Dumb Weightlifting Questions
Greg Everett

It was suggested to me by our talented editor Yael that I write an article about “dumb” weightlifting questions. I turned to the internet’s leading repositories of dumb questions—Facebook and Twitter—for some ideas. The following are some of the better ones you provided me. She told me my answers were obnoxious and unhelpful so I'll be doing a real version in the Performance Menu next month, but I figured these shouldn't go to waste. Please note that none of these answers will be helpful.  

Will knee wraps make me stronger?
No. They will make you lift more weight.  

What's a WOD?
It’s an obnoxious designation of a workout performed in isolation rather than as a part of a long-term program with purpose and effect.  

How many miles should I run a week?
About one more than how many you’re being chased.  

Do you think if I had better technique I could lift more?
If you’re asking this question, your technique is horrid and your lifts are not heavy enough. So yes.  

Will knee socks make me lift more?

How come people grunt and yell?
Asks the gentleman who’s never physically exerted himself.  

Should I breathe in on the way down and breathe out on the way up?
In an elevator or what?  

Why do weighlifting coaches hate the low bar back squat though powerlifting gurus (Louie Simmons) swear by it?
That’s like asking why baseball players don’t use footballs.  

Why are bumper plates colored like skittles?
Addition is hard enough as it is without having to inspect every plate on the bar to find out what its weight is first.  

Weightlifting and children
That’s not a question. It’s not even a statement. It’s just three English words written consecutively.  

Unilateral exercises or drills to increase speed & balance on your weak side
Also not a question. Just a longer string of words.  

My shoes smell horrible
Not a question and also gross.  

I follow Hook Grip and they posted a pic from the recent Olympics. The pic was of a guy snatching and at the end of the first pull. In the pic he was on his toes, heels were off the ground. Why is this bad? He placed 3rd overall.
It’s not bad and never has been.  

Where are the machines?
In the singlets.  

Do I have to squat?
No. You also don’t have to not be a pussy.  

I know we power clean with a med ball but why don't we power snatch hang squat with a med ball?
We do none of those things and a second mention of them will get you escorted out the front door.  

What's your best 'Fran' time?
Every time I decided not to do Fran.

How do you flip your hands open in the clean from a Hook grip!? I can do it from a regular grip, but when I hook, it is harder for me to manage the flip of the wrists into position. You did say dumb, right?
Stop gripping the bar and push your elbows up.  

Does weightlifting make girls look manly?
There are two kinds of men in the world: Those who find women weightlifters attractive, and those who don’t find women attractive.  

Why are so many weightlifters fat?
Because you don’t know what a weightlifter is and are looking at the wrong people.  

I'd love the definitive discussion on high bar vs low bar. Not really why you would do each one, but more HOW you do each one. Like do you send the hips back first on both or do you just drop down on HBBS? I've heard conflicting advice.
People still use the low-bar back squat?  

How important is ab strength?
Not at all as long as you don’t want to do anything athletic.  

When is a 'weight class' worth considering?
When you compete in a sport that has weight classes.  

What's the single best accessory lift for each of the clean, jerk, and snatch?
The squat.  

I hate the hook grip... Why should I use it?
Get stronger and quicker and you’ll find out.  

Does the bar actually have to touch my body? It hurts my waistline.
No, the bar can be wherever you want it to be, including not overhead.  

Wouldn't it just be easier to power clean it? Why do I have to squat all the way down?
Yes it would. It would also be easier to lift less weight. Even easier to not lift weights at all. It’s weightlifting; it’s supposed to be hard.  

Isn't weightlifting just all technique? Some of those guys don't even look strong.
Yes. If your technique is advanced enough, it will actually circumvent the laws of physics. There is no spoon.  

How can i stop the bar from hitting my knees when i pull?
Stand up.  

Why do I always hit myself in the junk when I do cleans?
Stay over the bar longer. And wear underwear.  

I can power clean way more than I can front squat. What's my problem?
You don’t squat enough.  

Do weightlifting competitions play better music than crossfit competitions?
I don’t know, I’m busy lifting weights, not dancing.  

Biceps curls: no good?
CrossFit propaganda.  

I keep getting bruises on my you know what and hips! What am I doing wrong?
Not keeping the bar close enough to your body before you hump it with your you know what.  

Why do weightlifting girls always have to pee?
I don’t think they do. I think they go hide the bathroom so they can check their iPhones more.  

How do you determine whether an athlete should stick with their bodyweight/weight class, increase to a heavier weightclass or decrease to a lighter weightclass?
Check his bodyweight.  

How do I politely pause a conversation with a cute girl to get my next set in without sounding like a d-bag?
Only a d-bag wouldn’t pause the conversation to train.

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Greg Everett is the owner of Catalyst Athletics, head coach of the USA Weightlifting National Champion team Catalyst Athletics, author of the books Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide for Athletes & Coaches and Olympic Weightlifting for Sports, director/writer/producer/editor/everything of the documentary American Weightlifting, co-host of the Weightlifting Life Podcast, publisher of The Performance Menu journal, fifth-place finisher at the USAW National Championships, masters national champion, masters American Open champion, masters American record holder in the clean & jerk, and Olympic Trials coach. Follow him on Facebook here and and sign up for his free newsletter here.

Read more by Greg Everett


Reload RxStar 2012-10-09
Chuckling as I read this!
Luke 2012-10-09
Totally awesome!
Jeremy Nelms 2012-10-09
Sick as a dog today, and this caused the first smile and actual laughter of my day. "There is no spoon".
Elizabeth Bartlett 2012-10-09
words of wisdom right here.
conor 2012-10-09
"Does weightlifting make girls look manly?
There are two kinds of men in the world: Those who find women weightlifters attractive, and those who don’t find women attractive."
Everett, 2012

Brilliant reply!
Jack Allen 2012-10-09
All the questions were dumb, but some of the answers were actually helpful (to the questioner, not to me).
Paul Schmid 2012-10-09
I'm not even an oly lifter, and this is just some incredibly entertaining and knowledgeable shit. Great post Gregg, you just got yourself a new reader.
Sam Aguirre 2012-10-09
all great! made my day. nicely done Greg.
mikewootini 2012-10-09
I like this article, but it's pre-dated as October 17th, 2012. Happy to be in the future!
Nick 2012-10-09
Best answer by far
What's a WOD?
It’s an obnoxious designation of a workout performed in isolation rather than as a part of a long-term program with purpose and effect
steph 2012-10-09
love this.
Jakob Richloow 2012-10-09
I wish life was this easy. :-)
Michelle 2012-10-10
Another one I have heard is, "how do you get your arms to look like that?"

The response of course is to eat protein, lots of it.
Baron 2012-10-10
These answers were all totally helpful.
Frank Zedar, Flagler Beach (FL) CrossFit 2012-10-10
What's a WOD?
It’s an obnoxious designation of a workout performed in isolation rather than as a part of a long-term program with purpose and effect?
Man, we don't mock Olympic lifters with shots regarding "narrowness of task and singleness of purpose." Because we know it's not all snatches and clean&jerk... We CrossFitters try to learn from you... and you could sure do the same from us! OBTW, we do "barbell curls" for strength... and we do 10-8-6-4-2's in a progression over time and are always working tips from Olympic lifters to work our way up the "technique/form/and PR" ladder! Great Blog - Funny piece!
Jodi 2012-10-10
My favorite is "how many pounds is that?"
Yacob 2012-10-10
It's not bad to have the heels off the ground at the end of the 1st pull??
IAMTOO7 2012-10-12
Is there an article here about what's so wrong with or bad about Crossfit? After all that, it seems a good explanation is needed about what Mr. Everett thinks and is teaching of Crossfit and why; for the less educated.

Greg Everett 2012-10-12
Yakob -

My fault, I misread that question as the end of the 2nd pull. In the case of the first, I'd say it's not ideal, but to call it "bad" seems severe when some of the world's most successful lifters have done this.
Greg Everett 2012-10-12

There is about 6 years worth of info on what I think about CrossFit, good and bad, on this site.
ICanLift 2012-10-15
I am a huge fan of Olympic Weightlifting, as a sport and as an active enthusiast myself. I have your book, I occasionally read yours posts, etc. but the whole negative bit about Crossfit or in general any non-lifting fitness programs is outright exaggerated and narrow minded.
Whether or not Crossfit indirectly encourages bad form and the possibility of injury with Olympic lifts, it still has given a huge visibility to the sport – and quite possibly to your gym and business. How many guys want to learn the lifts now to do better at the WODs? In fact, most likely the majority of the Olympic Weightlifting enthusiasts you see at seminars, etc today are Crossfitters. At least that what they look like when you see the pictures/videos.
Crossfit is not perfect by any means. If poorly taught, it may lead to injury, exhaustion, etc. It is also making it possible for questionably trained individuals to open gyms with no real experience. Even worse it has actually become a huge marketing distraction in recent years instead of focusing on quality.
My point is that the fitness/health-related benefits of a well-executed, consistent high-intensity cross-training program like Crossfit brings are solid. As a sport and fitness activity, Oly lifting by itself will not provide those benefits. If you’re competing, fine, stick to a single minded training program which only targets Oly lifting, get weight and do whatever you need to do to be successful at it. But constantly pointing people away from any cardio-related workouts just to be a better lifter is wrong. Some folks may be in tune with becoming 100% oly lifters and stick to a more strict lifting routine. But a lot of other folks may still want to learn proper form and technique, lift some decent weight, be passionate about it and do well without getting fat, and downright “fitting the oly lifter profile or stereotype”. Just make the difference when you teach, and approach both audiences properly (and with equal enthusiasm) instead of just siding with one training program that is strictly based on Oly lifting foundation.
Greg Everett 2012-10-16
Frank & CanLift -

That's actually not a jab at CF or CFers generally. It's directly a jab at the term and its implications. I'm very aware that not all CFers make that mistake.

I have learned from CF. Did you know that I co-owned the 4th CF affiliate ever? Or that I used to coach at Cf certs? That, in fact, I was on the coaching staff at Dave Castro's Level 1 cert?

In other words, I've been involved with CF--professionally, not just as a guy doing .com workouts occasionally in a garage somewhere--for longer than nearly everyone on the planet. Maybe it's presumptuous of me, but I feel like that's adequate experience to make reasonable critiques of CF. I understand that sometimes they're not fun to hear, and sometimes I do it in a way that seems cruel, but I have dry sense of humor; I don't mean to insult anyone who is working hard and is just interested in doing better. In fact, I have spent the last 8 years doing things to help CFers train and coach better and run better businesses.

My suggestion would be to keep this in mind when reading things you feel are slights against you and understand that if I'm saying something that seems insulting or offensive, it's not because I'm trying to be a dick or make fun of you, but that I've probably been talking about the same problem for many years already and sometimes I have some steam to blow off.

I don't point people away from "cardio" work or anything else, except when appropriate, which is when they want to achieve certain weightlifting goals that warrant that degree of focus. It's not wrong, it's realistic. When people ask me for help, I assume they want the truth, not just to have what they're currently doing validated.

I would encourage you guys to read some more on this site and I think you'll get a better sense of things. My apologies again if you feel insulted, as that's not my intention.
Shawn Furbish 2012-10-17
Thank you Greg. Funny stuff. By the by, I CF but mostly because I don't live in Sunnyvale!
Jason 2012-10-17
I have to agree with Shawn Furbish, great article and I also crossfit wishing you gym was next door!
Spencer James Mackay 2012-10-18
Where are the machines?
In the singlets.

^Can I use that whenever I want?
Kim Goss 2012-10-18
How do you convert kilos to meters? And I realize you're not a fan of white bread, but what about toast?
Greg Everett 2012-10-18
Kim -

Those are a couple of good ones.
Squatchy 2012-10-21
Hilarious. Well played sir :)
derek 2012-10-22
These are best answers about weightlifting which are totally helpful and important part is trainer for better performance..awareness must be the crucial part that all not make the mistake.Good reply
Mark Sanchez 2012-10-23
"When people ask me for help, I assume they want the truth, not just to have what they're currently doing validated.

I would encourage you guys to read some more on this site..."

Spot on.

Plus: In Issue 93 October 2012 of the Performance Menu there is an article titled... Wait for it: Weight Lifting for Crossfit.

Greg, thanks for the websit, the knowledge and the truth you throw at us.
4vrft 2012-10-23
I LOVED this! =) Thank you for making me laugh out loud numerous times, causing my coworkers to wonder what they were missing out on! No need to apologize for any of your answers, Greg. All of your answers are informative and entertaining. I get a lot of joy from your dry sense of humor. I guess I can relate to it pretty well. =)

"How can i stop the bar from hitting my knees when i pull?"

"Stand up."

Awesome! I guess sometimes stating the obvious is just necessary.
Eddie Paz 2012-11-05
Hey when I started I used to wonder about whacking my privates with the bar, and my all female coaches weren't much help... So I say that was not a dumb question!!!
Eddie Paz 2012-11-05
PS. When I say 'weren't much help' I should qualify... I was too embarrassed to ask but I got better and thus grew out of it
Johnny 2012-11-05
Greg you handled yourself like a true gentleman responding to Frank and Canlift and I applaud you. I got nervous for a second. I was hoping you would tell the story of when you were fed up with the whole thing and were about to display your bjj skills as well as your beast like strength.
Jim Storch 2013-12-08
The better question is... "why are skittles colored like bumper plates?"
Scotty 2014-06-14
Reallly funny yet slightly rude. I mean c'mon you could easily give constructive advice to half of those questions. Great job as a comedian but if you ever gave half of those answers to someone in person you'd be a d*ck of a coach
Scotty 2014-06-14
I'm not saying you are! I'm don't know you in person I'm just saying coaches like that suck
Mike 2014-06-14
Im a CFL1 and even I laugh at the Crossfit jokes. Its a joke, not a dick. So quit taking it so hard guys. These answers are too funny, I cant wait to use some of them as responses in real life. Great article Greg!
Greg Everett 2014-06-14
Scotty -

Constructive advice? Kind of like the 262 free articles, 886 free videos, 230 free exercise demos, 2457 free daily workouts, not to mention all the forum posts, FB/twitter advice, almost 10 years of monthly Performance Menu issues, multiple books and DVDs, etc.? Or do you mean in addition to that? Enjoy a bit of humor for a minute.
Lauren 2014-07-09
Love this article!! The matter-of-factness is very refreshing. I especially love your response: "there are two kinds of men: those who find women weight lifters attractive and those who don't find women attractive."

Quick story: I'm at 19 year old girl that loves lifting.
People usually don't expect that. The other day, I showed a guy a photo of my dog on my phone. Like a possessive egomaniac, he continued to scroll through my photo gallery, to find that the next item was a video of me snatching. The first word that came out of his mouth was "Manly".
If a dude (purposely not using the word "man") truly respected women, he would accept them if they did or did not fit into their slim definition of what women and girls should act and look like. If they do not, it extremely apparent that you do not respect women at all!
Lforrester 2015-03-15
My favourite bit was where you said in your article, multiple times, that you weren't seriously answering these questions and yet the CFer's still can't help getting all butthurt in the comments!...
dodo 2015-03-17
The day I see good form from all the people at my local CF gym is the day I will stop making fun of CF.
NOTE: I do CF, but I'm an oly lifter.
Teenamina 2015-08-03
Classic and Timeless!
Stuart 2015-08-04
Kept laughing from top to bottom. Stay awesome coach!
Daniel Graham 2016-08-27
That article is a gem!
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