training, like Dinosaur Training, written by Brooks Kubik, and MILO, the quarterly strength journal, published by IronMind. Do a little research on what worked for the old-timers like Saxon, Sandow, Steinborn, Breitbart, Inch, and Hackenschmidt. Ask questions when you see a more experienced guy in the gym. Experiment with different types of lifts, training methods, and routines. Go online to websites such as EliteFTS, CrossFit, and Straight To The Bar.
The above advice applies not only to the casual lifter, but to everyone. Never stop learning and stay strong.

Over to you. Drop us a line on Twitter ( @scottbird ), or add a comment below.



NB : if you love talking about strength-training as much as I do, you might also like to check out the weekly newsletter (there's also a daily version available). A regular dose of fitness-focussed discussions, absolutely free.


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Straight to the Bar is the online home of fitness enthusiast Scott Bird, and looks at the many training approaches, essential techniques, uncommon exercises and superb equipment to help you become as strong as humanly possible. In short, this site is the home of all things strength.

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Written By SttB Guest
This is an article from one of our guest authors. If you'd like to join them and submit the occasional piece, let us know.
Drawing of Scott Andrew Bird performing a deadlift. Artwork by Vince Palko.