I rolled into the back of the gym the other day — the back room, full of dumbbells and racks, is the part that separates the Men from the Here ‘Cause My Doctor Said I Hafta crowd — and found His Royal P-ness coaching the Body Shop Guys on how to do deadlifts off the shrug rack.
For those who find this paragraph entirely opaque, there is something of an elucidation here. Let’s just say that the gym management, in the name of some sort of Harrison Bergeron democracy of exercise, has progressively removed equipment that would allow people to do ambitious lifts, and Your Humble Servant has been skulking right behind contriving schemes to thwart their restrictions. I’ve been doing my proscribed deadlifts, with belt and wrist straps, off the platform of a little-used shrug machine for a couple of years now.
The Body Shop Guys are a midday crew with thighs for arms, lots of tats and a general air of blue-collar lethality. You can imagine any one of them turning you inside out in some parking lot. They dodge over here on their lunch hour from the Ford dealership across the street and lift like bastards for about 45 minutes, then book. His Royal P-ness, approaching sixty, reverend with the credentials of a couple dozen physique competitions, is their Yoda.
I stepped up quietly behind him. “I see my method’s been adopted,” I said drily.
He had added a minor innovation, a metal stepstool burgled from the chinning bar and used as a prop for loading the bar with weights for the deadlifters.
“Leave ninety-five on it for me,” I said before going back to my warmups. It’s nice to know you’ve contributed to a culture.