Strange Men Are Sometimes Necessary

I realize that it is the ‘two thousands‘ and weight training for women is completely acceptable.

That being said, there aren’t that many women in the weight area most mornings. The very few of us that train on a regular basis have come to be accepted as part of the scene by the men that dominate the weights.

I know because I get the casual head cocked to the left chin up greeting most mornings.

I have become as interesting to them as the lat pull down machine, which is fine by me. I do my thing, they do their thing, and rarely do the paths cross unless we are fighting over the only power rack at the YMCA.

On Monday a strange, heavily muscled man insisted on doing chin ups in the power rack even though there are three other places chin ups can be done.

Monday is Leg Day.

I need that power rack and I will fight tooth and nail to get it.

DL – (unplugging one ear bud) Hey. Sorry to be a bother, I know how annoying this question is, but how many more sets do you have?

Strange, Heavily Muscled Man – (french accent) Oh, just a few. You can work in. Don’t worry about it. I will pull up and you use the squat rack.

DLUmm..ok then…this should be interesting. Do you want to use a different location for chin ups? There are a few more around that aren’t being used.

Strange, Heavily Muscled Man  – No. I use this one.

DL I’m doing box squats…this should be hilarious.

With more than a few reservations as to how this would work, I set up my bar, added my warm up weight, and grabbed a box to do my squats. After my first warm up set I found myself trapped in the cage with the strange, heavily muscled man completing chin ups behind me.

I ducked under the safeties and watched from a distance.

While he was distracted by low rows and barbell upright rows, I worked my pyramid for strength on the box squat. I was going for a personal best on the last set of two.

During my set of 12 reps, while sweat was rolling down my back and off my elbows, a french accented cheer went up and I nearly lost the bar off my back due to surprise.

Strange, heavily muscled man was back.

This time he didn’t do chin ups. He helped me load more weight on my bar and then proceeded to do military overhead presses with it.


I had been feeling good about my box squat weight, that was until the strange, heavily muscled man threw it over his head like it was a kitten.

This went on for three more progressively heavy sets.

I finally out squatted his over head press abilities and he moved to barbell bicep curls. On my last set where I was just killing it, my new found friend came back to bark instructions at me.

It was very annoying, oddly encouraging, and in some strange way appreciated and not.

DL Personal Best on Squat - Jan 10, 2011

185 pounds...not too shabby for a woman with pencil legs if I say so myself! Room to grow, that is for sure!

Luckily he didn’t see any need to help me with my SLDLs.

I grumped and complained about him and his ridiculous ways to my coach and received a most hilarious response.

Strange men are necessary sometimes…that may be one of the weirdest things I’ve ever typed…


The very next day, I could have used his help when I attempted my 50lb db chest press. I actually looked around to see if there was anyone that could help me. There was no one I felt comfortable asking; so I did what I could but I know I didn’t give it everything.

An ‘All the way! Up, up, UP!!‘ in a french accent from a strange, heavily muscled man would have been beneficial.

Heck as if I knew!

How do you ask for spots from the men at the gym?