Stay healthy & lift hard – My story of how I almost died in the gym

April 08, 2016

Keep yourself healthy. If you aren’t healthy, you can’t lift. If you can’t lift you get really twitchy and annoy your wife by updating her each day multiple times a day about how you feel a little better but you still can’t lift. It isn’t good for you and it sure isn’t fun for her either. :)

I have been lifting regularly for 6 years. In that time I have been very lucky. I have never suffered an injury while in the act of lifting. However, I have been injured twice and had one near death experience while in the gym. All were stupid accidents and 100% my fault. Learn from my mistakes and stay safe.

Tip #1
Use a spotter. If you don’t have a spotter skip the exercise.

My near death experience – I was benching without a spotter early in the morning. It was around 6:00. My muscles were cold. The only other person in the gym was the attendant and he was all the way across the room. I ended up getting halfway through a set and failing on decline bench with 185 pounds on the bar. Just so you know failing on decline bench is a really, really fucking bad idea. Your head is below your body. Your body is pressed into a hard bench. Your legs are both wrapped under a pad and locked in.

There I was locked in benching 185 pounds and I failed. I failed massively. No matter how hard I pushed I just couldn’t move the weight. Knowing I was in serious trouble I paused and tried again. The bar ended up barely moving this time. At this point my arms were shaking and my face was beet red. I started to freak out. Luckily, I still had enough strength to hold the bar so it didn’t slide any closer to my head. I rested and tried to quickly work it up my body against incline. I ended up shoving and gyrating and finally got the weight up to my midsection. It was odd feeling the full weight of the bar press deep into my body (it felt like it was steamrolling my body as I shoved it up). I got it to that point and the attendant must have heard me moaning like a hurt animal because he started running over to help. I was able to sit upright with the weight still on my lap. Then I was able to extricate myself without his help. He looked at me wide eyed and asked if I was ok. I assured him I was, scurried home and tried to forget about the incident. Even now when I think back on that day I still am freaked out about how close I came to dying. If my grip gave out on me it would have been very messy.

Tip #2
Light weight is still really fucking heavy.

A 15 pound dumbbell is light, right? You can throw it around. As you get stronger you get cockier. The problem is when you drop one of those “light” weights on your foot, or head, or chest it suddenly doesn’t feel so light. :)

Be alert when you are in the gym. I have had two injuries with “light” weights and both were my fault.

The first time I was injured I was sitting down doing dumbbell shoulder presses with 60lbs. I had a dumbbell balanced on each of my knees. I wrapped an arm around one dumbbell as I reached to adjust my headphones. The dumbbell I was holding with my arm slipped and ended up slamming into the other dumbbell. The problem was my other hand was in the way leaving my middle finger to take the brunt of the impact. Fortunately, I ended up not breaking the finger. I just bruised my ego a bit.

The second gym incident happened when I was doing weighted chins. I was in the process of strapping a 35lb weight around a belt when it slipped off the chain. Again, it was totally my fault and a stupid mistake. It slipped because I wasn’t paying close enough attention strapping it on and it was “just” a 35. Well…let me tell you that 35 pounds feels like a cinderblock falling from the ceiling when it hits directly on a bone. It fell and hit solidly on my right foot. At first I was hopeful that it just glanced off and didn’t do any damage. As it turns out I had a hairline fracture. Thankfully, I was still able to walk (with moderate pain) and was fairly mobile. Not a horrible injury in the end but definitely one I will never forget.