Every now and then a kid with a serious look on the face enters the gym and captures the squat rack. He is ready to “kill it” like real men do. A hardcore beat is pumping through the headphones; the adrenaline factories are working overtime; the feeling that it’s a life or death situations infects the air; the body movements reveal fear of the unknown; the show is about to begin.
Every rep produces painful facial expressions warming the heart of the lifter. He loves it and smiles when thinking of the reward waiting at the end. He will show you how great he is. Nothing will stop him.
That kid is a moron.
I know because I was that kid. I was an idiot sacrificing himself for the powerlifting deities. I was a believer in the mission. But later, I got smarter and realized that it’s all a lie. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. The moment when it will all be worth it will not come. You’ve been lied to, my friend. You may not be able to see it right now, but one day you will. There’s no rush. You will arrive there when you do.
Many think that powerlifting is a solution to natural lifting. The big bad bodybuilders lied to us, but the strong powerlifters are telling the truth. Just eat and squat, bro. Every extra calorie will be graciously transformed into “useful” bodyweight.
It won’t. The surplus will make you fat. You will not gain the slabs of thick muscles that the 5×5 marketers promised you. You will not look like Reg Park, Arnold or the Russian powerlifters.
They sold you a fake dream. Powerlifters are injecting and have been doing so before you were born. If you are powerlifting to gain a “natty edge” (let’s face it – you are), stop. Nothing is going to happen. All the teachings claiming that you will triple in size once you abandon everything and become a squat-bench-dead monk are either words of false prophets or sick conclusions in an uneducated mind.
If you don’t believe me, be my guest. Go satisfy the expectations of the Internet. Good luck, brother. They go up every year. Each generation is benching heavier…online of course. You will always be weak on the NET. The forum members will tear you apart if you post your true lifts. Rippetoe will tell you to gain weight. This man has been building an army of fatsos for decades – be aware.
The most ironic part is the myth that powerlifting is ultra-functional. The deadlift – the most functional lift, the said. They idiots, bro. If they wanted to be functional, why are they using the cheat grip, excuse me – mixed grip. Why are all squats high? Why is there so much equipment? Why do the men look like they are about to have a heart attack any minute? Why are they constantly injured? Functional, year right.
You wanna know the truth?
If you are natural, powerlifting is a waste of time. You are never going to have huge lifts. The only thing that you are accomplishing is CNS overclock and joint overload. By default, this isn’t a bad thing. It’s just unnecessary. You may consider spending your CNS money elsewhere.
The average cycle of a natty powerlifter is boring and predictable. The natty lifts for a year or two and then hits a hardcore plateau that is impossible to overcome definitively without gaining weight – not a bad thing except that naturals have a limited capacity for muscle mass production. Hence why natty powerlifters get fat really quick.
They don’t want you to know that. They want you to think that you can crawl forward forever with the help of some secret programming. They will give you a special routine full of numbers and percentages. It will be expected of you to satisfy them. It will work…for a few weeks. Then you will start missing reps.
They will blame you. You are not eating enough. You are not pushing hard enough. You have ovarian cancer. You don’t want it bad enough. You are a loser. It’s always you, bro. Don’t you dare talk bad about their precious programming.
Well, I am here to tell you that it’s not you. You are not the robot that those routines are designed for. Not even dudes on steroids can improve perpetually. Not even they hit all the numbers as accurately as you think. This is why they have been upping the dose as the training cycles advance. The content in the syringe has always been growing in union with the weight on the barbell. Ask John Kuc. He will confirm.
Yet naturals still believe in the impossible. They look at interviews with the greats on YouTube and conclude that a natty can bench press 500lbs by following Greg Nuckols or RIppetoe’s programming.
Let me red pill you, bro. You will never bench 500lbs naturally. You will never bench 400lbs naturally either unless you weigh about as much. Ask Rippetoe. He will confirm. He trained under Bill Starr’s wing, injected and his best bench is a few lbs under 400lbs.
Most of you reading this will not even bench 300lbs like Omar Isuf. Those gifted for the bench may do it, but the average bro will never get there. The evidence is overwhelming. Go to any gym. The people pressing 300lbs are a super slim minority.
You will probably say to yourself – what’s the problem with that? The problem is that your love for powerlifting comes from the PRs. No PRs, no love. Lifting the same numbers forever can only work for so long. Yet this is the destiny of every natural unwilling to gain a ridiculous amount of body fat. Notice that I say body fat rather than weight like the megaphones do because I know what’s up – natties get fat when they try to reach the numbers that their masters order.
Another important part of the equation is winning. You are never going to win even a local powerlifting meet naturally. There will always be dudes who are shorter and more muscular than you thanks to drugs. They will demolish you because they are built like pitbulls and perform their job as human cranes way better than a high altitude brah trying to fill himself out with the help of GOMAD.
What’s in it for you?
Other than joint pain and stagnation, you will get nothing. This doesn’t mean that doing the basic exercises is pointless, but you have to adjust your expectations.
Also, if you want to be functional, you have to do the task that you want to excel at more frequently than lifting.
Eventually, the naive will start spamming you with concepts such as discipline, strength, fun and hope.
Let me address those issues.
Discipline: There are many ways to develop it. You don’t even have to go to a gym to become disciplined. Nothing special about powerlifting in that regard.
Strength: We have all heard it – barbell strength is the most important thing in life. Sure, bro. Keep telling yourself that. Trying to compensate for everything by upping your squat leads to stupidity, stagnation and frustration.
Strength is overrated to the moon and back. Realistically, it’s more practical to get really good at moving odd objects than to lift barbells since most of the heavy stuff that you will have to move will not have a comfortable handle.
Fun: If you like something, you should absolutely do it regardless of what I or anybody else says…provided that the activity of choice is moral.
Hope: That’s the thing. There’s no hope. No one will ever come up with a routine catalyzing perpetual gains. The natties always face hardcore limitations at what is considered mediocre numbers and stay there for a long time. Then out of nowhere, a barbell philosopher comes, starts talking about bar paths, and the hope level is restored again until the natty hits a new plateau that is not far from the previous one.
Your Lack of Motivation Is Totally Understandable
We can pretend that we do everything for the sake of it, but that’s just unnatural. Did your ancestors hunt for fun? Did they cut wood because they felt like it?
In the past, people didn’t have the luxury to donate their time to entertainment. They expected to get a tangible benefit from their effort.
Powerlifting provides such a result – it can make you stronger, healthier and more muscular. But to profit from that effect, you don’t have to chase PRs. You don’t even have to lift that heavy.
When your natty gains stop, the motivation to run after numbers diminishes quickly.
How can one be motivated to push harder while knowing that the extra effort is appreciating by the second?
The legends that the average powerlifters look up to are on steroids and enjoying the life of muscular deities. Meanwhile, the natties are ridiculed constantly and labeled as losers who do not even lift.
Gotta love this world.
What to do instead?
Put powerlifting on the back seat and enjoy life outside of the gym. Go out and do things in the real world. Yes, the gym is not the real world. It is an artificial environment where you train to become better for something else. People get too stuck in their training and forget about that principle.
If today was the last day of your life, you wouldn’t do squats 5×5. You wouldn’t give your energy to an exercise. So, why are we doing it every day? Because they told us so.