Powerlifter Guardian Angels: Elite tactical athletes






According to not-so-recent research, more than 95% of the world population believes in some form of deity. Along with it, usually people believe in protective entities that are frequently called “guardian angels”. If you are reading this article, chances are (95%, to be precise) that you believe in both.

Supposing they do exist, their reason to do so is that creatures must be protected. Some creatures need more protection than others because they are more vulnerable or more prone to being harmed or suffering some type of injury. It is my argument that if angels exist, they are probably organized in departments or hierarchies according to the tasks at hand. Therefore, the ones dedicated to protecting the most prone to injury will probably be the most skilled and conditioned. Powerlifters’ guardian angels, along with babies’ G.A. would probably be at the top: they would likely be some sort of angelic tactical athlete: they must be ready for any danger, any time, any place.

(DISCLAIMER: I am not being sarcastic as to the religious content of this argument. Whether you believe them or not, the G.A. hypothesis is a pretty logical one)

Today I did the most stupid thing I ever heard of in this sport, I could have lost one or more fingers in the accident I caused, besides other injuries, and ended up with minor bruises. Although not a proof of the above thesis, it might be considered an important evidence (given the assumption that G.A. exist). Ok, I did many stupid things in powerlifting, but let’s stick to one at a time.

I’ve already asked and speculated on this question on a previous article, but here it goes again: why is it that we manage to surpass ourselves in the ability of doing stupid (really, really stupid) things as we grow closer to an important championship?

For those speculations, I’ll refer you to the previous article (https://www.mariliacoutinho.com/why-do-athletes-do-stupid-things-right-befor-the-contest-part-1/ ). The present article describes one of the most stupid accidents I have managed to orchestrate.

It went like this. Squat day. Strength day (not dynamic, not power: strength). The Worlds is right around the corner. I lift on November the 8th. First attempts have already been established. So let’s work on weak points. Isometric core control under parallel, transition between eccentric and concentric. What’s one of the best exercises for this? Dead squats! What a great idea.

As always, there were two of us: Andre and me. Andre is 5ft11” , I’m 5 ft. That is a 30cm difference – not negligible. We set up the power cage safety bars, the Olympic bar over it and proceeded to check bar height. Humm… Good for him, too high for me. Good for me, squeezes him so that he loses all mechanical advantage.

Then I had this GREAT idea: let’s stack a bunch of discs and we’ll keep the same rack safety bar height. Two of them were sort of rough, but it wasn’t high enough. No big deal: let’s add the (Olympic) blue one.

You can probably figure out what happened next: I slipped (what a surprise) to the left, me and the bar fell to the left, the bar squeezed my hand over the power cage safety bar.

I went through the stages of alarm (“oh my god, did I break anything? how am I going to deadlift”), denial (“nothing happened, let’s keep squatting”), a slight slip into reason (“better check”), a slight maniac happiness (“I’m ok! Tomorrow’s snatch and clean & jerk day!”) and then a slight depression due to pain and humiliation (“how can a person be so dumb”).

Now, dear reader, you don’t need a Ph.D. to figure out that stacking three relatively thin layers of metallic, slippery material, standing on the pile and executing a (by definition) unstable movement is really, really stupid. I mean: can it get more stupid than that? Tell me. I think not.

So, why does a person like me do it? Can even consider doing it? Does it happily and enthusiastically?

(  ) 1. Because intelligence is a multi-factorial feature, or maybe not a feature at all, but a collection of capabilities (innate and developed). So I can be smart, average and stupid at the same time, for different things. I don’t think there’s any doubt that I can be stupid – I EXCEL in being stupid (sometimes).

(  ) 2. Happiness. That statement contains a dangerous corollary: happiness decreases cognitive ability. Be careful…

(  ) 3. Over-confidence. That’s a good one. “Ah, that’s an easy thing to do and the weight is light”. The problem is, in this case, it would involve a deep state of denial, since dead squats are far from “easy” and 120kg X 5 reps for a 60kg BW lifter is not exactly “really light”. At least my hand didn’t find it that light when smashed under the weight.

(..) 4. Because powerlifters are, by definition, reckless and suffer cognitive age decrease along a training session. The longer it is, the more fun it gets, the more childish the lifter becomes.

Follow the pictures bellow to get a full perspective on the stupidity of the accident. And no, “shit happens” does not apply: “shit happens” is something you say when a bad UNEXPECTED thing happens. In this case, a good thing would be unexpected!

Have fun, because if we’re unable to laugh at our mistakes, life can become pretty boring.


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