This multi-part literary masterpiece will take you through my lifting experiences in some of the best European and Asian “Combat Zone” gyms available to the troops. Although the war is nearly over, there may be a few people out there who could still benefit from this information. If you know them, pass it on to them.
Stop Number One – Mihail Kogălniceanu Base, Romania.
(While not technically a gym in Afghanistan, it is still a gym most Americans will encounter on their trip to Afghanistan.)
Facility – 4 of 5 stars. It’s a metal building with concrete floors and is somewhat climate controlled. This may seems pretty standard for someone who hasn’t been deployed with the military, but for those who have, it is almost like lifting in a palace. Gone are the days of hotasfuck tents with uneven wooden floors or the bombed out buildings with weights made from blown up vehicles and rebar. There was even a basketball court attached, but who the fuck wants to play basketball?
Equipment – 2 of 5 stars. The equipment looked like a cross between something you buy at Dick’s Sporting goods and a 24 Fitness which was sponsored by Hammer Strength. About 80 percent of the approximately 2000 square feet of “Free Weight” area consisted of various worthless Hammer Strength machines. The bars were about 30mm thick and made of some sort of really cheap steel. No whip, almost no spin, knurling flattened smooth. They made a strange metallic sound when rolled. There were 4 – 20 kilo bumpers and 2 – 15 kilo bumpers, that’s it. The 15 kilo bumpers were only about 10 inches in diameter. I use the term bumpers loosely, as they were really just rubber coated versions of the plates you see at 24 hour fitness. The remainder of the plates were the atrocious 8 sided plates which make deadlifting and other movements unsafe. They did have a nice set of kettlebells and some rings hung from a beam. So there is some potential for a decent functional fitness style workout. The single reason this gym is two stars instead of one in the equipment category is the single weightlifting platform. Its rubber is degraded and falling apart. But it has an old school Marine Corps Logo painted onto the wooden surface. I have never seen this in any gym before and it is definitely something I’m going to do on my next platform build. No chalk, better bring your own.
Rules – 2 of 5 stars. It was probably 3 minutes into my lifting session when I was told not to drop the weights by some 130 pound Romanian kid who was probably being paid 20 dollars a week by the US to run the weightroom. I respect the US Government’s use of underpaid local labor force whenever possible. If it weren’t for these third worlds work-a-holics we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the relatively low taxes we pay as Americans. You aren’t allowed to take your weapons in the gym. So you have to find your pussy friends who don’t lift to watch your weapons for you and pray some jihady motherfucker doesn’t decide to act out his holy war while you are squatting. Let a motherfucker interrupt my squatting with AK fire, I dare him. I don’t even know the other rules of this gym. Its just retarded to not be able to drop bumpers onto a platform. 2 0f 5 is probably as high as any gym with those rules will ever get.
Atmosphere – 3 of 5 stars. Since this is a transient base there are sometimes hundreds of people trying to use the gym at the same time. I was lifting at 3 am and there was still competition for the single platform. Don’t even try to use the gym in the morning hours, when whole units are occupying the gym for unit PT. There are always meathead Marines in there with horrible form, trying their hardest to impress the few female soldiers brave enough to work out in front of a platoon of grunts fresh off an Afghan deployment. And it’s always entertainment to watch gazelles line up at the watering hole in front of the lions.
I will be making stops throughout gyms in Afghanistan and if operational security allows me to write about them I will. If you have recommendations for gyms to write about, let me know. I will stop by if the timing is right. And you better hook me up with a free t-shirt or something, even though it will probably end up being a weapons cleaning rag.
For those of you so addicted to paying huge sums of money for little gainz, serious injuries, and making a mockery of strength…
THE SAF CROSSFIT BOARD GAME
1. Play with a normal 6 sided die.
2. Start the game with 200,000 dollars. Since you are most likely the wife of a white, upper-middle class professional or the child of one.
3. Any time you land on “Hero WOD” you lose all of your gainz and go back to the last time you paid your monthly dues.
4. There is no winner in this game. Everyone who plays is a loser.
By now you have seen the schedule for the 2014
World Series of Exercise, Rich White People Throwdown, Open. The excitement is probably too much to contain. Let me assure you… follow these steps and you will most certainly make it to regionals. Where you will get last place.
Getting Ready for the Open.
1. Get off the Steroids. HQ tests for roids. Sure, they test about .001 percent. And their testing doesn’t even catch most forms of PEDs. But you don’t want to take the chance. You will lose most of your off-season gains, but also lessen the chance of breaking your hand on your girlfriend’s face.
2. Quit your “strength” cycle. You don’t want to be too big and bulky when 14.1 is revealed to have pullups. Besides, it’s almost a guarantee there won’t be any squatting in the open.
3. Shirtless photos for the webpage. While you are at it, beef up those “PR” categories. No one will believe your 1:30 Fran if you put your true back squat of 250 pounds on your profile.
4. Start Stretching those Achilles. You know there will a workout containing 2,500 box jumps. If you step down, you lose. Pogo that shit. YOLO.
Anyone else hungry for spaghetti?
5. Make up your excuse for quitting now. After 14.3 is revealed to have snatches you will fall to 40,675th place in your region. Of course you aren’t going to finish the last two workouts… you will need a scapegoat. Torn AC joint is a good one. Maybe a pulled hammy.
6. Practice your filming angles. Your chin is no where over the bar on your butterfly pull-ups. But with some advanced camera angles, and incredibly low resolution recording settings, you will fool HQ.
7. Lure in the Talent. Every gym has one person who is marginally good at something. You must steal that person away with offers of free membership and a “For-Sure” ticket to regionals.
8. Last Resort…Move to Africa. People in Africa are dirt fucking poor. There are hardly any white people there. Africans don’t lift heavy, they run. And there is never running in the Open. Easy Win.
Leg presses are not functional… Africans suck at being fit.
P.S. I added a link to upcoming competitions where strength and athleticism will be correctly measured.
It’s Crossfit Games Open time… “Boxes” all over the country are starting their “Competitor’s” programming. Some “athletes” are even moving to another continent for an easier “regional”. Many “Coaches” will start the recruitment drive, since their own athletes are fucking failures. Obviously you should quit strength training and ramp up your “metconning”.
Sorry to the millions of you who think you are going to qualify for the games this year, but Sexyasfuck is going to be coaching the 2014 Crossfit Games Team of the Year. And that team is going to be coming out of the Asia Regional. More specifically, it will be coming out of Afghanistan. I’m getting deployed there in near future and since current rules of engagement prevent me from killing Taliban with extreme prejudice, I will be coaching them to a title victory instead.
Reasons why Crossfit Taliban is going to win.
1. Under Sharia Law most sports are banned. Crossfit is not a sport, nor does it contain any athletes. Crossfit is about “functional” activities. Nothing more functional than defending your home soil against the aggression of white foreigners.
Anti-Aircrafting… a favorite sport amongst the Taliban
2. The Taliban don’t have gated suburban homes to go back to. If the Taliban don’t win the games, they only have two possible courses of action. Wearing their Friday best with a vest of ball bearings and composition B underneath or death by US Hellfire missile strike whilst digging in their garden.
3. Like Crossfit, the Taliban doesn’t roid test. Hell, the Taliban encourage drug usage in the completion of Alah’s mission. Steroids are readily available in the loosely regulated pharmaceuticals industry in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They won’t have to risk a border crossing like so many of the SOCAL Crossfitters.
4. Pain and suffering is old hat to the Taliban. You think your 20 minute AMRAP is bad? The fucking Talibannies fought the British and won. Then they fought the Russians and won. They prevailed in a brutal civil war. Now they are beating NATO. They did it all without sponsorships from Rogue and Life as Rx. You got Rhabdo after a hero WOD? They fight with smallpox and dysentery. If you can fight whilst pissing out your asshole you are a tough motherfucker. Nuff said.
5. The Taliban activities closely mirror the bullshit “movements” in Crossfit.
a. Softball toss. They play “Throw acid in the face of the woman for time”.
b. Prowler Push. They push Recoiless Rifles up mountains.
Your prowler can’t kill from 2 clicks.
c. Hammer Swings. They dig IED holes.
d. Slam Balls. They drop 81mm mortar rounds.
These bannies are knackered after an AMRAP of mortar drops
e. Snatch. They do ground to overhead all day with giant bales of Marijuana.
f. Clean and Jerk. This is closely mirrored by lifting and carrying a US .50 Cal machine gun from an overran position.
g. Pullups. Taliban are expected to pull themselves up and over walls whilst wearing their kit. Also covers bar musle-ups.
h. Stone Loading. They lift boulders off of fallen comrades after drone missile strikes.
i. Burpees. Taliban are experts at jumping in and out of spider holes.
6. Taliban Diet is shit. Wait till I get them onto Paleo. It is clear Paleo eating is the way to go. I will provide them with KillCliff and almond butter. Imagine the results.
Deficiencies. Or, how you can help me with my goals.
1. Barbells and plates. Most of the metal in Afghanistan has been used in the construction of IEDs or sold as scrap. We will need a sponsor, preferably Eleiko, to provide us with some.
The current Taliban weight room is lacking in functional equipment
2. Jump Ropes. I suppose we could use detcord as a substitute for jump ropes, but the Taliban leadership would probably be angry with us. Instead we would like some ropes from Rx Jump Ropes. Someone hook that up.
3. GHD. This year I expect a crazy fucking GHD movement to make it’s way into the open. Maybe GHD bench press. Could it be GHD medball toss? Rogue should build us some custom GHDs. Please make them camouflage, as we don’t want the CF drones to spot them.
4. Women. For obvious reasons women over 10 years old are not allowed to participate in anything other than squirting out babies. To remedy this I will need some andro broads from the US who would be willing to move to Afghanistan and live without rights. This shouldn’t be a problem though, as most females in Crossfit would give up anything for a shot at the games.
Wow, what a week it has been for Rhabdo and Crossfit. My facebook, Twitter, IG, MySpace, MOL, and aksjeeves.com accounts are flooded with discussions about rhabdo. I know there are people out there waiting for what I have to say about it. I don’t want to write about it. I hate reading about it. But in order to hopefully end the fucking endless discussions or at least mitigate them I present to you my take…
Bottom Line Up Front: There is so much else wrong within the Crossfit community, why the fuck would someone focus on something so rare?
List of shit wrong within the Crossfit community that is worse than Rhabdo
1. Complete retards are opening gyms. For 1000 dollars and a weekend (plus 3k to HQ and some other bullshit) you can own a Crossfit gym. People who know even less about fitness, if that is possible, will trust you to teach them how to get healthy, olympic lift, powerlift, do gymnastics, and a ton of other bullshit. Less than 1 percent of Crossfitters get rhabdo. But more than 99 percent of Crossfit coaches are complete retards.
2. Steroid Use. WWE has more stringent drug testing procedures.
Fran and the filthy 50 brah. that’s all.
3. Inappropriate coach/client relationships. Raise your hand if there is an affair happening at your gym. Keep your hand up if that affair involves a coach or owner of your gym. Keep your hand up if that person has ground guts with a coach/owner of more than one gym. Your hand is still in the air isn’t it?
4. The struggle to invent new shit. Ring rows from rings suspended from your partner’s neck, partner deadlifts, people suspended from barbells whilst others lift them, and the list goes on. HQ has created some stupid shit. But nothing like the retards hosting competitions come up with every weekend across America.
5. Safe movements performed dangerously. Box jumps and depth jumps, when performed correctly, are a great way to build explosive power. Pullups are the king of upper back workouts. Sumo deadlifting is a real sport. But somehow you turn these into a contest for time. And ruin the fucking gainz.
6. Using the word “Elite”. Its all over the military too. Elite Marine Corps and Navy units. Have you ever seen what 99.9 percent of the military does in a “Combat Zone“? Shit would make you laugh. Have you ever seen what 99 percent of Crossfitters call elite? Shit makes me laugh. Rich Froning is elite. That fat fuck who has been “Forging Elite Fitness” for the last week, is not.
7. Alienating everyone who knows shit or refuses to take a Kool-aid IV. Rippetoe, Wolf, OPT, Beastmode, Naked Crossfitter, and probably more. Sorry if I left you out. The best leaders in the word take criticism and make changes if needed. They laugh at jokes. And they sure as fuck don’t execute their knowledge base. Stalin did that shit. So did Hitler. And the mother fucking Al-Qaidas. All of these people Crossfit has made fun of in a video btw. (LULZ @ that video for comparing Mark Rippetoe to UBL.)
Recap – Rhabdo is serious. People die from that shit. People also die from gonorrhea but that gets spread around the boxes like a paleo brownie recipe and no one says anything. There are major issues with Crossfit that need to be addressed. Dwelling on Rhabdo is equivalent to worrying about illegal Candians in the country when we have millions of people starving and without proper education.
We can’t always work out in our fully equipped facilities. Sometimes we have to train in a public gym. Have no fear, there are ways to get an adequate workout in, even though you have to train at the fail factory for a short time.
1. Here’s what you need to know to survive a workout at a commercial fitness gym… You may have to scan an ID card or some shit like that. Unlike the gym you train at, the staff at a commercial fitness facility will have no fucking clue who you are. They will require you to scan in at the front desk. All employees at these gyms are complete noobs. And the noobest of all the noobs is at the front desk. So completely ignore EVERYTHING this person ever tells you. Refuse to even acknowledge this person’s existence and continue walking…
2. Your next encounter will be with what some people call a “Cardio Area”. This will encompass roughly 80 percent of the gym. Here you will see some rather strange contraptions. Many will resemble things normal people do for free on a daily basis. Machines that allow you to practice walking and running. The never ending staircase machine. And of course, the machine that mimics a person cross-country skiing whilst simultaneously jacking two dudes off. You have no business in the section. Proceed on…
3. Next you will encounter an area filled with medieval torture devices. These devices are actually extremely expensive and complicated contraptions designed to work a small muscle group or, when used in a circuit, take the place of a major movement. Here is where you will see the men with the really small penises throwing dozens of plates onto a machine which moves about two inches. Keep walking, you are almost there…
There may be one reason to stop in this area after all…
4. Now you should be reaching the group fitness area. There will be Zumba classes. There will be step aerobics. You may even see yoga or pilates. You, like me when I was young and stupid, might be tempted to look into the windows and drool over all the fine ass soccer moms which enroll in these classes. Resist the temptation for you will be forever disappointed if your gaze should fall upon the decrepit hippopotamuses’ which make up the majority of these classes. Hang in there, you will be seeing the barbells soon…
Your typical group fitness class
5. Finally you will reach the section with the barbells. It will be hard to spot at first, since it only comprises roughly 6.5 percent of the available floor space of the building. But not so fast hot shot… you aren’t ready to workout yet. There are some things you will need to know first…
a. There will only be one squat rack. And there will be a skinny fuck curling an empty barbell in it. He will be doing 21’s. And he will have 6 more sets.
b. There will be no bumper plates. Only those mother fucking eight sided metal plates that make it fucking impossible to deadlift safely.
c. It is considered rude to laugh at the dude who is benching 400 pounds but later quarter squatting 225.
d. If you do eventually get into the squat rack, you will be told you are squatting too low. This advice might be coming from an employee, but likely it will be coming from the before mentioned benchpresser with the 100 kilo quarter squat.
e. Any Olympic lift will be greeted by looks of awe from a bystander. This is a normal reaction. Sometimes there will be follow up questions. You may take this opportunity to educate if you should desire.
f. Dropping of weights, any weights, including your plates after you take them off the bar, is considered a “no-no”. In fact, any noise at all is frowned upon. It is good practice to pretend like you are a Viet Cong sneaking through the jungle. I have found this to be an acceptable level of noise in a commercial fitness gym.
This brodey will surely have squat advice for you.
Print off this map in case you get lost. I have added some notes to it which cover some of the finer details left out of the previous instructions.
1. Chalk should be broken into tiny particles. Chalk isn’t all that expensive. So don’t feel bad when you crush those nice, square, easy to use blocks into a fine powder and then clap your hands together like you are some sort of WWE wrestler. Those chalk clouds are fucking e-l33t.
2. You may write all over the gym with chalk. I know those notebooks are expensive and require you to keep a pen or pencil handy. So don’t worry about it. Just take one of those stupid blocks of chalk and write shit all over the platforms, walls, each other, etc. I don’t give a fuck. Eventually someone will come by and say “Holy shit! Look at all that dude’s reps and sets written in chalk. He is fucking strong.” And the maid will come by after closing hours and mop all that shit up.
3. Don’t bother cleaning the chalk out of the knurling. Those thousand dollar barbells all have lifetime warranties and are made of unobtainium or some shit. They don’t rust. The finish won’t be damaged. And if it does somehow ruin the bar, and I wouldn’t know how, those bars can be easily replaced. Enough about the fucking chalk. I think you get it.
Stolen from someone’s facebook
4. Shirts are optional. For snatches I personally don’t give a shit if you wear a shirt or not. But for cleans and squats, you should be shirtless. Your sweat and those metallic barbells should be making as frequent contact as possible. The salt in your sweat will keep my bars shiny and new. Another benefit of the shirtless cleans is the removal of your boob pubes. If you clean shirtless, you don’t have to worry about shaving your chest. Win.
5. Dubstep will be played at 120 decibels or fuck you. There is only one type of music to be played whilst weightlifting and it’s motherfucking Dubstep. Or the Rocky 4 soundtrack. No other music. Period.
6. Use up the little weights first. There are a lot of pussies in weightlifting. They are always making 5 or 10 kilo jumps and that shit pisses me off. So in order to prevent those pussies from making their little girly weight increases, you will always use the 10 kilo plates first. After that, you should pile on all the change you can find. If you are a real man you should be using a shit-ton of 10s and 15s. Then when the weak n00bs come into the gym they are forced to start their lifts at 60 kilos (or 55 if they are equipped with vaginas). Their next jump will have to be to 100 kilos, or 110 maybe even. This is how we get strong people.
If you would use up all the 10’s the Noobs won’t break your shit.
7. Personal hygiene is optional. You are going to get sweaty anyway. So why the fuck would you waste your time with a shower or washing your clothes. Ideally, you would really only need one set of workout clothes. Same goes for your knee sleeves. Those things take forever to dry after washing them, and you have to squat twice a day, every day. So just don’t wash them.
8. Sit directly in front of the lifters. I know the platforms are not set up in a fashion which makes this easy, but every effort should be made to sit closely in front of the lifters’ line of site. If you are not too busy texting your bros you should stare directly into the lifters eyes before, during, and after the lift. This will ensure the lifters have the focus of a champion.
9. No one cares about your problems. IF you are experiencing pain, or any discomfort, no one gives a fuck. Keep your boo-boos to yourself and move the fucking iron.
10. Excessive Celebration is encouraged. If you hit a PR you have to slam the bar down as hard as possible, even if there are only 10s on the bar, and instantly break into a chicken dance celebration. This will ensure the entire gym knows you did something great. Even if your lifts are shit.
The “After School Special”. That’s what I call the Olympic Lifting programs ran out of most @fit gyms. Just about every @fit gym in the world does some sort of strength program in addition to the normal “Today we will flail around for 5-20 minutes” programing. This is a checklist to start your own @fit Olympic lifting program.
Step One – Get a Cert. All you have to do is fork over 800 dollars and attend a weekend seminar. You will become intimately familiar with a PVC pipe, sleep with crossluts, learn the importance of pretreating an STD with antibiotics, and earn a fancy certification, thereby making you fully qualified to run an “After School Special”. No competitive experience is required. There is really no difference between IWF standards and the @fit standards.
Step Two – Find a time to host the class. Ideally this would be immediately after a 20 minute chipper. If you host the “After School Special” right after a metcon you don’t have to worry about all that pesky warm up work. And if there were air squats in the metcon you don’t have to worry about getting in any additional leg work. And you will only need an hour. Anything more than that is just wasted time.
Step Three – Record all the lifts. Although your @fit Olympic lifting cert taught you everything you need to know about weightlifting, you may desire to rewatch your lifters’ attempts. This will allow you to point out all the things that went wrong. Although you will probably lack the knowledge to correct the mistakes, at least you will still be able to tell your athletes how terrible they are.
You see this here??? These are your hips… and when you squat, they go dooowwwnnn.
Step Four – Train with shitty equipment. You have seen Rocky 4, right? Who hasn’t? The only reason Rocky wasn’t victim number two for the Russian Bear was because he trained in shitty conditions and used equipment and techniques that had nothing to do with boxing. The same goes for your athletes. Make them use really shitty bushing bars, hi-temp bumpers in pounds, and don’t let them lift on wooden surfaces. This way, when they make it to their first meet the bearing bars, nice bumpers, and stable platforms will surprise the fuck out of them.
Step Five – Sign ’em up for a local meet. Don’t worry about weight classes, converting your lifters’ attempts to kilos, or knowing IWF rules. The referees will probably be just like the @fit judges at local competitions… completely in the fucking dark. So focus on cleaning your athletes urine. Because unlike @fit, USAW screens for steroids.
Yeah brah… we are opening you at 150. You are at the end of the session.
Step Six – Exploit your athletes. Since most of the n00bs are bound to add 30 kilos to their snatches in a few months you must take advantage of this. Be sure to brag to all the other coaches in the area how your coaching has allowed Susy Rottencrotch to go from lifting a PVC pipe to an amazing 40 kilo competition PR total in only a few months.
If you read this blog you should probably already heave competed in some sort of weightlifting meet. Or you should at least be preparing for your first one. IF you haven’t read the rules and become intimately familiar with them you are an idiot. But I come across it all the time… “What do you mean that wasn’t a good lift?” This isn’t @fit people… there are standards. Ground to overhead doesn’t apply here.
Common noobisms you will see at every weightlifting meet.
Dropping the bar behind the head: It usually happens when a lifter has to chase a snatch to the front of the platform. After gaining stability the lifter realizes he/she is out of platform and instead of taking a couple steps back, drops the bar behind his/her head. Three Red Lights. The bar must be dropped in front of the lifter and onto the platform. The Fix – Settle the fuck down and adjust yourself after you have gained control of the weight. Coach your athletes to always drop the bar in front. Also, read the fucking rules.
Dropping the bar before the “Down” command: This is more common than you think. It usually occurs after a PR. I have seen experienced lifters do this too. You must wait for the down signal before lowering the bar. It might seem like you are waiting forever for he signal and you probably are missing something. Are your feet in line? are you demonstrating control? Run through a mental checklist and stay tight. For this mistake I largely blame the coaches. Coaches should train lifters to CLEARLY demonstrate control on all attempts. Lifters should maintain that control as long as reasonable. The Fix – Train every attempt as if you are on the platform. Have a fellow lifter or coach give you “Down” commands in training. Also, read the fucking rules.
Ghosting the Bar: 9 outta 10 you will get away with this, but it’s total noob thing to do. Whilst dropping the bar after a lift, your hands must maintain a hold on the bar until the bar passes your waist. The Fix – Practice releasing the weights properly. Also, read the fucking rules.
These Marines probably got fucked so hard by their 1st Sgt. But I thank them for the humor.
Fucked up elbows: Everyone knows at least one lifter who has an arm that appears to be locked in position for thunderous masturbation. I am referring to the dude who cannot straighten his elbow to save his life. Most judges don’t know you are a chronic meat masher and will not credit your lift, unless you inform them PRIOR to your attempt. The Fix – meet with the judges before the session. Or at least have your coach talk to them. Also, read the fucking rules.
Misloaded bar: Usually the persons responsible for loading the bar are doing so on a voluntary basis. They are sometimes new to lifting or maybe not even a lifter at all. Bars will be misloaded at nearly every meet. The judges should be keeping an eye out for this, as should the lifters’ coaches. But the responsibility ultimately rests on the lifter. A misloaded bar is a little tricky and the decision lies with the jury. You will usually be given another attempt in this situation, but who the fuck wants to waste energy on an unnecessary practice attempt. The Fix – Learn to quickly recognize proper loads. If you are color blind you are truly fucked.
Cursing: I say “fuck” probably 200 times per day. But I never say it within 100 feet of anyone judging me during a competition. Swearing is cool when done at the proper times. It is never cool while you are on the platform with 200 people watching. Even if you bombed on snatches and you are eliminated anyway… just keep your mouth shut and be professional. There are not a lot of judges out there and chances are, the one who heard you yell fuck words at 110 decibels will be a judge again at your next meet.
Elbows hitting the legs during a clean: Also more common than you think. If your elbows touch your legs in the bottom of a clean you will not be credited with the lift. Don’t waste your energy and just dump the bar. Most judges will give you a “down” command or blow the horn right away upon seeing it. The fix – Read the rules. Develop a faster turnover. Become better at weightlifting.
What else do you guys see? I will add it to the list.
Fuck yes, you do.
Mark Rippetoe said it (and he is the smartest man I know). Weightlifting shoes are the only piece of equipment you actually need. Those probably wern’t his exact words, but I have read it in at least two of his books and on numerous posts of his on the intertoobs. Here is my say… If you don’t own and wear weightlifting shoes but you take a protein supplement or “pre-workout” you are n00b. I was guilty of it once. I paid 50 or more per month for a pre-workout and that much or more for protein powders. I spent over 100 per month on shit that wasn’t making much of a difference. Don’t get me wrong about protein… Progenix will surely help recovery and shit like that, but those gainz pale in comparison to wearing lifting shoes.
What will weightlifting shoes do for me?
1. Something Solid to stand on. Does anyone remember those Reebok Zigs commercials with the super ugly, bouncy, foam sole of the shoe designed for functional fitness? What a terrible fucking thing to lift weights with. There is little I can think of that is as uncomfortable as lifting heavy weight whilst standing on a bosu ball (what i imagine it feels like wearing these shoes). I had a friend who wore these and he could CJ 140 kilos in them. Pretty impressive but imagine what he could have done with something solid to stand on. Basically weightlifting shoes are designed with a wooden or rigid plastic sole with zero give.
2. Lateral Support. Those powerlifters with 1000 pound squats blow out powerlifting shoes. If you squat properly and with enough volume you will eventually blow the sides out of any shoe. The force that is driven outwards is immense. cloth shoes will flex and therefore are for noobs. Weightlifting shoes are made of thick leather with one or maybe two straps to ensure this stability.
3. Depth in the squat. Way way back in the days of weightlifting everyone split snatched. It was seen as the most efficient way to get deep under a barbell. The Soviets even had high top leather shoes specifically designed for it. Then, someone determined it was much easier to just squat deeper. Safer too. So then a low top shoe with a raised heel was developed and the world never looked back. (actually, there are a few people who still split snatch). The raised heel is essentially what allows for the depth. It compensates for your terribly poor flexibility in your ankles.
Shit you won’t like about the shoes.
1. Weight. Thick leather, wooden soles, straps. All this adds up to a heavyasfuck shoe. Some people claim the heavy shoes slow their feet down. I would tell them to get stronger legs. They are heavier than a pair of hunting boots.
2. Cost. They are almost all over 100 dollars per pair. Even used ones can be well over 100 dollars. I blame the functional fitness community for this. Their demand for the shoes has caused a shortage in the market. I have paid full price for a pair of used Adistars from some Polish dude. I have paid near full price for a pair of used Nikes. All because they were sold out in every store in the world. A smart shopper can find a used pair for around 100 dollars though. I would encourage you to pass on your used shoes for free though. I have passed on three pairs of my used shoes to new lifters now (free of charge). The weightlifting Gods will surely find a place for me in their heaven because of that.
3. Looks. These are one step below bowling shoes in the fugly department. I usually don’t give a shit how I look. But I take off my lifting shoes as soon as possible. They are the most hideous looking things you can put on your feet. They are brightly colored, have components added to them that make zero sense, and even Justin Bieber couldn’t get laid in them if he wore them to a roller skating rink. The only exception to this is the Adistar Weightlifters.
FAQ regarding shoes. (People actually asked me these questions)
1. Should I wear them when I deadlift? I have been asked this 100 times. Doesn’t seem like a lot until you realize it’s a fucking question regarding shoes. The answer is yes. Back when I was powerlifting a lot in the 90s deadlifting slippers were all the rage. They were essential grippy socks. The idea was… the closer you were to the ground, the less distance you had to pull. Whilst this is technically correct, the knee angle and lateral stability you lose is not worth the 5/8″ extra distance you have to pull.
2. Where do you find used shoes? Ebay and Craigslist. Ask around the club. Chances are someone has an old pair laying around they would part with.
3. Where do I find new shoes? Google that shit. Rogue. Dynamic Eleiko. Viking Weightlifting.
4. Rippetoe says you can squat with a board under your heels. True, this is a temporary fix until you can get shoes. But moving your feet during the competition lifts is important. And I don’t like to try to find a board with my heels when i have 200 kilos on my back.
5. How close to normal shoes do they fit? I will cover this later. But in my experience they fit just about the same or slightly larger than a street shoe.
Adidas Adistar. If you can get your hands on these but them. They are no longer made and only available used or in giant sizes like 16 EEEE. They are the only shoe that somewhat resembles a decent looking shoe. I own two pairs and I had to buy them both used from ebay. I paid more than new of one of the pairs.
Cost. 159 doll hairs new. If you can find them in your size. 100-220 used. If you can find them.
Weight. 4/5. Not a lightweight, but better most of the other styles I have used.
Firmness. 4/5. Very solid platform. Wish it had two straps though.
Heel Height. 4/5. Seems a little low for me.
Appearance and Fit. 4/5. I wear my Military boots in 9.5 extra wide and I wear a 10.5 in these. So the whole rumor about Adidas shoes being narrow is false IMO. They are also the only shoe that looks somewhat decent. I would maybe go 1/2 size smaller if you cant try some on before buying them.
Adidas Adipower. The Red Menace. These shoes only come in bright red, with bright red accents and bright red everything else. There is a touch of black on them somewhere, but you have to look closely. That said, they are pretty easy to buy and probably the best NEW shoe out there.
Cost. 199 doll hairs new. 150-200 used.
Weight. 5/5. They seem lighter than the adistars. Probably the lightest shoe that is still worth buying.
Firmness. 4/5. Again, only one strap. But they fit so god damn well and are of the highest quality manufacture.
Heel Height. 4/5. About the same as the adistar. seems slightly low to me.
Appearance and fit. 4/5. Only one color, communist red. But they feel like you are wearing a slipper. Really comfortable. Sizes the same as an adipower. So maybe go 1/2 size smaller than you think.
Nike Romaleos II. I was very happy with mine. I passed them onto a friend though, in favor of the Adidas. The Chinese wear them. They are fucking awesome lifters.
Cost. 189 doll hairs new.
Weight. 2/5. Heavyasfuck. Nike advertises they are 50 grams lighter than the previous generation. The previous generation must have been made of lead. How much is a gram anyway? I’m no drug dealer but isn’t that almost nothing at all?
Firmness. 5/5. Probably the most stable thing you will ever wear. Its like Robocop’s foot. Two straps as well. I like that.
Heel Height. 5/5. I love squatting in these shoes. Heel seems perfect.
Appearance and Fit. 3/5. At least they have some color options. But the combinations are nothing to be desired. They fit very close to street shoes for me.
Rogue Weightlifting Shoes. Probably most functional fitness peeps’ first weightlifting shoes. They are inexpensive and have all the requirements of a weightlifting shoe. I owned a pair a while back. Actually made by Do-Win, and relabled as Rogue.
Cost. 119 Doll Hairs.
Weight. 3/5. Heavy. Wooden soles.
Firmness. 3/5. Wooden soles may be heavy but they are firm. leather is thick. Two straps are a nice feature but could be placed better upon the shoe.
Heel Height. 4/5. Seems a little short but is advertised as 3/4″.
Appearance and Fit. 3/5. Pretty basic looking shoe. Imagine a bowling shoe with a wooden heel. Fits larger than a street shoe.
Reebok Crossfit Lifter. You can get them custom made in crazy colors and shit. They still aren’t cool. They are designed to be an all purpose shoe. I actually owned some of these when I did @fit. They were stolen out of my car by a crackhead. That crackhead is probably walking around, looking like a retard thinking he is wearing the new hotness. They are still a better option than lifting in running shoes.
Cost. 149 Doll Hairs. More if you want them custom designed.
Weight. 4/5. Very light weight.
Firmness. 3/5. One strap. It is far too short though. Mine would barely close. Feels a little too much like a running shoe.
Heel Height. 4/5. Heel seems about right.
Appearance and Fit. 2/5. I ordered them in the same size as my street shoes and they were way too small. The strap almost didn’t meet the velcro and they seemed far too narrow. There are colors that don’t look ridiculous, but they are hard to find.
Other options I have not tried myself
–Risto Shoes. These are old school. They have been around forever. I don’t know enough about them to write. Someone else have imput on these?
-VS Athletics Weightlifting Shoe. These guys make all kinds of shit for track and field. They are the cheapest shoes out there but again, I don’t know enought to write about them.
-2013 Pendlay Weightlifting Shoes. These are also Do-Win Shoes re-labled. They are a new design for 2013 and I am excited to hear what you think about them. (130 Doll Hairs).
-Adidas Power Perfect II. I haven’t tried them. But my coach traded in his adipowers for some and he loves them. He can lift way more than me so I would assume they are good shoes. (Cost. 119 Doll Hairs).