You really can’t progress with a mind wide-shut

Coming off from a significant time-off isn’t easy. It surely hasn’t been easy for me. Particularly from a training perspective. I’ve been trying my best to survive my workouts for the past few weeks. Of course, the focus has changed from strength (low-reps, more sets… think more weight) to hypertrophy (high-reps, medium sets… think muscles) but it isn’t any less forgiving.

During my time away from the gym, its management hired a couple of new trainers. Nice chaps. I had a great chat with both of them the other day. It’s nice to see these young lads passionately committing themselves to a life of service without going into the military or civil services (thank god!).

Earlier this morning, I had a strange conversation with one of the new trainers who caught me right after my first low-bar squat warm-up set (with an empty barbell) and said, “hey, I think you’re leaning horizontally and not vertically.” I was taken aback because I’d not even started the my actual set and this dude already thinks I’m doing it all wrong!

I asked him, “what do you think I’m trying to do here?”
Him: “Squats, of course!”
Me: “And where do you think was the bar placed?”
Him: “I was just telling you that you were leaning over and that’s not how we do it.”
Me: “Sure, I understand. But where do you think was the bar placed? Above the traps? Or below the traps?”
Him: “How does it matter?”
Me: “Well, you’re the trainer. So, I believe you are observant enough to know where the bar was. Right?”

I tried to explain the mechanics of our body and how the bar placement affects the movement (squat). Just one challenge, as soon as I started to explain I noticed his face going blank. He’d stopped listening. For real. He was just looking at me and just not taking anything I was saying. I stopped. Had too. I’m not a moron to waste my time giving a highly valuable lecture on squat mechanics to a wall.

I asked, “listen, I think you’ve closed your mind and there’s no point in discussing this further.”

He remarked sarcastically, “No, no, Sir. I don’t know anything, Sir.”

“Well, that’s the point. Thanks or your concern. I’ll see you later.”

While the conversation may have prematurely ended, he didn’t stop giving me the stink-eye all through the session. He even stopped his fellow trainers and whispered about the incident while nodding at my direction. It was irritating.

I’m, however, glad that it happened. It was a powerful reminder about the difference between someone who’s on the way to booming incompetent and someone who’s already made it to the top leagues. The latter got there by learning from the experienced, the radical and even the newbies. And they’re still learning. The incompetent, however, believe in learning just one time and close their minds forever.

But there’s hope — perhaps, someday (as long as I’m a member at this gym) I will be able to make him understand the why’s, what’s and how’s of squat mechanics. Until then, I’ll keep low-bar squatting. 😉

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