Today I’m going to bend one of the golden rules of this blog The gym should be a judgement free zone, not in the infantile, disempowering “here, have a donut” Planet Fitness sense, but rather a positive place where you do challenging things. Mirin’ is encouraged, but haughty disdain of one’s fellow gym-goer is the penultimate gym foul. Rest assured, though, that this rant is not about hatin’ on the playa, it’s about hatin’ on the game.
To whit, my friends, we need to talk about this “bench-pressing with the feet-up” trend. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s a valid accessory exercise and/or a good variation for people with lower back issues. However, I am completely mystified that a good 80 percent of the guys (it’s always men) I see bench-pressing in Globo gyms do the “feet up” thing. WTF, y’all? Was there a memo that I didn’t get? On any given evening in the Globo gym I’m surrounded by legs in the air gym Bros benching away with the smug air of insider traders. It’s not being used as accessory exercise, we’re talking feet never touching ground, ever.
“Feet in the air” benching is a good accessory exercise precisely because it’s less stable and takes leg drive completely out of the equation. One can therefore only use sub-maximal weights but it provides a good chest/triceps workout and underlines the importance of a tight back/retracted scapulae. Actually, it’s pretty gangster if you see somebody bench serious weight with “feet in the air” because it puts the athlete at a disadvantage. But you never see that in the Globo gym because people aren’t getting that much stronger, really. The only way to get a lot stronger is to lift some heavy-a@# weight, and the only way to do that is with the normal bench press.
I get it, I get it. Most of the guys bench like this simply because when they walk into the gym and they see 4 gym bros benching away like dead cockroaches and 1 apparently clueless dude benching with feet firmly planted. If you don’t know any better, your best bet is to do what everyone else is doing. Going to the gym and using the equipment is important, but so is having sufficient knowledge about things like technique and programming. The Globo gym business model isn’t about education or quality coaching. It’s all about novelty and catching the next trend. Even if one were to hire one of their overpriced personal trainers, he or she is more likely to have their client doing bosu ball kettle-bells swings than teaching them proper compound lift form.