I was getting in a workout at a local Fitness First gym when a random, skinny-fat, annoyingly over-confident Personal Trainer appears out of nowhere and asks:
Why do you use such loose form?
Me: You think my form is ‘loose’?
Trainer: Yes. You aren’t controlling it.
Me: Well, it’s a 200kg barbell! Nobody in the world does anything with a 200kg barbell that’s ‘loose’.
Trainer: I mean, you’re not controlling the weight slowly.
Me: That’s because it’s a 200kg barbell!
Trainer: Well why don’t you reduce the weight?
Me: Because I’m training to lift the weight!
Trainer: But it’s too heavy.
Me: How is it too heavy when you saw me lift it 10 times!?
Trainer: But you didn’t do it properly.
Me: What wasn’t proper about it?
Trainer: It wasn’t slow and controlled.
Me: Look, what I’m doing is called weight training. I’m not doing slow training. I’m not doing Tai Chi. I’m training to lift weight because I want muscle and moving weight is what muscles do.
Trainer: But wouldn’t you be better off lowering the weight and working on your form?
Me: I already did that. I started very light and practiced beautiful rows. They were called ‘warm up’ sets.
Trainer: That’s not what I mean.
Me: So what do you mean?
Trainer: I mean you should be working more on your form.
Me: But I’m very happy with my form. I’ve been training 23 years. I’ve worked on it a lot! I can row with any form I like. I can row as slow as I want too. By lifting stupidly heavy weights fast I can lift lighter weights with any form or speed I want. But doing slow, light rows won’t give me the ability to do heavy, explosive rows. So I don’t do it. I don’t need to work on my form or slowness with light weights because I already can do that. The thing I need to work on is moving weight. That’s what I’m doing.
Why don’t you reduce the weight? Because I’m training to lift the weight!
Trainer: [looking confused] but you aren’t working your back properly when you use loose form.
Me: Really? So what am I working when I’m bent over and pulling a 200kg bar upwards then?
Trainer: Well you’re just using momentum
Me: OK. And where do you think that momentum came from?
Trainer: I don’t know? It’s just momentum.
Me: [stunned speechless]… Well, if you say so?… I have nothing to say if that’s what you think?
Trainer: I just mean your form is loose. You are just throwing it up and down.
Me: Look! I did what you are saying. I lifted light and pretty. It was called warming up. Then I did more weight because that’s the purpose of weight training. You think I would become more capable of lifting heavier weights by never lifting heavy weights at all?
Trainer: Hmmmm… yes!
Me: Oh really? Because that’s what worked so spectacularly for you?
Trainer: [proudly] yes it has! I put on 5kg last year.
Me: Wow! So you can row this 200kg then?
Trainer: No. That’s too heavy.
Me: Uh huh. What if I took a plate off each side?
Trainer: No. That’s still too heavy
Me: Right. So have you ever even SEEN anybody row 200kg?
Trainer: …. Um, no. But you weren’t rowing it properly!
Me: But you want to tell me how to row 200kg properly even though you’ve never seen it done and can’t lift even half that training your way????
Actually, never mind. I apologise for my sarcasm. Thank you for your advice. If I ever want to look like you I’ll know to reduce my weights by 3/4. In fact, you have really made me think about my training and, on the basis of your recommendation, I am going to change the weight and my form. I’m going to 220kg to do some absolutely disgusting reps!