Enablers: Uh Oh, There’s a Girl Deadlifting

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Saturdays tend to be our busiest (as well as our most “diverse”) day at CP. Within any given hour, you can walk in and witness some of our professional athletes training right alongside some of our college/high school athletes.

Moreover, it’s also the day when the vast majority our women come in to train as well, which coincidentally, is the one day out of the week they can actually throw some stuff around, listen to my mother never loved me music, and get after it.

During the rest of the week, however, many of the women are on their own following the programs that either myself, Brian, or Eric write for them. Not surprisingly, they’re often limited with what they can do at their regular gyms (equipment wise), but nonetheless, we’re still able to write effective programming to help them reach their goals.

That being the case, it’s not uncommon for some of the ladies to e-mail me throughout the week to touch base on anything from an article they read in some magazine to questions they may have on their program, or to just brag that they hit a new personal best on a particular lift (which I always love). As well, on occasion, I also receive e-mails like this one:

Today I set off a “lunk-alarm”. I wasn’t making any noise or slamming weights, but rather, doing sumo deadlifts. Apparently it is the policy that deadlifts are not allowed at this gym. Rather than…oh, I don’t know…giving me a polite heads up as to this rule, they PULLED THE LUNK ALARM. Humiliation ensued.

I will concede, however, that in the definition of “lunk” it states “one who judges”. Oh I judge….FULL of judgement, this girl. grrrrrrrrrrrrr

Yep, that’s right. No deadlifts allowed. It’s amazing to me how much the industry enables this mentality that women shouldn’t (can’t????) lift heavy things. I realize, in this case, the rule applies to men as well. But I can’t help but recognize how ass-backwards this is.

This isn’t to say that I don’t understand why the “lunk alarm” exists. I get it. I mean lets be honest, sometimes it’s hard to ascertain whether that noise we hear across the training floor is a guy training or someone giving birth to a rhinoceros.

But come on. To make an example out of someone who’s making a concerted effort to better herself by purposely setting off the alarm because she’s deadlifting?

To her credit, she’s not some newbie who’s timid about lifting weights in the first place. She regularly lifts weights three to four times per week. But lets say, for example, that this was a girl who, after being brainwashed by the likes of Oprah and US Weekly for years on end- told to lift light weights for high reps so as not to become big and bulky- finally decided to read The New Rules of Lifting for Women.

As a result, she garners up enough courage to walk into the free weight area and, you know, train. To say that it’s intimidating is an understatement. Dudes reeking of rotten onions, walking around with invisible water jugs underneath their arms, yelling “it’s all you, just the pinkies, it’s all you” at each other. It’s not an easy environment to walk into.

She places a bar on the ground (no different than picking up a heavy bag of groceries mind you) and picks it up.


Trainer Douchey McDouchington sets off the alarm and completely humiliates her in front of everyone. Really? Why? And don’t tell me it’s because deadlifts are dangerous. To steal a line from Dan John: driving without a seat belt is dangerous. Deadlifts, are not.

What are the odds that this (hypothetical) girl will end up right back on the elliptical machine? My guess is pretty high. I just don’t get it. It seems many in the industry are just a bunch of cynical enablers. With regards to this particular establishment (HINT: It rhymes with Worst Gym, Ever!), it’s pretty ironic that their way of dealing with “judgement” is to point fingers and call someone out. Pathetic.

This is, in large part, why we started the women’s only training group at CP. Why do women gravitate towards yoga and pilates? Camaraderie. Well that, and the whole intimidation factor that comes with free weight training. That being the case, twice per week, women can come in and learn (the right way) to strength train. And it’s no coincidence that many of them get stronger, leaner, and more confident than ever before. Too, we actually encourage them to make some noise. Fire up the ABBA!!!!!

Did what you just read make your day? Ruin it? Either way, you should share it with your friends and/or comment below.

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

I don’t share email information. Ever. Because I’m not a jerk.

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