Methods to Correct Strength Imbalances

One of the most frustrating things that I have ever had to go through, as a weightlifter, were those dark times where I wasn’t getting any stronger. One of the first things that you want to check for, if this happens to you, is a strength imbalance. For a quicker method of taking care of this, there are ways to gain more mass that you take which are perfect for getting your weaker side to an optimum level of strength. This imbalance can occur when one side of your body is getting stronger than the other one. There are many reasons why this can happen. It will usually come back to an issue of not having the right form or simply being forgetful when you go to pick the right dumbbell. Let’s say instead of curling 30s for eight reps, you mistakenly curl 8 reps with 35 pounds. This mistake that you just made was so small that you don’t notice it, but your muscles do.

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I actually had this very same problem happen to me when I started weightlifting. I had never noticed, but it took someone else to point out something shocking, my right forearm was bigger than my left one. At first, I couldn’t believe how I had never noticed this, but I hadn’t. After finding this out, I went right to looking at some older workout numbers to find out the root of this problem. As fate would have it, I began doing a certain kind of curls and this was where it all started. One reason why I always encourage people to log their workouts every time, with no exceptions is because of how easy this can happen. Why this was happening with me, was because I had one workout where I mistakenly lifted more with one arm. Not thinking things through, I kept the workout going and didn’t think anything of it. Mistakenly, I was only making matters worse by continuing to lift more with one arm. It was so stupid that I was doing this but I was such a newbie to the weight room, that I didn’t know I was doing anything that bad.

Once you have a strength imbalance happening, that goes unnoticed, it can get progressively worse. I started noticing something was mega wrong whenever I could barely move the weight that I was deadlifting about a week before. I knew that I hadn’t skipped any meals or anything like that. Plus, I had actually been getting some great sleep prior to going and lifting, so I knew that wasn’t the cause for concern either. Needless to say, it all started from performing one exercising in an incorrect way, to have everything spiral out of control. The nagging wrist pains that I was receiving was bad enough to where I could barely push a door in to enter a building, how sad is that?

Use my cautionary tale, to make sure that you don’t make the same big mistake that I did. I am sure that some of you are thinking that this is not really helpful to you, but you would be surprised at how many new lifters don’t know these kinds of things. If you should ever come across a strength imbalance issue in your life, take the steps to correct it as soon as possible. I know that there are so many small distractions that will take place while you are working out. Do your best to stay focused and write down the amount of weight that you used for every rep/set. Sure, it sounds like another headache right now, but it might be something that you will wish you did whenever an issue occurs.

Taking Dips to Another Planet

Ah, yes, the dip, one of the most beneficial exercises that you are not doing. What’s that, you are doing your dips and you don’t know why I am picking on them? I’ll explain more about this: if they are not a part of your routine right now, you need to introduce yourself to this powerful exercise. Known as one of the best ways to build up your triceps and chest (yes, your chest, believe it or not) the dip is an old-school strength builder that has now taken on a new love by many weightlifters. I want to show you some advanced techniques when performing dips that can take your strength to a whole new world.

When most start out with doing a dip, they will put their arms up on a weight bench, with their feet on the ground, and start doing the exercise, wrong! Sure, this method of doing a dip can be great for those with no strength, yet, but I want to show you the way to really pack on some muscle. When doing an exercise that is focusing on your triceps, the main source of strength for your arms, you should be seeing some quick gains in functional strength. To start out with some really intense dipping, prop your feet up on something so that they are parallel and you are sitting at an L angle. Right away, you will notice that these kind of dips become much harder. You will notice an increased burning feeling in your arms. If you feel the burning in your shoulder, primarily, readjust how you are dipping to ensure that the work is put on the triceps.

Once you are able to perform over twenty repetitions with your body weight, we can ramp it up again. I want to mention that these kind of step ups, concerning the dip, should not all be done in one exercise session. To progress to the final section of doing this exercise correctly took me about a month to get to. The cool thing is that once I got my triceps a nice base of strength, I was noticing some of the fastest muscle that I have ever packed onto my arms. My method might be a little more crazy than what you are used to do but, I promise, it works. As a matter of fact, I would attribute the dip exercise to having good sized arms that I do today.

If you have a backpack laying around, put a couple of small dumbbell plates into (think 5-10 lbs to start out). After that, perform your dips like you normally would. By consistently being able to dip down and back up, with more weight on your back, you are putting increased pressure on your triceps. Provided that you only increase the weight in small increments, over a specified length of time, you will continually break down and rebuild those triceps and your chest, as well. Again, if, at any time, you feel pain in your shoulders, this is a sign that you are putting strain on the wrong part of your body. Dipping is not easy and it is a way to test yourself to see what you are really made of. However, if you want triceps that hug your shirt every so tightly, you have got to be doing some weighted dips!

Forming Habits that Lead to Sticking to A Plan

If you are feeling a bit unmotivated or just flat-out bored with exercising, this is normal. I wanted to talk about the power of habit and how it can help to stick with your desire to keep exercising. I remember learning from a teacher, many years ago about the power of habit. I have applied a way of thinking, when it comes to finishing any task in front of me that has worked well over the years. Before I get to that, I wanted to speak a bit more on the how powerful habits can be. When I first learned about this amazing power, I was sitting in a classroom, fighting falling asleep at my desk! The class that I learned this in was a notoriously boring one, where I never thought I would take anything with me from. One fateful and otherwise boring morning, I was fighting heavy eyes when I heard something that changed the way my life would be forever. The teacher was in front of the class and talking to another student about her dieting. The student had asked a question to the teacher, she was not picking on the student, just wanted to clarify that.

Anyways, I was hearing them talk about something that had to do with twenty-eight days. My ears had perked up by now and I wanted to know more about this power of habit thing. What I learned was, performing a task, no matter how big or small, was much easier if it ended up being a habit that was repeatedly done. The hardest part to following this plan is getting to the 28-day point. I have never found that this method of doing things to fail me over my life. As we continually repeat something, it feels easier because our mind is so used to doing it. When you start a new job, you are probably going to feel terrified driving to your first day at work. As you near the first week being over, you could still be nervous but you are most likely feeling more at ease with showing up to work. You don’t have to deal with anymore of those awkward first meetings and you start to feel like part of a team. On a side note, isn’t it awesome when someone starts their job after you? You are no longer the newbie at work!

Getting back on track, after you have been going to whatever your new job is for twenty-eight days, you have now formed a habit. The habit of your new job, that used to be so new and scary, is now something you feel comfortable with. You don’t have those butterflies in your stomach because you have created a habit that your mind recognizes as such and sees as normal. This way of thinking is great for anyone just starting to exercise. For those new to the gym, apply this style of thinking and it will greatly reduce the chance that you end up being one of the unlucky few that give up on their goals. Get a calendar and start your own twenty-eight day plan, you can do this. Every single time that you end up completing some exercise, put an X on that calendar. Keep the chain going about a month and you will find yourself so committed to staying fit, you won’t ever want to stop. Just make sure that you toss a thank you up to your mind, for the extra help!

Is PHAT Training As Good as They Say?

Does anybody want to try a new training program? Ok, so it might not be the newest program around but it could very well be new to you. This P.H.A.T (we will get into the name in a second) training program, created by a bodybuilding great has done well for most who have braved it. Far from being a nice and breezy routine that will barely have you breaking a sweat, this isn’t for beginners. I have heard it classified as an intermediate to advanced lifting program. However, the diversity that this routine has with what parts to train, leaves customization room for those that would want it. I couldn’t imagine needing to tweak the lifts here, except out of absolute necessity. Everything presented in the base weekly plan of this program hits about every major and minor muscle group that you want to see growth on. It won’t take too long being around any group of weightlifters before the rep question comes up.

inventor of phat trainingI used to find myself very confused on just what exactly I was to be lifting and for how long. Everyone has different answers to this age old question, the best solution may be combing both lifting techniques. Using the Reese’s peanut butter cup strategy, Layne’s PHAT (Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training) system combines elements of both power and definition lifting to perfection. This type of training that would be done, if one were to start this up would be a full-body split. This type of split means that every major group will be worked, on alternating days. One thing to be weary of is that you will be putting mega stress on your entire body, the rest days are there for a reason so use them! If I had to summarize what makes this program different from any other one is that it creates more opportunities for muscular growth. By raising the amount of weight that you can lift, you will get stronger. Using this newfound strength increases for your definition days will create better muscle growth. After understating the basis behind why this routine, the science is really sound on this program. Here is what an example of this program would be, starting the week with Sunday in this example:

Sunday: Upper Power
Monday: Lower Power
Tuesday: Break
Wednesday: Hypertrophy Day for Shoulders and Back
Thursday: Definition Day for Legs
Friday: Definition Day for Arms and Chest
Saturday: Break

You still have two rest days but beware, you will be tested on those last two workout days of the week. The good news is that you are going to be growing in two different ways, taking techniques from each camp of how to really get big. When you borrow a little from one thought group and another, you see the best of both worlds. It is also advised that after a couple of months, you take a week or two off from lifting altogether. To continue a program that is this intense, without a break, will not be good if you are trying to avoid injuries. Also, with such a brief break, you won’t have to make yourself sick at the thought of losing that hard-earned muscle, either! This routine has brought countless others some far superior looking bodies, it could end up doing the same for you. If you are needing to spice up that old and boring gym routine, give the P.H.A.T style of training a try!

Two Men Break Into Gym and Begin Lifting

Have you ever had the urge to sneak in a workout whenever your gym is not that busy? This seems like a common feeling we could all say that we have had, at one time or another. Two young men had the same idea but they actually followed through with it. These men waited until their gym was actually closed and broke into it. This, alone is a really dumb thing to do but it got worse. After the two men were able to sneak into the gym to, presumably steal from it, they stopped and decided to lift weights. Yes, this was something that really happened to a gym in Kentucky.

All of this was caught on a surveillance camera, which had to be one of the funniest things that the staff had seen. Of course, these guys were caught and are now facing charges. I don’t understand what would compel someone to end up doing something so dumb. I mean, they probably had to have some idea that they were going to be filmed the entire time. Since they decided to go ahead and lift while they were in there, they didn’t even end up stealing anything. Let’s be honest, they could have just gone to the gym while they were open, if all that they wanted to do was lift weights. I don’t know how the twenty-four hour gym hasn’t caught on everywhere but those two guys would have benefited from using one of those instead. These guys didn’t come into their gym with working out being their first intention, after they could not get into where the money was, they just worked out.

But, Wait It Gets Worse!

The details of this incident make it even more embarrassing to be in the shoes of the gentlemen that we have mentioned. Their attempt to mess up the security cameras that were at the location had only backfired. When one of the men went to adjust the camera, he only ended up pointing it directly at him. I would love to read some official reports on what all the police saw, upon arriving to this scene. The one big thing that confuses me about this story is the decision to stay somewhere you just tried to break into! What told these guys that it was a smart idea to try and break into anywhere? Beyond that, why in the world would they just hang out for a couple of hours, at that very same place? I can’t even fathom doing something like this, that would put my future in such jeopardy.

I am sure that there were some jokes, made among friends of the working out robbers, when they heard the news of the break in. I hope that some of you have learned an important lesson today: don’t stay and work out at a place that you are trying to break into. Also, don’t break into any places, either! Believe me, I have experienced this happening at a place that I worked and it really does more damage than you think. The owner is left feeling very scared and hurt when a break in occurs. It troubles the employees as well, so don’t think about doing something so stupid. Instead, learn from these two guys and know that karma always has a funny way of setting things straight.

Studies Show Weight Training Can Lengthen Lives

rusted barbellThere has been some statistics that point to a big reason for weight lifting, your life! It has been shown that strength training is a big factor to living a longer life. Granted, those who were tested were already of old age but the results showed those who spent their spare time lifting were much less likely to pass away. Something to remember is that habits are best when they are started early. What better reason do you have to start changing your life now, than being able to live for a longer time? This should be something that puts every single excuse you have for being lazy to rest. I can attest to just how true these findings are due to how well my grandfather has aged. He took to fitness, at a later stage in his life, and now loves going to his local recreational center. My grandfather had to deal with a big tragedy in his life, I honestly think that his commitment to staying active has helped him immensely.

I find that the elderly can also form special bonds with those of the same age, who are also doing what they can to prolong their own life. Finding friendships as people age, can become harder to do. I sometimes go to that same rec center in the mornings, it is amazing to see so many of the elderly still finding that will to go out and exercise. It really speaks volumes to my own motivation when I am walking a track, alongside someone well into their sixties. I have bad days, just like everyone else, where I don’t feel like getting out of bed, let alone start up an intense workout. Try this, the next time that you aren’t feeling like doing anything, visit a gym and see men and women who are decades older than you putting in the work.

The first time that I saw this, it was a real eye-opener. As you create muscle tissue, this helps you to maintain a better BMI. Unknown to many, as muscles develop, it takes more calories to keep those muscles sticking around. One of the biggest causes for health issues is always an excess of fat. This fat slows you down, leads to depression, and is just not good for you. If you are one of the older people who are hitting the gym, you probably have less fat which drastically lowers a bunch of potential health problems down the line. If you reading this and picturing old men trying to lift like a bodybuilder, this isn’t quite what they mean by strength training. Of course, muscle mass and the potential to build it decreases with age. Seniors who are starting any kind of exercise program should get a qualified opinion, to find out what works best for them. Regardless of what methods are chosen for the senior citizens to utilize, they will have to start small and make gradual improvements from there. What is crucial to remember is that there are actually patterns being formed that almost ensure that the elderly are able to live longer and happier lives. Since the older generations could have developed any number of specific bone issues, most will need a program that is customized to them. This is one drawback of starting training later on in life, having a weaker body leads to a life of previous nagging injuries. These injuries go from being light but can really be maximized under a heavy set of weights.

Rory Mcllroy Shows Golfing and Lifting Can Mix

When we think of some of our sports stars now, you can already see a towering figure. I mean, someone that is lifting weights has to be a football player, right? No, this man doesn’t toss a pigskin, although he does play his sport of choice outside. The man’s name is Rory Mcllory and he is a professional golfer. I have to say that not since Tiger Woods has a golfer put so much work into his physique. Drawing a bit of jabbing, some have jokingly stated that all of those muscles were causing some holes in his game. Far be it from me to criticize anyone at golf, I am terrible at the sport, but these ribs were all in a good nature.

mcllroy on fairwaySo, why does Mcllroy break the mold by lifting like he does, in a sport that doesn’t really require it? Some have speculated the most obvious reasons: he wanted to look better, he did it to hit the ball harder, etc but none of them match the reason why. Since Rory was a young boy, he had always had some nagging back issues. As he grew older and found his calling playing golf, something had to fix his back. The back issues that he was having would surely hold him back from being great, let alone one of the best players in the world. To help control how his back would behave on him, he began weightlifting. This just goes to show that not every person who lifts weights regularly is a dumb jock. Many people do lift strictly for their own vanity and that is fine.

However, there will be people, perhaps someone lifting right by you, that does it for other reasons. For a better quality of life, some must train regularly which helps their muscles stay strong enough to support them. The support that he has had is causing heads to turn at tournaments across the nation. Mcllroy is well on his way to becoming a future legend and it is hard to argue that his discipline that comes with lifting weights hasn’t had something to do with it. When I was younger, I struggled with a hernia, something that I had ended up inheriting from my father. As I would go my yearly checkups, I was warned that this condition could get worse over time.

Even though it was said to be a small operation, I was still worried about this news. In what I thought would be a completely unrelated incident, I began doing sit-ups every night. It wasn’t anything obsessive, so I thought, I would try to get in twenty a night, no exceptions. A few trips later and the doctor was no longer making any kind of plans for any major operations. I’ll never know if the decision to do some core work made a difference but I like to think that it did. My family was amazed that I had been able to skip something that had happened to every past generation member on my father’s side. I wouldn’t make any claims that this was the perfect remedy to a hernia, by any means. Most likely a byproduct of luck, over anything else, I was still relieved to know that I wouldn’t have to worry about having a little pooch sticking out of my belly.

Take the Time to Learn Your Rep Percentages

Have you ever been reading all about a new set of exercises that you want to try out? I mean, everything is going well until you start seeing more percentages than in an algebra textbook. This will be the point where I will click over to somewhere else, that can explain their plan in an easier way. I have only just started to take the time (not much, by the way) to figure out what my lifting percentages are. By doing this, not only am I being able to more closely customize my what I lift but I also get to know my limits a bit better. In a sport, or hobby, in which you are constantly pushing yourself to new limits, wouldn’t it be nice to know what the ones that you have already are? As time moves forward and you are looking into moving into an intermediate or advanced level, knowing specific numbers over guesswork will be important.

You don’t need some long and drawn out guide, or a twenty minute video to really find out your rep numbers, just start by grabbing a dumbbell. To get started, pick a specific exercise, like a curl, and get a weight to see how many reps you can do with it. This is not the safest way and I don’t recommend starting off with this but I will find out what my max is, before anything else. To do this, I grab a dumbbell and use some good old fashioned trial and error, until I find a weight that I can only bring up one time. After writing down the number of weights on the dumbbell, I now know my max. As we move into the bigger weights and a bar is required, make sure you have someone spot you. It is an incredibly dangerous idea to find your maxes on heavier lifts by yourself.

You can also do the opposite, which would be to start with what you can do more reps of and work your way up from there. When it comes to specifics, you can get as technical and detailed as you would like, although, it will save you some time if you find two to three percentages. There is a wide difference, depending upon who you ask, about what percentages are the most important. When I need to know, I will figure out my 25%, 50%, and 100% rep range, the last one being what I max out at. By having these three base percentages, guesstimating becomes a lot easier as I progress. The beauty of this method is that you can be as detailed, or not, as you want to be. As long as finding out where your strength levels lie does not change the time that you are actually lifting, you have full freedom to learn whichever rep percentages that you want.

Even though it is often ignored, you have nothing to lose by scheduling some time to find out more about how you lift. Although it might seem like a time drain, learning, literally, what your strengths are will make you a smarter lifter. So, the next time that you go and grab some weights, take a pencil and paper with you and learn how to scientifically get bigger. This will require a small level of time and actual work, you owe it to yourself to do this because the end result will be a much smarter lifter when it is all done.

use this for percentages

How Muscle Memory Created A Comeback Story

Not the name of some new game, muscle memory is quite an amazing phenomenon. It’s the way that I was able to go from a twig, to a beefed up guy, back to being small, and finally hitting my stride! When we really start to look at just how muscle memory even happens, it can really wow you. This special type of memory happens the more that a muscle learns to do something. When said action is done repeatedly and over a long period of time, this sticks with us. To be more specific, it sticks with your muscles that get used to the habit of doing the same action over and over again. An older man that I would end up going to the gym with had first told me about this. He explained this memory as how he was able to end up taking home a local trophy in a show that he did. He had been working multiple jobs and just starting out with a family of his own. This was quite the change of scenery for someone who was used to spending most of his free time doing what he wanted to do. He wanted to appear at one more show and knew he would have to sit down with his wife to talk this over with her. At first, she was not on board with the idea but eventually decided it was best to let him do what he wanted to.

At this point, he was so excited to be able to train again that he dove in head first. I admired the courage that he had to start from scratch, so to speak, but felt like he was sprinting in a marathon. Seeing him in the mindset that he was in, day after day, I really wanted to believe that he could get anywhere close to the shape that he used to be in. As we approached out third trip to the gym, this was when muscle memory came to his aid. When I saw him pull his car into the gym parking lot and get out, it was like he never took time off at all! This blueprint that he had spent years, if not decades in creating had revived his muscles into going back to the way that they were. Like stepping out of a time machine, memories stored within his mind had transferred back the way that they had looked before.

how they remember

As magical as it may seem, you don’t want to make a habit of using muscle memory as an excuse to be lazy and neglect doing some work. This can lead to your internal organs going into a frenzy from a rollercoaster ride. Instead, look to applying muscle memory in extreme situations where you know that working out is just not going to be a priority. Isn’t it odd that someone will stop working out and not come back to starting it up again because they think it will take all of that time? If more people knew about muscle memory, I think that we would see higher percentages of them sticking with a less sedentary lifestyle. If you are reading this now and used to train but have since stopped, your muscles will still remember. It might take days, or weeks but this amazing memory that we have will kick in. When this occurs, expect everything to start coming back.

Top 10 Reasons Everyone Should Start Weightlifting

Whether you have been curling like crazy for years or, are just starting to think about if you want to dip your feet into the world of lifting, you might need a nudge in the right direction. Telling my wife, who thinks I am nuts about fitness, why I love it so much seems to go unheard. I knew all of you could understand some of those feelings that only we know about. I put together this nifty list with ten great reasons you should start lifting right away.

  1. Getting up and just moving is great for keeping your risk of getting certain diseases that we all are prone to. It is always smart to stack as many good things together as you can. When you combine being able to feel better about myself with lessening any sort of health issues that come up as we all age.
  2. Setting goals for yourself and watching you achieve them is quite the rush. The daily list of chores that you might be doing every week aren’t satisfying to do, once you approach the one hundredth time of completing them. That isn’t the case with knocking it out of the park on a good set, that pride that you feel doesn’t stop coming.
  3. If you are having trouble finding friends, this can easily change through joining a community. Those of us brothers (and sisters) of the barbell are always happy to welcome another to our group. Many times I have reached a point where I had no one else to talk to but my friends that I have made through our times pumping iron.
  4. Watching yourself progress through different stages in your overall fitness level is a great way to pass the time. Another boring year won’t seem to be as such while you are seeing and feeling yourself go from Mr. Banner to the Incredible Hulk!
  5. The confidence that comes with completing a grueling fitness challenge will always keep you coming for more. Going to the locker room all pumped up knowing that you defeated every trial and tribulation that was heading your way, you will feel like you are on top of the world.
  6. Downing your favorite ice cold and refreshing drink when you have ramped up your temperature. The refreshing moment when that beverage hits your mouth and cools you down, it is hard to find another moment in life where your thirst is more quenched. I have to admit that I made myself thirsty by thinking about that great drink after a lifting session
  7. Seeing other people that are lifting weights that are smaller than you. It is somewhat of a selfish victory, but let’s be honest, you know that you get a certain sense of pride when you know that you are not the biggest weakling in the weight room.
  8. Conquering an all you can eat buffet and watching the horror on the workers faces as you go for your fifth plate. Being able to put down food in a quicker manner, the way a weightlifter does, will have you being hungry more often. You could be forced to expand your eating horizons with this new found hunger that you will have as your body grows larger.
  9. Watching someone that might have given you a hard time in the past, quiver when they see you walk into the room. I don’t like any kind of violent actions but I also hate any kind of bullying. In my opinion, if lifting some weights and getting bulkier keeps the bullies away, that is never a mistake.
  10. The bittersweet feeling of having to retire your old gym attire to step up to a bigger sized type of shirt.

Why You Should Always Keep an E-Z Bar Handy

For anyone who is looking for the next thing to add to their home gym setup, I have got to tell you about an E-Z bar. This shorter version of a normal sized barbell, is great for doing those lifts that are a bit awkward to carry out. My current home setup is a little bit cramped, so anything that can save some space for me is always a welcome addition. Sometimes also known as a curl bar, this bar makes doing any kind of curls much easier. By looking at a picture of the curl bar, the first thing that might stick out is just how different it looks from what you are probably used to. This bar is one that you won’t want to load up with the biggest plates that you can find, most of these bars can only fit about 100lbs max. Don’t let this be something that leaves you with a sour taste, you won’t be doing as much heavy lifting with these bars. Mainly for working the triceps and biceps, an E-Z bar will save your wrists a ton of unnecessary pain.

person curling weights

The number one muscle group that you will be targeting with a curl bar will be the biceps. If you have ever attempted a set of bicep curls with the giant barbell you had laying around, you know that this is a difficult thing to accomplish. Oftentimes, the barbell will be so long, you will have trouble just moving it without knocking out a wall! Once you get the gigantic bar where you need it, you have to start moving that for reps, it isn’t as easy as you think it might be. It feels so awkward trying to do bicep work with such an over-sized barbell. You will spend more time just trying to keep your balance, as opposed to concentrating on the task at hand. Even though I have mentioned just one group of muscles, the triceps will grow immensely from picking up an E-Z bar. I usually do an oddly named exercise called skullcrushers. This lift is when you lay back and bring the curl bar behind your head repeatedly. Also going by the name of the French press, doing this lift can bulk up any set of triceps.

Providing more support and taking additional strain off of your wrists, a curl bar can really give you a ton of value. Considering that most of the larger barbells look similar, this is an area where a curl bar differs from the pack. What threw me off, when I started lifting with the smaller barbell, was where to put my hands. The curl bar will have a spot for your wrists, that is diagonal. From what I have found, you can lift with either the straightened or curved part of the bar. Something that I like to remember is to put on a lower amount of weight, if I am going to be gripping the bar closer to the weight ends. If needing to lift something heavier, for my wrists, I would position my hands closer to the inside of the barbell. I remember seeing the other E-Z bars that would have that closed off look, where your hands are completely surrounded by metal. Having my hands kind of stuck in a metal encasing just did not seem like what I wanted to have going through my head during every lift day.