The Squatronomicon

Long in my wanderings did I travel the land of Cathay, searching for
the perfect bicep pump. I learned the squeeks and grunts of the
inscrutable and diminutive natives, eventually reaching a high
mountain temple, filled with Nautilus machines and Tibetian monks at
the end of the Silk Road. After months of curling, crunches and
skullcrushers, yet still without overall progress, I was granted
audience with the reclusive Master of the retreat.

Legends were told of his hideously deformed body and the amazing feats
of functional strength it could perform. My pulse quickened as I
passed through the quarters of his attendants, each milking yaks or
cows into gallon-sized buckets. In the name of what twisted and
foreign gods would these secretions be sacrificed? I kept my curiosity
at bay, and recited my 7-day bicep/calve split routine to ease my
fluttering pulse.

As I ascended the thousand steps to the inner sanctum, thinking all
this cardio would be great for my gains, a clanging and then
shuddering of the earth began to filter into my brain. It sounded
almost like leg extension plates banging at the end of a rep, but the
cadence and tempo was unfamiliar. Almost as if someone were curling a
great weight, then dropping it each rep. I pressed on, aware of
obscure machines rising from the plateau ahead.

To my disgust and bemusement, the Master was… lifting the bar from
the floor, except without rounding his back as we had been taught to,
then…jumping with the bar and then…curling the bar to his
shoulders whilst airborne. The sight offended me greatly.

When he dropped the bar, my eyes then fell upon his puny biceps first.
This man called himself the Master of this temple? This was the man
they spoke of with respect and fear? His bloated, milk stained leotard
strained to cover his massive gut and his… his… his…

When my eyes fell upon his unholy quads and glutes, I immediately
vomited from vertigo and nausea. They were unlike the straight and
true pencils all men possessed, but seemed to bulge through time
itself. While I was paralysed with the non-Euclidean geometry of his
thighs, he turned from his rubber (Rubber? What witchery!) plates and
squatted, squatted so deep beside me that I cried out involuntarily
for the safety of his knees. From his belt, wordlessly, his handed me
a small pouch.

He indicated that I should eat it. Too stunned to resist or suggest
another course of action, I opened the feedbag and found it full of
oats. Did he take me for a beast of burden? His ass rising fluidly
from the ground, he bid me stand. He began to talk in an strange
tongue, I could only manage the words “SS” “squats” “oats” and the
repeated phrase that filled my heart with dread: “hip drive”. His chant
was echoed from the arcane racks and stands around us, but by some
trick of acoustics altered to “lower, faggot”.

I was helpless as a child as he led me to the curl rack. Putting the
weight not on my shoulders but on my lats, he forced me to adopt a
close grip and… and… together we descended to nameless depths,
past even the quarter squat familiar to a lunatic fringe. Down towards
endlessly reproducing stars, without reason, without passion. My anus
prolapsed. I saw through time and space.

I don’t know how long I was at the bottom of that squat for. As a
once-staunch curlbro, I began to pray to my god of popped collars and
douchebag haircuts. There was no answer and I truly despaired. I
begged anyone, anything to help me in my darkest hours. I thought of
my most beloved thing in the world, and offered it to the ancient and
bulking gods laughing at my miserable plight. I whispered “Snausages”
and my vision at last went dark.

I felt an invisible string attach itself to my ass and guide me from
the bottom back up to the top of the squat. When my vision returned, I
had already racked the bar. The Master beckoned me to a cold iron
strongbox in the centre of the room, beside a brazier full of dusty
white incense that covered the bars, the Master and even myself.

From it, he took a grimore bound in soft leather. Its title read
“Squatronomicon”, authored by the Mad Texan, Al-Rippleteats. The
Master handed me the book, and as I opened it, I was assaulted by
horrifying diagrams and obscene blasphemous information. Instead of
recoiling like I once would have, instead I grew stronger on the heady
brew. The master handed me a gallon bucket of yak milk, and distaining
a chair, I squatted down and began to read.

The young cultist in the book was me, diligently going ass to ground
on the squats and carrying out the deadlift, press, clean and bench.
As I flipped through the pages, fresh red ink stained the vellum of
the grimore. I began to feel the leather, and noticed bellybuttons, as
if it had been bound in excess human skin.

As I continued to read, I felt my butt-abs grow in size and
definition, and my heart harden. Truly, this was world-changing
knowledge. I wondered what price the knowledge was extract from me. As
I finished the tome, I reached the acknowledgements, seeing the dark
lord Rippletits in his un-aesthetic glory. On the last page was
picture of myself, going ATG on a 300kg squat. I was pausing on rug of
some sort, a rug that reminded me of my dog Snausages.

Then it hit me like a dropped 500kg decline bench.

Months later, my father’s estate sent a rescue party to find his son
and heir, after he died in an unfortunate Smith Machine malfunction
involving 1000kg calve raises. Supposedly, even dental records were
unsuitable to identify him. Only the distinctive tribal sleeve tattoo
remained to say it was my father.

They found me there, in the temple. Having suffered through days of
strange trembling mountainsides, distressing smells of egg, rotting
milk and fermented oats, along with avalanches triggered by sudden
convulsions of the earth, my rescue party reached the inner sanctum of
the temple. Pushing aside gnawed bones both human and animal, they
found the master ritually killed in a circle of chalk. Even in death,
the Master remained in a perfect squat.  Beside the corpse was a shaft
that stretched deep below the earth.

As chance would have it, the mountain lurched again, and one token
minority fell into the gaping hole.  Horrifying cracks and gulps were
heard from the very base of the mountain. Sending one plucky curlbro
down the shaft, they discovered me there at the bottom. A bar on my
shoulders, a bar constructed by an ancient race, for a forbidden
exercise. My shoulders were supporting the entire weight of the
LMAO!1! 2 PEAK above.

I was going ATG.


Blessed latjob of peace

Blessed latjob of peace

There comes a time in your life when you realise that many of your problems, lifting or otherwise, are self inflicted. When your lumbar spine is injured and you’re being investigated for spondylolisthesis, there’s always the temptation to say “my life was better before I touched a barbell”.

But your mistakes stretch back like chains. They anchor long before you ever felt the touch of chrome plated steel and heard the words of the dread Texan. Those mistakes bind you to your past and guide your future on its course. But it’s OK to feel trapped sometimes, right?

The tendonosis that crippled me from 2008 to 2010, in my first two years of college was caused not by congenital weakness, but by years of imageboard culture and poor posture. I never got my back pain looked at, because it went away. That’s normal, right? I was underweight, because a 1700-day diet calorie with no saturated fat is normal for a young man,right? I wanted to study law and business, because being a writer or a physiotherapist was unrealistic. Guess your dreams always end, right? My one saving grace is a highschool romance that’s lasted 6 years and counting. I made choices, and those choices have consequences.

I’ve ticked the boxes that tell people I’m a functioning member of society. “Welcome to the human race, son.”

Nobody wants to be here, but ultimately nobody wants to leave. Try to try. Trying to unfuck what came before today. Try test-retest your mental health. Don’t create, just tell a story. Try again. Play pretend. Try regaining ROM. Try analysing less.

All I can be sure of is this: get comfortable being in the bottom position, because you’re going to be fucked a lot.