Day 16 (Part 2) – Globogym Protocol

Posted: March 29, 2011 in Bill Starr 5x5 Intermediate Programme
Tags: , , , , ,

Today took a bit of a twist that threw a curve ball our workout frankly couldn’t catch. We arrived and the fella behind the counter asked if Ross was going to use the SPC (the area of the ISE with the racks, plates, barbells, etc) and he said yes. Now, normally, I’m first in the door and so I grab the code. Today, they swiped Ross’ card which showed he hadn’t signed into the ISE before. Strange to them, but expected by us – I’ve always grabbed the code and he hasn’t had to. So they denied him entry and told him he had to use the downstairs facilities…I was pretty fuming – they’ve seen us in here every 2nd/3rd day for months and now they seemingly can’t remember? Fair on the guys behind the counter, they’re doing their jobs, but a guy entry to something they’d been using for months was pretty peaving. But alas, protocol is protocol…to gain entry again, he’d have to have a gym induction which is hilarious at the ISE – Ross details this later. No coaching offered to these new lifters who assume they’re Ronnie Coleman now they’re allowed to use the “man gym”.

Anyway, instead of completing the day’s work (yesterday’s bench and bent-over row), Ross had to use the “standard gym”…anything in blue is written by Ross Lang, they training partner I’ve been working with for the last few months.

First of all, let me start by expressing my disgust at the inexperience of the staff at the ISE. It is their policy to demand that each one of their members enjoy a brief induction into the strength performance centre or SPC as we fondly know it. This induction is said to involve the phrases: ‘this is the door’, ‘this is a cage’, ‘this is a barbell’, ‘and these are dumbbells’. Without wanting to sound ungrateful, a blind monkey with a speech impediment could conduct this induction; and it would take a blind monkey not to see these fairly obvious facts. So, the induction is pretty pointless if you know what you are doing, (or have at least a monkey’s brain). But for those poor people who don’t what they are doing then what the fuck is the point of the fucking induction if you don’t even tell these unfortunate individuals how to lift safely? Quote from the ISE website: “we’re assuming that your technique is good and this won’t be part of the induction”. Our blog talks a lot about common sense, but outside of this blog I see very little. ISE, how embarrassing must this be for you?


Alas, rules are rules (experience or no), and so I was required to conduct myself in the standard gym downstairs, with the machines, and the recliner bikes, and the swiss balls, and the posers wearing Hollister… But I’m a resourceful boy so on I went and tried to stick to the game plan as much as possible, and the session turned out as follows.


A quick warm up with some classic rage tunes, to get back into the zone, and then to the cables for some bent over rows. I tried to mimic the weight that the bar would be as closely as I could. This roughly worked out as 5×40, 5×50, 5×60, 5×70, 5x82kg.

Next came the bench press (the cables were quite frankly insulting for this): 5×40, 5×50, 5×60, 5×68 (this maxed out the cables, and so I had to turn to the ridiculous machine to up the weight) 5×85, 5×95, 5×110, 5x130kg (this is when the machine maxed out and I wasn’t even breaking a sweat – this implies either that I am very fucking strong, or these are not accurate values and what is more there is no requirement for stabilisation = fucking balls).

Finally, feeling unsatisfied I decided that some squats may heal my soul. However, even though it is the best machine in the building it is just not the same as standing under 135kg raw. There is no pain, no emotional involvement. It would be comparable to fucking a cheap slut down at the docks – hollow, dirty and felt like cheating. I was ashamed. But alas, I had to make do. 5×80, 5×100, 5×120, 5×140, 5x160kg (then the machine maxed out). The numbers seem big, but there is no requirement for technique or stability. It made me sick(er).


When Sean eventually made it down the stairs, he found me sitting there at the machine cold, unchallenged, and displeased. I had missed a session in the SPC, but I had tried to make up for the work and not miss out on gains, however, nothing in that gym was comparable to a cage and a bar with some heavy weights on it (well, that’s not entirely true, there were still bicep curlers…). That gym is for standard people with standard aims, no ideals of strength are to be found in that gym. I want to move forward, constantly improving, constantly challenged. In a cage I find those challenges, but in what is our local equivalent of ‘globogym’ all I find is disappointment, dissatisfaction, and despair (and dildos).

It’s quite clear Ross was pretty pissed off. It’s worth mentioning the ISE were in the right (for their own sake at least). If one of us were injured (walking in the front door inappropriately, thinking a barbell was a toothbrush and dumbbells were treadmills) then the blame would fall on them…of course, seeing as everyone’s technique is “good”, they’re not liable for people who are brand new to lifting killing themselves. They offer some lifting classes – I’ve never seen a single one take place, nor have I ever seen the “Strength and Conditioning Coach” ever do anything more than speak to frequent members. Ah well, a man can dream…if you’re reading this because you landed here by pure chance but happen to be in Dundee and wanted to train up there, but were just too confused about where to start, for the love of God, let us know – we’ll gladly help you with the knowledge we do have…free of charge, free of bias and free of bullshit.

I went to the SPC in order to finish yesterday’s work – bench and bent-over rows.

Bench was a big gain – 80kgs for 5 reps with absolutely minimal pause. Lightyears away from the 77.5 failure 2 weeks ago. Though I’d imagine rage played a part! A kind soul obliged when I asked if he’d spot me for the exercise (ensure I wasn’t going to break my neck) which was appreciated. He won’t be reading this, but thank you, again. I feel my benching is technically apt – I’m enjoying the exercises here and feel it’s been one of my most relevant gains, following years of only pulling in a rowing world…God forbid we did any antagonistic work, eh, Pete? (Personal joke, apologies).

Bent over rows were more challenging than normal as my back was aching more than usual – a day spent in front of a computer will do that to you. Regardless, the work was completed and I was satisfied.

I then went to join Ross and complete some pull ups down stairs…focusing on eccentrics as usual.

5 pull ups (2 fingers)
5 with 3
5 with 4
5 with a full grip

Then the gym shut.

Noted lessons:

– Know your gym protocol…
– This gym is our only choice…the staff are inexperienced, the inductions are a waste of time and the ethos can be considered “menopausal” at best.
– Try your damn best to make do with what you have…endure the company (iPod is a God-send) and the limited facilities – you can only row with the oar you’re holding.

The following is a post made by Shelby Starnes today on T-Nation (which looks like a gay porn site) but his suggestions here are pure gold:

“Stop talking about yourself (nobody is listening)

Stop wearing sweatshirts so you look bigger, or tank tops so people can see your muscles (if you’re muscular, people will be able to tell regardless of what you wear)

Stop trying to impress others (start trying to impress yourself)

Stop following the herd (start making your own trail)

Stop lifting with your ego (start lifting with your heart)”

Check out some of his other inspirational posts HERE…worth checking daily.

For the record, I still don’t condone lifting for aesthetics outside of “de-runting” yourself…that is, going from skinny to the point you feel depressed to “acceptable”. If your build is distracting you from daily life, get bigger…if you want to be the size of a bus…or rather a bus stacked full of people running on an RC-Car battery, then fire away, but I think you look ridiculous and so do women everywhere.



  1. iseuser says:

    I have to say I’m disappointed, I’ve read your blog. You seem like smart blokes and I admire your mission to move heavy objects to see what happens. But to say folks with no goal/plan shouldn’t go to the gym is sad. In this day of obesity and down-right laziness people should be applauded for any attempt at exercise or bettering themselves. I appreciate that exercise is benefited from having goals and training plans, I use them myself, but this isn’t for everybody.
    ISE is a student gym, if you want to go judge people please do elsewhere. Folks like yourself make the people who would benefit from facilities most less likely to go. ISE is for everybody. The equipment there is of a good standard, and the folk who attend are friendly. However not returning equipment or missing equipment is poor etiquette and I agree with you on that.
    So take a step back remember that your goal is not to slag others, most of your blogging takes the rip out of other users and staff. Leave the ISE staff out of this. Gym inductions are an essential part of the facilities operating procedures. As soon as someone steps into the gym without one the insurance is void.
    I wish you well on your mission.
    ISE gym user.

    • Well Joe Bloggs, what can I say, it’s a pleasent change to meet some criticism!
      You’ve taken issue with what I’ve said about “no goal/no plan” and I do understand where you’ve met irritation. However, without a training plan or a real goal when you’re actually at the gym, what are the chances you’re going to see gains of any sort at all? These same people are going to the gym with no real motivation, no way of measuring any successes they’re making and, therefore, nothing to motivate them any further. Without a viable way of seeing your own progress, the gym is just a “painful” experience – an unfortunate thing that MUST be done to lose fat and look big in a tight shirt. In due time, with no goal and/or no plan, what chance do you have? That’s why I posted, and I echo here, that if you’re in the gym without a clue, you should go home.
      If you have no goal at all (the likes who would like to lose a bit of weight but aren’t actually too bothered) I urge to never bother with the gym. Why? Because that hour/two that they spend in the gym could be spent doing things they’re going to see benefits from – reading, studying, whatever…you’ll learn something, but you won’t make a physical gain in a single gym session – consistency is vital.
      I said myself that the ISE staff were not at fault – “fair to the guys behind the counter, they’re just doing their job” or something to that effect, so no, my issue isn’t with them. An issue I have is that ISE not having a qualified S&C coach on site, but that’s another matter. (Or at least the fella I mentioned I haven’t seen do a single thing).

      As for the general “miffed” context some of these posts contain – some things will never change. I can’t be arsed with vanity having spent a stint of my youth thinking I was the dog’s bollocks because I had big arms…I was 15, mind you. If your goal is to have big muscles and make up for something you feel is missing, jolly on, but don’t curl in the squat rack and don’t storm about like you’re Vin Diesel. If your goal is strength, you’re on the right blog.

      Good luck to you too, whatever you do and with whatever plan.


  2. johnsonB says:

    I’m sorry to agree with iseuser, I’ve read this blog and have to say im disappointed, fair play go to the gym and be focused on training but to judge each user there is simply pathetic. I refer you to the “skinny” guy, if he looks lost and you’re experts offer him some help, give him a few pointers. When i first went to the gym I’d always take advice off the older guys. Also the guy training for aesthetics, how do you know? If it’s a uni gym then perhaps these people are keeping strength up for a team sport, sorry if their training doesn’t meet your standard. Also to rant at an establishment for having an obligation to undergo an induction is just stupid. As said above inductions are there for insurance purposes, the most experienced of body builders would still require an induction. I know you’ve addressed that point already so fair enough but I wanted to have my say and I can imagine it would be frustrating but there’s an easy fix. With regards to the PT or Strenght and Conditioning Coach it’s very rare that PT would do anything for free, you’d probably have to book a session or else be a sporting scholar to qualify for a free session.
    anyway best of luck for the rest of your training but just leave the judging behind, you sound like as soccer player/high school girl.

    • I’ve explained my responses to pretty much every point you’ve made. I’d add:

      – Aesthetics guy = seated bicep curls ONLY, every time I’ve seen him. (I come across him when I’m looking for a bench). What sport is he training for? The Wanking World Championships?
      – S&C coach = the ISE needs a guy in there who’s employed to ensure no one hurts themselves.
      – As for the skinny guy, I think you might be talking about a particular guy who is noticeably small for his age…he’s in there doing compound movements and minimal isolation work as a novice lifter. He’s just about the only guy I’ve come across as a complete novice who is gaining size with an intelligent approach.

      See you around, Johnno.

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