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Best "Gym" Stories

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning' started by BradD, Sep 8, 2013.

  1. BradD


    Jun 22, 2000
    Detectorist's gym idiot thread gave me the idea for this thread.

    What's your weirdest, scariest, most interesting, etc. gym story?

    I'll start with one of mine. It's a little disturbing, so be warned.

    January or February of 1989, during my senior year of high school. My training partner and I were lifting one evening in our HS weight room. He and I had lifted together for three years, and were great pals. He was 5'-9" or 5'-10" and 125 lb in 10th grade, but by our senior year, he was 6' and about 190, and a brute. His DL was in the mid-500s and he PCed about 250.

    I think it was a Tuesday because we had done BP (we squatted on M, BPed on Tu, skipped W, DLed and PCed on Th, and did more pressing stuff on F). One of our other friends, a chemically-enhanced hot-head, was BPing that day also. He asked my partner for a spot for a set of three or four with 238 (metric weight set), and he complied. I had just finished a set of weighted dips and was watching his BP set while I removed the weight belt. The lifter got all but one rep, and stalled on the last one. Spotter did a good job and pulled him past the sticking point and racked the weight.

    The lifter sat up, grabbed the end of the bench between his legs, lifted it to a short height, and slammed it while he was cursing about missing the lift. This movement pitched the bar off the rack, dropping it to the bench below. It bounced wildly and settled in a position across the bench, bent. I was looking right at it, and I clearly remember my first thought: "Those ******** bent that bar. We're going to be in trouble." They both headed out of the room pretty quickly.

    I went over to the bench and grabbed one end of the bar and lifted it around to the other side and sat it on the ground in case a coach came in. Not sure what I thought we'd do with the bar, but it seemed wrong to leave it bent over the bench. It was bent pretty severely. As I bent over to set it down, I noticed a single drop of fresh blood. I thought the bar had bounced over and hit the lifter in the back or back of head, or something.

    I headed out into the corridor. I found the two of them standing in an alcove at the basketball gym, just a few yards away, so I headed over to them and asked what's up. My pal was holding his left hand in his right hand. He opened his right hand to reveal his left hand.

    You see, it turns out that he was hanging onto the bar as it fell. No way in the world that he could let it go that fast. His finger was between the bar and the bench pad. I was looking right at them while the bar fell, and had no idea any of this happened. It happened THAT suddenly and fast. If anybody has any idea of catching a weight, or getting out of the way, abandon that hope now. It's not gonna happen!

    The end of his left index finger, starting at the back of his fingernail was pinched off and dangling by what looked like a piece of white dental floss (the tendon, presumably). The end of the finger bone looked like a gleaming white tooth sticking out of the wound. I had never seen anything like that, so jumped back and yelled.

    There were no adults near us, and we were 25 min. from the nearest hospital. We should've gotten in the car immediately and hauled butt there, but we went looking for a coach. We finally found one and one of the adults took him to the hospital where the MDs tried to re-attach the finger. No luck. It was too late, so they had to snip off some of the bone, re-attach the tendons, and close it. He later said there was little or no pain for about 10-15 min. after the event, then the pain was unbearable. He also had some torn muscles in his upper back from the sudden force application.

    He went back into the gym in about a month IIRC, and regained strength pretty quickly. He and I competed in the regional football players' weight lifting contest in April or May and we did very well. He was even able to do the PC and I think he was back near his PR by that time. He ended up also breaking the district's discus throw record with 134 ft 10 in. IIRC. Later, he went to med school and I think he ended up being a pathologist, so I guess his finger is serving him well enough!
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2013
  2. BradD


    Jun 22, 2000
    Next time, I'll type about the literally homicidal lifter who yelled a lot, but we were afraid to say anything about it...

  3. California Jack

    California Jack Millennium Member

    Aug 2, 1999
    Unfortunately my gym is so exclusive I think there is only one fruit loop that works out there. So far there have been no incidences to reort.
  4. JimBianchi

    JimBianchi Da Da CLM

    Feb 15, 2006
    Las Vegas
    About two months into a one year assignment (1988) at Galena Apt, AK. It was leg day. Once again my lifting partner begged off, so it was 2 a.m. and I was lifting alone.

    Half way into my scheduled heavy day I wasn't feeling the burn, so I went to super sets, hack squats and leg presses. Around 550lbs each.

    Set two, on the down hack, I felt and heard a "pop."

    I lost all feeling in my legs and was lower then the safety catches on the machine. Stuck with 550lbs on me.

    I was able to arch my back and get the weight on the ground, getting it off of me and roll out.

    I laid there, paralyzed from the waist down, scared sheetless.

    I pulled my self to the side nearest the door and waited for some one to show up and help.

    About an hour later I could feel my feet and soon I could stand.

    I knew where the medic lived in the dorms so I woke him and told him what happened. He gave me muscle relaxers, pain killers and three days off.

    Of course the worse winter in 25yrs hit us the next week. We had people dropping like flies, so I took many many drugs and worked the desk sergeants job for the duration. (and a side job downtown 5 or 6 days a month)

    Six months later winter breaks and I finally take my long johns off long enough to see myself in a mirror.

    My left leg is half the size of my right and there a huge blue bruise on the bottom of my foot I can't feel.

    I show the medic and he books me on plane in week to the doctor in Anchorage. I keep self medicating (darvocet and J.D.), working and lifting light. The pain is very manageable it seems.

    I get to the city and find out I have a 100% rupture at L5S1 and damage to my spinal cord from 6+ months of pressure. I walked in, hopped on the table and by time the CAT was done, the doc had me in a wheelchair begging me to not jump any more for fear of more damage.

    They flew me all the way to San Antonio for a month. After surgery I was tight, but off the crazy self-meds. I barely passed a medical board and was able to stay in and finish my career, though the end was not as gloriously pain free as the beginning, I did walk out up right in 2002.

    Of course now I have moderate to worsening damage to my back and legs that is slowing progressing and getting the best of me.

    All because I wanted to feel the burn.
  5. BradD


    Jun 22, 2000
    Wow, Jim, that's terrible!!! And on a hack squat no less. After the first reading, I figured it was on the LP. :(

    What kind of surgery did you have? Is there any potential for further treatment to help the situation?
  6. yes, Jim, please elaborate on the surgery and potential further treatments. I'm on my second discectomy/laminotomy (sp?) and am always curious as to what my future may bring.

  7. JimBianchi

    JimBianchi Da Da CLM

    Feb 15, 2006
    Las Vegas
    I had a disc removed in July 1989. 30 days in the hospital, then 60 days convalescent leave. Since I was 26 and in the best shape of my life I recuperated fast, but I spoke to a private doctor and he agreed this was a career ending injury, it was only a matter of time. ( I admit, I abused my liver to pass the medical board, but have not since) Even 5 years later I still only had 80% of my strength back. (but 80% was still a lot. I was still stronger than 90% of the men I worked with)

    It helped that the AF went to bike test around this time. I tried distance running and it killed me at any reasonable speed and distance, so a bike test was a gift that kept me able to pass a fitness test.

    I could run short fast distances, even ran down a trespasser in 1995, afterwards I had three days scheduled off and that saved me from going to the hospital.

    Around then I was senior trainer and senior desk SGT so I used that to my advantage to prevent further injury and still be valuable. I told my commander about it and she let me ride the LE desk for over a year, until I hit 16yrs active and could get full medical retirement. LTC Fronzac saved my azzz, and I thanked her for it at her going away, the week before my second medical board for my back. (which forced me to retrain, not get out. Miracle)

    An MRI and CAT revealed I had 5 more disc's above the L5S1 that were severely bulging and putting pressure on the spine. This is also when they found a bone spur the the size of a pinky nail at the L5S1 pressing on the spine, bone on bone for 9 years did me no favors. These two things combined were the new problem. And the official solution sucks.

    It is too much damage to fix. When I am in a wheelchair they will go in and fix what they can. Even private docs agree it is a lot of damage and surgery is only a last resort.

    So I have followed the advise I got, as well as I can.

    Stay thin (harder than it seems when you are 50 and on a cane)
    Keep your core strong
    Don't jump off anything, period.
    Avoid lifting weights greater than 25# forever. (My daughter weights 50#, I still carry her, I mean, you got to sometimes!)

    No fighting or sudden twists or jerking motions. (Only one real fight since 1998, and it was a long recovery in 2006. I was CCW and chose not to shoot him. Zimmerman case was similar, but I had years of fights and fighting and knew I would not loose. I did not want to on the news for shooting an 18y old Mexican HS school kid who threatened me with a bottle. So I waxed him into an ambulance and used a cane for months afterwards. Wife worked for and knew the DA, the kids plea deal offered was a one year felony, and he does every day. He took it the day of trial to avoid the slam-dunk 5+ he was looking at. And he did every day, I checked.)

    So getting thin again (OK, thinner) I lost 100+ and ruined my right hip with too many miles of walking and hiking. Go figure.

    Total Hip replacement two years ago and now I have bad limp and tremendous weakness in my right leg requiring a cane/walker and soon a wheelchair. Something is wrong and the doctors can't find it. After 18 months of tests it is worse now then even before the hip replacement. The limp has also aggravated my back of course. I am being proactive getting in the pool three or four times a week and it seems to help.

    The one saving grace here is we have enough money saved that I don't have to ever work again. Wife can even call it quits in 8 yrs if she wants, if she quit now, it would be tight, but hardly unbearable. She likes her job, is up for another promotion and can go far in the DA's office if she wants. We are great with money, and have a good plan with a lot of wiggle room. And I get to be a full-time Dad to a great kid, she almost 8 year old and a total Daddy's girl.

    While she is in school each day I can go to the range or shoot airguns at home (I figure I could shoot 200rds a week of various calibers for three years before I have to buy a single bullet! If you include airguns, another three years! I have so much ammo on hand from the panic of 2008 forward I have run out of room in the safe and need to shoot up what is stored in cardboard on my bench.)

    My leg is bad this week so getting to the range is out, but the pool beckons to me daily I think this week.
  8. Detectorist


    Jul 16, 2008
    Fortunately, we know a lot more about safe training than we did in the old days.

    I have lots of friends asking me about weight training and I always caution them about machines like the hack squat and Smith machines.

    There are so many folks at gyms I go to who perform the exercises incorrectly and in such an unsafe manner, I cringe.

    Thanks for your post, Jim, and hope you will continue to do relatively well.
  9. 1. the dingbat who unloaded one side of a bar on a too narrow rack. The bar pinwheeled off the rack and narrowly missed a person who "saw it coming".

    2. the dingbat who unracked far too heavy for him load off the squat rack, backed up, almost fell, did a few very shallow reps, staggered forward, reracked the bar.

    3. the time I was spotted, on a decline bench, by a very attractive woman who was capable of squats in the +400 range.

    4. the time I was doing behind-the-neck-dumbbell-presses and a very attractive woman laid down on the leg-curl machine directly in front of me. If I recall correctly I lost count at 3.

    5. the man-mountain who entered the gym, placed 225 on the bench and did 12 reps. Added 90 more pounds and did 12 more reps. Added 90 more pounds and did 12 more reps. Added 50 or 70 (I forget which) more pounds then asked me if I could spot him.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2013
  10. BradD


    Jun 22, 2000
    GM, you have some funny stories.

    My second best one, but I'll keep it shorter this time: Back in circa 1991, I was lifting in a small gym in VA. It had a pretty nice room with two power racks and platforms. There was one guy in there who was, IIRC, about 5'-10" and 200 lb, pretty strong. Let's call him Applejack (we already have one fruitloop in the forum LOL!), or AJ for short. AJ would load up the squat with six or more 45 lb plates on each side and do about half squats, literally screeeaaaammming at the top of his lungs like he was being tortured or something. AJ had bent at least one bar. I complained to the guy at the desk about the repeated screaming, and he said something like "I'm not going to say anything to him, and I suggest you don't either."

    Later, I found out that AJ had mental illness issues. He used to work in a gas station, and a fellow ran out of gas a little ways up the road, and showed up at the station with a plastic jug. AJ was a rigid rule follower (of rules he liked anyway, apparently), so he told the guy not to fill the plastic container. The guy ignored him and started to fill it anyway. AJ attacked him and literally beat him to death. He had spent time in prison or was detained in a mental health facility, or something, but was out by the time I knew him.

    Moral of the story: Be careful. You don't know what that other guy will do if provoked, or what it might take to provoke him!

    I'll try to think of a happy story next time ROFL!!!
  11. BradD


    Jun 22, 2000
    GM, I have one about like your first one.

    A few years ago, I was in our local Y and a man came in with his daughter. She was probably about 12. He was pretty small, but was pretty strong. He could do a fair number of BP reps with 250 and would do about half (the top half!) reps with 315. One day, after he finished with 315, he unloaded one plate from the right side of the bench as his daughter stood on the left side near the weight. Then, he pulled another 45 off. She didn't do anything. Then, he pulled the last 45 off his side. This was a regular bench with a wide rack, but the unbalanced weight was easily enough to flip the bar off the rack, with three 45 lb plates landing at her feet. The bar moved VERY fast after he pulled the last one off. I think he did that on purpose to show her the importance of gym safety. (not) LOL
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013
  12. matt_lowry123


    Nov 23, 2008
    owensboro KY
    About 10 years ago I walked into the gym and I see an over weight guy stuck in the leg press. He had too much weight on it and smashed him in there. It wasn't that big of deal, but he was too fat to get out. I stripped the plates off and he pushed the sled up and left. Never saw him again.

    I once saw a guy benching 225 with a false grip and it fell on him when his arms were dang near locked out. I'm not really sure what happened. He was a strong guy, benched around 340 or so, but he dumped it on his chest. He shoved it off and ran out to his truck and left. Never saw him again either.

    About 4 months ago these 3 guys walked in the gym and were talking about maxing out on bench. The first one tried 275 cold and couldn't get it. The spotter racked it for him and the next guy tried it and couldn't get it. Then the third guy tried and the same thing happened. Now most people would drop down in weight at this point, but these guys went up in weight and tried 315. None of them could get it. These people caught my attention because they were extremely loud.

    In college there were 3 girls that were huge. They benched around 225-250 and were on the shotput and hammer throw team. Anyways it's the first week of a strength class and we went to the gym. There were a few guys in there that could hardly bench 115 and they had to workout next to chicks double their size and strength. I think there were about 30 people in the class and the guys that weren't as strong as these girls dropped out.
  13. Thanks for the compliments about my funny stories. Here's another:

    Many years ago (early 1980s) I lifted in a room which was on the second floor or 3rd floor of a YMCA. There was a window to the outside world. One of the regulars brought in his getto-blasting-boom-box each day. The only tape he ever wanted to play was Bruce Springbeam's Born in the USA. After what seemed to be months of hearing that same tape, and to this day I hate that song he was one day told (not by me): "Rich, bring that thing in tomorrow and it's going out the window. Put up a fight and you will go with it."
  14. Were they hot?
  15. matt_lowry123


    Nov 23, 2008
    owensboro KY

    One of them was pretty hot. She was lean, but pretty solid. Kind of like one of those cross fit games chicks. Her face wasn't that pretty, but her body made up for it. I remember she asked for a spot on bench. She did 185x4. I'll never forget that because she was wearing this spandex workout tank top, bra thing and she had kind of big boobs. The kicker was, her nips were hard!! I was trying my best not to look :rofl:

    The other two were huge, and built like men. I'm 6'6" and could almost look them in the eye. They were every bit of 6' and had to be a solid 190 pounds. Maybe more than that?