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Various Weightlifting Posts


By Gary F. Zeolla
(a.k.a. Reepicheep)

The following messages were posted in one or more of the following places: "" and "" newsgroups and the Powerlifting and Weightlifting Discussion Boards.

RE: Back Pain

Someone posted a message saying he had been experiencing back pain when he tried lifting weights. He said he was concerned he might have to stop lifting as a result. I posted the following in reply:

Since you asked, I would strongly suggest you pick up the book Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection by Dr. John Sarno. This book, along with his other two, enabled me to overcome six years of crippling low back pain. I discuss my experience in detail in an eBook available on my site (see Overcoming Back Pain).

I can't tell you how much I wish I had known this information years ago, like back in my senior year in college when I was forced to give up powerlifting due to back pain.

So please, before you give up on lifting, get Sarno's books, and maybe even mine. They might save you a lot of unnecessary anguish.

RE: Only deadlifts?

Someone posted a message asking if you could only do one lift, which would it be? The poster's opinion was that it would be deadlifts for reasons in my response.

I agree with the main point here: deadlifts (DLs) are a great lift and have the most "real-world" benefits of any weightlifting move. And they do work most body parts. The upper arms and chest are the main exceptions, and the delts to a lesser extent (the posterior delts get some work). So if I could only do one lift it would be DLs.

But, of course, I don't have to make that choice. And benches are a great way to fill in the "missing" work for the pecs, delts, and triceps. And rows would fill in for the biceps and for the upper back not being worked through a full range of motion. So these three lifts would give a rather complete workout. Of course, for more direct leg work squats should be added and presses for delt work.

The main point is, you don't have to do a whole lot of exercises to work the entire body. And that is the approach I'm now using. The three powerlifts and very little else.


While doing dumbbell benches last week I week I was kind of daydreaming, and the right DB faded out some. I snapped it back and felt a “twinge” in my right side. I didn’t think much of it at the time and kind of ignored it. Mistake. It’s starting to bother me more now.

Moral: Concentrate at all times while lifting. And don’t ignore injuries. It will only make them worse.

RE: Soy Protein and Feminization

Someone posted a message saying he didn't sue soy protein powders as he was "scared away because of all the talk of the female hormones." I wrote in response:

There is no problem with feminization from using soy.

Quoting from Planet Muscle (Vol. 4, #3, p.59):
"We are tired of the nonsense written about soy isolate by people who should know better. The isoflavone component of soy is going to operate somewhat differently in a female versus a male. Male bodybuilders have absolutely nothing to fear about soy increasing existing estrogens and body fat. In the sixties, Hoffman's soy was popular with lifters and bodybuilders such as park, Reeves, Eder, Ortiz, Wayne, Draper and Grimek. They all used heavy doses of soy and not one developed gynecomastia! Once, more the quality of soy isolate is much higher today."

Thumb-less Grip

At the gym this past week, I saw a teenager doing benches with a thumb-less grip. He is built very well for 16 and has plans of competing in bodybuilding. But that thumb-less grip really bothered me. I told him abut the time I saw a lifting carried out on a stretcher at a meet as a result of this grip.

The lifter was benching around 400, and he got the bar almost to the top when the bar slipped. It came crashing down on his chest. He shattered his sternum and broke some of ribs. They had to call an ambulance to take him away. The meet was held up for quite some time as he laid on the bench in agony. From what I heard later, he never lifted again.

After this incident, the chairman of the meet got up and gave a speech about the dangers of using a thumb-less grip. But when the meet finally resumed, the first lifter up used a thumb-less grip!

After telling the teenager this, he agreed with me that it’s not worth the risk, but then proceeded to bench with a thumb-less grip anyway!

It frustrates me enough when I see people using poor form in the gym. But this goes beyond poor form to being outright dangerous.

I have never understood why some guys use this grip. I guess some seem to think it adds a few pounds to their bench, though I can’t see how. It seems to me that your concentration would be distracted with having to worry about the bar slipping. Or maybe some think it is more comfortable. But I think it would be best to workout on increasing the flexibility in your hands than to use this dangerous grip.

RE: Spotter Problems

Someone posted a message saying he was having a hard time finding reliable spotters at the gym. I posted in reply:

I know the feeling. A couple of days ago, I was doing bench presses at the gym. I had a guy spot for me who I didn’t really know. He was the only guy in the gym, so I had no choice. When he handed the bar off to me, he handed it off “unbalanced”—too far to the left. I had to snap it back with my left arm. It scared me a bit, but thank God, I didn’t hurt anything and completed the set and the rest of my workout.

Powerlifting Meet Question

Someone asked what happens in a powerlifting meet if two people in a weight class tie, both lifting or totaling the same amount of weight. Below is my response.

In the case of a tie, the person with the lighter weigh-in weight wins. This is how I won my last bench press meet (quite some time ago). At 123s, I benched 210 pounds on my first attempt, but then I missed 225 on my second attempt. My nearest competitor then benched 225 on his third attempt. Since I weighed in 1/2 pound less, I only needed to get the 225 on my third attempt to win, and I did! It was a dead-max lift with the bar barely moving, but I gutted it out somehow. I was so excited when I saw the three white lights that I jumped up in the air and somehow landed standing with both feet on the end of the bench. I have no idea how I managed to do this.

In any case, if you both weighed in at the same weight, then you are both re-weighed after the meet. Whoever is the lightest then wins. If you both are still the same weight, then it's a tie.

Various Weightlifting Posts. Copyright 2002 By Gary F. Zeolla.

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The above messages were posted on this site November 14, 2001.

Powerlifting and Strength Training
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