One of my absolute favorite articles of all time was Dave Tate’s “27 Reasons to be Big” (which, if you’ve not read it, you can find here https://www.t-nation.com/training/27-reasons-to-be-big), and I’m going to try to poorly emulate it myself regarding life as an oaf.
My last contest made me realize the unique circumstance I find myself in after hearing all the advice of the coaches and announcers regarding improving my performance. I realize I’ve been hearing the same advice constantly, and everytime I think I’m making strides to fix my oafishness, it turns out I’m still at square one.
For those unversed in my vernacular, an “oaf” is one whose only attribute they bring to the table is brute strength. I have no speed, my technique is awful, and my coordination is such that being drunk would probably be an improvement. I still somehow manage to compete in strength sports, relying on the brute strength to compensate for all of the other weak areas, which tends to put me in unique situations regarding performance.
So without further ado, here is what you can look forward to experiencing if you too are an oaf.
1: Every time I get told “use your legs!” during a press event, the only thing I can think is “I thought I WAS using my legs”
2: I love how often I get asked “doesn’t that hurt?” when someone watches a video of me squatting. …or deadlifting. …or pressing.
3: Somehow, I’ve managed to have an ugly continental. The continental is already an ugly movement, which makes my achievement rather significant in that regard.
4: When I watch someone perform a snatch, I assume that there must be magic involved somewhere.
I assume this is part of the ritual you must perform before the snatch
5: I have almost hyperventilated from laughing so hard when friends ask me if I’ve ever considered trying out for Ninja Warrior.
6: Generally, whenever I have to force something (opening a jar, building furniture, opening a stuck door, etc), I tend to take a step back and re-evaluate the situation. In most cases, it turns out I’m doing something wrong. This is after having “built” many pieces of ikea furniture into configurations the manufacturer never could have possibly fathomed.
7: It’s easy to say that dynamic effort work is pointless when you deadlift 135lbs at the exact same speed as your 600lb deadlift.
8: I am the only person I know who can jump in slow motion.
9: When going through physical therapy for my ruptured ACL, I had better balance with my reconstructed knee than my “healthy” knee, because physical therapy forced me to spend time actually improving my balance on the healing side.
10: I have a distinct advantage when it comes to odd object pressing because I am so untechnical in my execution that EVERY object I press is like pressing an odd object.
However, it's still poor form to tell your SO that they feel JUST like a barbell
11: When I skip rope, a “double under” is when I can skip the rope twice before it hits my feet and I have to start over.
12: Every time I have ever dropped a set of farmer’s handles in a contest, it’s because the implement clipped the back of my heel due to my clumsy stride and jacked up moving mechanics.
13: It’s amazing how many more calories you burn from cardio when you’re so inefficient with basic human movements. All these people with solid running mechanics are really missing out.
14: I’ve developed such a strong lower back due to having the inability to get into a decent position for any sort of lift. Why solve the problem when you can just get strong enough to completely bypass it?
15: My technique looks the same under fatigue as it does when I am completely fresh. I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing.
16: The best part about blowing out my knee was having an excuse for my terrible leg drive. It absolutely doesn’t affect it at all, but I can always fall back on it now.
17: The last time I executed a triple extension was when I was filing taxes.
I was originally going to go with this joke, but it was too phallic
18: When I squat, I get to leverage my immobility like some sort of natural squat suit. Who needs to pay Metal $300 for a fluorescent orange polyester nightmare when your hip flexors and hamstrings are so tight that you need to take 3 reps to tie your shoes? Ok, that last part is a lie; the only shoes I wear are flip flops or tactical boots. The latter isn’t because I’m some pseudo-law enforcement type; I like the zippers on the side, because it means less laces to deal with.
19: I have tragically broken 4 ice cream scoops, because I didn’t realize you needed to let ice cream soften before you try to scoop it out. To solve this, I didn’t learn patience; my in-laws bought me a titanium ice cream scoop. Finesse is overrated.
20: I am a perpetual disappointment for every intramural sports team ever. I have to constantly advise people that big/strong doesn’t equal “athletic”. Even then, they have to truly witness my ineptness at basic human movements before they realize just how incapable I really am. I’ve actually developed a strategy when playing any sort of team sport where I always try as hard as possible to get open and available to receive a play. HOWEVER, I express to my team that it is IMPERATIVE they never actually give me the ball in any circumstance. As long as the other team doesn’t watch me try to score, they’ll consider me a viable threat and try to cover me with one, maybe even TWO people. However, once I’m in possession and try to score a point in any manner (baseketball, soccer, football, etc), they’ll see me whiff in a way only an oaf could possibly whiff, the charade will be over, and they’ll no longer waste any energy on me. It’s a purely psychological play.
I related tot his kid a ton
21: On the above, I will say I have developed a solid strategy in basketball and soccer of simply walking in front of a fast moving player, coming to a dead stop and having them bounce off of me. In most cases, people attribute this more to clumsiness than malice. Gotta use whatever “advantages” we have.
22: A lot of people remark on how much time and effort I spend on conditioning, and how solid my conditioning base is. They don’t realize that this is NECESSARY when you are an oaf, because you waste a LOT of energy muscling through movements that any other normal human would use technique on. It’s like, sure, I COULD get into a solid position and roll the keg up my body using my legs and back in one fluid motion to press it overhead, or I could just rip it right off the floor and manhandle it overhead, which is “easier”, but far more exhausting. Once again, why solve the real problem when we can just ignore it and train harder instead.