I Can’t.

Ok, now squat down, no, you need to sit back. No, further than that.

“I can’t”

Yes, yes you can. You’re doing it, that’s one rep, now just a bit further down on the next one.

“I can’t do another one”

Yes you can, besides, how do you know you can’t if you don’t try?

“This is too heavy, I can’t do this”

No, it’s not too heavy, it’s an empty bar, you can do it. Now just 3 more reps and you’ll have a set of 5.

And with that, she racks the bar. Now I started out today feeling ok. Slight hint of a headache rumbling around the back of my head, and my shirt a bit uncomfortable on the sunburn I got yesterday, which is also probably related to the headache, too much sun does that to me. But on the whole, not a bad morning, I have certainly felt much worse. But I can feel the situation starting to raise my blood pressure. I can feel my temper getting a little short.

“There is just no way I can do that huge bar. Can’t I just hold a dumbell or something?”

No. You are perfectly able to do this 45 pound bar. You just have to do it, just keep going for 5 reps.

“It really hurts, you just don’t understand.”

Sigh. I try to keep my mouth from opening, because, at this point this is what I am thinking. No dear, I probably don’t understand. I have squatted for 25 years or so, and taught hundreds and hundreds, maybe thousands of other people to do so, but no, I suppose I do not understand. None of that qualifies me to understand a person so absolutely WEAK MINDED that they will work harder to convince themselves and others that they cannot do something than they are willing to work to actually do it. But I don’t say any of that. Instead, I tell her “It’s normal to feel a little discomfort since you are not used to doing this. But it will be ok, just make your mind up to do 5 reps in a row without racking the bar and it will be over with before you know it.”

“No, I’m telling you, you just dont understand how heavy this is, it’s much to heavy for me to do”

My headache is starting to pound, evidence that my blood pressure is now probably in the danger zone. No you cute little vacuous thing, I do understand how a squat feels. What I do not understand is being in you’re 30’s and not having a job, getting up at 10 or 11am every day, watching soap operas all afternoon or having Mimosas for lunch on a reqular basis. I also do not understand how someone who claims they go to the gym for an hour 4 or 5 days a week can have such a complete lack of muscle that they weigh 110lbs and yet probably have bodyfat over the 30% mark, and cannot squat an empty bar. You, on the other hand, have intimate knowledge of all these things. I manage to keep my mouth shut, then ask her to try one more time.

“Well I’ll try once more, but after i get a drink.”

As she walks away to the water fountain I run a steady stream of synonyms through my head… puerile, banal, insipid, vapid, by the time I get to jejune she is back, and with much prodding and coaxing she completes 5 reps, no single one of which was hard enough to prevent her from keeping up a steady stream of griping and whining or hard enough to force any visible signs of effort, and ends with multiple protestations that she cannot do ANY more today.

I fight the urge to tear arms and legs off of torsos and decide that I wont be able to continue to resist the urge if we go ahead and try to do the 3 sets that I had planned. We call it a day, because right now I want to be anywhere in the world other than right here, right now, showing this person how to squat.

That, my friends, was a rant. My rant. My very, very well deserved rant.

I included the picture of Spencer because of his cool outfit, his apparent ability to levitate 90kg with mental power alone, and the fact that he never, ever say “I can’t”. Especially when it comes to squatting.


7 responses to “I Can’t.

  • Marco Millul

    Never said “I can’t” to a loaded bar. Failed to lift it? Sure. Backed off before trying? No way.

    I just can’t stand the kind of attitude the girl had, more so when I personally know several women in their 60’s who can outsquat many guys in their 20’s.

    How did you had her not using a pad?

  • Warren

    You been training my woman Glenn??

  • Justin Thacker

    Awesome stuff, I feel your pain for sure! Spencer’
    s shirt is sweet, reminds me of Tom Gough…

  • Umar Sherbaz

    This is probably the rant of every professional fitness trainer/coach. We go through this routine day in and day out. I hear you man.
    Umar Sherbaz

  • anon

    Oh cool my sister must have dropped by Cal Strength.

  • Links We Love, 8/3/2011

    […] of Being FemaleA breakdown of how much the average woman spends on a lifetime of basic health care.Glenn Pendlay — Deep Thoughts, and Some Not So DeepAn Olympic weightlifting coach shares his thoughts on the phrase “I can’t.”Meat Eater’s […]

  • Gijs

    I stopped being a trainer in a commercial gym for that kind of krap! Now I just train powerlifters and strongman in my own facility never that shit again.

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