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Scientific Proof: Why So Many People Squat 600lbs on the Internet

Posted Jul 29 2010 5:30am

I came across the abstract for this interesting Australian study the other day: Actual versus perceived lifting ability in healthy young men (18-25 years) .

Basically, researchers compared what men under the age of 25 SAID they could lift with what they actually COULD lift when tested.  According to the researchers, “One third of subjects were able to accurately self-report their lifting performance, approximately one-third underestimated, and the remaining third overestimated their lifting ability.”

So, out of every three people, we have one person who is pretty even-keeled and honest with himself about his physical abilities.

And, we have another who is either a) intimidated and doesn’t think he can do it or b) lazy and unwilling to “do it.”

Finally,we have everyone’s favorite: the tough guy who talks a big game.  These are the guys who sit behind their keyboards claiming to squat 500 pounds - or bench 400, or throw 95mph fastballs.  However, nobody every witnesses it.  They have big balls on the internet.


How many times have you walked into a commercial gym and seen a 400-pound bench press?  I think I’ve seen it once - and the guy weighed about 330 pounds.

How about a legitimate 600-pound squat?  I’ve never seen it in a commercial gym, only a few times without a squat-suit in hardcore powerlifting gyms, and only twice college weight rooms in my life.

And, I’m certainly not seeing 95mph fastballs at every high school baseball game.  In fact, as I recall reading last year, there are only about eight pitchers in all of Major League Baseball who have consistent 95+mph fastballs.  Maybe the rest of the pros need to spend more time on the internet to get better?

However, go on to any internet forum - whether it’s for lifting or pitching - and you’ll come across all this hidden talent that is yearning to be discovered.  Sorry, folks, but you’re the 1/3 of people I referenced above.  Put up or shut up.  I’d actually say that this 33% figure also applies to baseball fathers; about one in three is CONVINCED that his kid is much better than Junior really is.

Finally, as an interesting little aside, ever wonder why nobody ever lies about their deadlift numbers?

I have to assume that it’s because the deadlift is a pretty “yes or no” exercise.  You either can or can’t pick something heavy up off the floor.  It’s not like a squat or bench press, where you can shorten the range of motion and instantly improve your numbers.

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