Each night around 7 pm, a pack of dudes converge on your teeny family-friendly Y, swarming the dumbbell chamber, leaking into the leg press zone, reclining on unused pieces of equipment, somehow absorbing other dudes – even the seemingly quiet ones – through meathead phagocytosis (they all know each other!), their mass expanding, filling the small room with macho sloganeering and Drake songs that blare from tinny Bluetooth speakers, irrevocably altering the environment and alienating all uncertain exercisers thinking about overcoming their free-weight anxiety.
And there's always some guy lounging on the chest fly machine. Just sitting there. Sweating. You want to do some flyes, but he never leaves! Is it the same guy? A different guy? An older guy? A younger guy? You don't know. You can't tell them apart. A few piles of chopped chicken breast, unseasoned, in stringy tank tops dripping all over the vinyl cushions between their bench press sets. Do their swamp ass stains ever really evaporate? you wonder.
How did weightlifting culture get so brazen? So annoying? So hyper 'macho'?
Corporations branding a fucking subculture and supplying endless accessories for participating in and demonstrating that you participate in that subculture. But, bro, weightlifting is no longer a subculture. It is culture. Bodybuilding.com is the 298th most-visited website in the United States.
Until Arnold sat on a weight bench engorging his bis to achieve the orgasmic pump he talks about in Pumping Iron, bodybuilding certainly qualified as a subculture. Buncha weirdos in dungeons raising chunks of metal and tugging squeaky cables. Pumping Iron changed the game, inspiring men to inflate those pecs, to swell those tris, to load up those delts, to expand those lats, to screw the legs, to fuck the squats, to achieve that big beefy symmetrical upper body. To get that sacred sexy manly V from shoulders to waist.
Companies target insecurity and offer corrective experiences: Powder drink mixes named Xplode and Shotgun. Tapered black t-shirts with sarcastic slogans in bold white lettering. The perfect lifting shoes. New and exciting ways to consume Protein. PROTEIN. PROTEIN.
Maybe you don't need all that. Maybe you just need a pair of sneakers, a cup of coffee, a water bottle, some weights and an adjustable bench for busting out:
- Seated Arnold shoulder press (on bench with back support) 4 set of 10 reps. Rest for one minute between sets. Increase the weight for each new set. Challenge yourself.
- Rest two minutes
- Drop that bench flat for dumbbell bench press. 4 sets of 12 reps. Rest for one minute between sets. Increase the weight for each new set.
- Rest one minute.
- Raise the bench to a 60 degree incline. Lay on the bench face first. Perform lateral flyes. We're working the delts again, bad boy. 4 sets of 12 reps. Rest for one minute between sets. Increase the weight for each new set. Fight to raise those dumbbells up around ear-level. Don't let those arms flail down by your waist you like you're The Rocketeer in flight.
Boom. There ya go. Siddon 'at bench and get to work, buddy. Ya don't need all that other shit to get ripped. OK? Work hard. Eat your meat and your eggs, your soybeans or black beans if you're a vegan. Don't be obnoxious about it.