Your mother doesn't work at the gym


So I get to the gym and right next to one of the power racks is someone's chalk mess.  Normally the Oakville YMCA is a pretty low intensity facility even with their recent free weight room upgrade to 6 half power racks.  The place is clean and with the exception of the power racks and a general lack of mirrors in the power rack room, pretty un-intimidating.  This is actually appropriate since the surrounding suburbia comprises some of the most valuable real estate in Southern Ontario.  The club doesn't cater to hardcore fitness enthusiasts, it caters to lululemon wearing soccer moms, C-level professionals, the children of these affluent members, and the rest of whatever riff-raff finds their way there (that's my demographic).

Suffice it to say, the operators of the facility try to run a clean ship since the Mercedes and BMW driving crowd doesn't like grunge.  That's why it pissed me off to see someone leaving behind their chalk mess--not because I drive a nice car, I don't, I drive an old land yacht, but because it's just plain inconsiderate.
While many lifters carry their chalk in a rubbermaid or tupperware container, the best way to discretely carry your chalk is to use the bag used by rock climbers.  Better yet, instead of putting a block of  chalk in the bag, use a chalk ball.  Using the chalk bag and a chalk ball allows one to get chalk on their hands to their heart's content while greatly minimizing spillage.  With the plastic containers, even when one manages not to spill chalk outside the container, inevitably someone knocks it over or knocks it off a bench and spills it all over the floor.  In a grungy garage gym or hardcore facility, that doesn't matter since it's all part of the tableau but in a chichi globo gym, the idea is to maintain a low profile to minimize friction from management.
no mess, no spillage if someone knocks it over
If however, one is wedded to the idea of carrying their chalk in a plastic container (margarine containers are surprisingly common), if you spill, and you will, clean up your damn mess.  By being a slob, all you're doing is ruining it for the next person seen using chalk in the gym.  Which brings me to another rant.  Your mother doesn't work at the gym so clean up after yourself.  Don't leave plates on bars, put your dumbbells away (in the correct place), and wipe your sweat off the bench after you're done.

Anyone that's trained as part of a club, part of an organized sports team, or in a serious weightlifting facility has usually been trained to put everything away, one, because it's better for the equipment, two, it keeps the facility neat and tidy to maximize usable space, and three, it shows respect for the facility.  A majority of the members at the average globo gym seem to think they don't need to do any of that.   I sometimes wonder if they're used to sh*tting in their diapers at home and waiting for mom to come home to clean them up.


After stewing for about 3 minutes at the idiot that left his/her chalk mess on the floor, I proceeded to start my planned workout--light deadlifts, barbell shrugs, light overhead presses, and dumbbell rows.  Whereas "light" means light volume on squat days, on deadlift days, "light" means light weight but higher volume.  I find there's a pretty strong relationship between squats and deadlifts since both use the hip hinge so I allow the workouts for each to complement each other.

Deficit Deadlifts, 2" deficit:  315x5, 405x5, 455x5x3 sets

Barbell Shrugs with a floor pick up:  455x5x5 sets.  I used the floor pickup as a speed deadlift rep.

The combination of deadlifts and shrugs blew up my core stability pretty good and I had to dial back my overhead pressing a little bit.  I was able to set a new rep PR with 135 lbs.

Overhead Press:  135x5, 135x5, 185x3, 185x3, 135x14

I finished up with dumbbell rows but instead of doing straight sets, I decided to do the sets myo-rep style.  Basically it's a rep scheme where you do an "activation" set, rest about 15 seconds, rep out, rest 15 seconds, rep out, etc.  I did my sets with an activation set and three subsequent myo-rep sets.

Dumbbell Rows:  100x10-5-3-3, 100x10-3-3-3

Total reps for each arm in the two sets was 40 compared to 27-32 using straight sets of 3x10.  I'll stick with this scheme for a while as a change to the intensity levels since the gym doesn't have any heavier dumbbells.


  1. Big fan of rest/pause burn out sets with back exercises. Add a couple sets of chins after these and finish yourself off with 50 reps of low pulley rows = beast mode. Been a big help with my traditionally poor lat-activation the last couple months

    1. thanks for the tip Frank! I'll give that a shot one of these workouts.


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