I prefer life in Latin America. However, some things are frustrating. Weightlifting culture isn’t as developed. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Muscle Beach, and Pumping Iron made it mainstream in America only a generation ago. It diffuses to other countries later. Here’s the kind of stuff you see.
In Latin America, you typically see guys benching a bar with 25s on each side (95lbs), sometimes even less.
One time I was warming up to squat with 135lbs (one 45lb plate on each side). One of the gym trainers made me put clamps on it. I’ve seen guys put clamps on the bar of a Smith bench-press machine.
I saw a guy benching 245 for a couple forced reps – with four 25lb plates on each side of the bar. I’ve also seen guys do this while squatting on the Smith machine – loading it with four 25s. I assume they’re trying to make it look like more than two 45s. Geeks.
There’s this tool at a Colombian gym who loads up the leg press until it can’t fit any more 45s, then has a little Colombian guy sit on the platform. It always attracts a crowd. The guy who does all this weight doesn’t weigh more than 170lbs. I never see him squat. His entire range of motion spans less than the length of my dick, and his knees never bend to a 90 degree angle. Besides being a generally pussy exercise, the leg press is also the easiest to cheat (proof for those points, watch Pat Robertson “leg pressing” 2000 pounds).
FAKE! (Read why, and remember leg pressing is gay.)
While deadlifting, a gym owner scolded me for how the weights hit the floor. He insisted everything be set down gently. After that day, I had to stop with the bar at my knees, and set the weight down without a sound. This is not only impossible for heavier weight, it’s dangerous. I’m worried I’m going to injure myself while trying not to make noise in this guy’s pussy ass gym.
Most gyms have third- and fourth-hand equipment from the States – stuff that was used in the 70s. There’s this one machine I’ve seen in Colombia and Peru, but never in America. I assume it’s gone extinct for being worthless. You stand on a spinning platform and hold two handles, twisting your torso side to side while holding your upper body straight. It appears to work oblique abdominals. It’s really popular. There’s always somebody on it. Dumb asses.
The worst exercise I’ve ever seen, I see often. It’s worse that mostly men do it. They get down on their knees, bending over holding on to a bench. They hold the dumbbell (little guys, 10 – 20 pounds) in between their calf and hamstring in the underside of their knee, the knee-pit if you will. Then they flex the glute to bring that leg parallel with their body and the floor. A glute isolation movement. It’s like the butt-blaster machine with a dumbbell. An American man wouldn’t be seen doing that in a public gym.
Of regular weightlifters in South America, the vast majority wear gloves. Mom’s orders?
Honorable Mention in Latin America goes to Strong Gym in Arequipa, Peru. It’s on Octavio Muñoz just east of Goyeneche. Entrance is only 1 sol ($0.30!) and it includes a huge weight room, two dancehalls, and one studio with heavy bags. There’s a group of heavy deadlifters who go there, most of whom can pick up over twice their bodyweight. There are four or five benches and half dozen squat racks, so you never have to wait. They play the rock station in AQP (no gay techno). The only gay thing about Strong Gym is how crowded the dance classes get. Hundreds of little cholos pack these studios to do dance cardio. But maybe the sheer quantity of them each paying 1 sol keeps the price low.
Eagle Gym in St. Louis, MO
This summer, I worked out at Eagle Gym, the most hardcore gym I’ve seen. The guys who work out there are all meatheads: bouncers, cops, boxers, MMA fighers, college football players, pro bodybuilders, powerlifters, and competitive strongmen. And there’s no rule to set the weight down gently.
You can drop 600 pounds or more because there’s a deadlifting platform. There’s also a Monolift for heavy squats. If you’re squatting 300 pounds or so, it’s not convenient to step back and get into place after unracking the bar. On the Monolift, a helper swings the rack back after you pick up the bar so you can go right into a deep squat. Chalk is allowed and available, as is ‘nose tork’ – smelling salts to get amped up before an intense set.
There’s not one treadmill at Eagle. Not one! For cardio, there’s boxing equipment and a sled for strongman training. And of course you can always run on the fucking street.
Eagle holds regular powerlifting and strongman competitions. There are heavy stones for picking up, weighing from 225 – 400lbs. There’s a log press, the log weighing 200lbs with plate racks for adding weight. There’s a truck with no engine block for picking up, weighing 600lbs. There are heavy tires for flipping. One weighs 700 and another weighs 1000lbs. Two guys have flipped the 1000 pounder.
Check out Eagle Gym in pictures below. It’s located at Woodson and Midland in Overland, North St. Louis County. For easier viewing of pics on this site, add me on Facebook.
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