COACH columnist

This one time, at Westside Barbell…

Is always a great lead into a fantastic story. When Dave Tate was doing speed work, they were blasting through reps. Just like everyone should be during dynamic effort, it was as soon as the last person was done you sat down and hit your set, because there was only 60 seconds between each of your sets. If you’re still fiddling with your wrist wraps then you’re going to slow everybody down. Somehow an argument had turned into a fight behind them and before you knew it the spotters had one hand over the bar and the other making sure the fight didn’t roll into them while they were still trying to bench. The good news for them is the fight quickly turned into a one-sided beating and the lack of contention allowed the chaos to be contained at a sufficient distance. This really brings to light what Dave means when he says you don’t have to be friends with your training partners…

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Dave is quick to address that Kenny Patterson was one of these more disagreeable members. While he comes across a mild-mannered guy during his Table Talk Podcast appearance, he was an expert at antagonizing the other people.

One time a world-renowned strength coach had come in to visit Westside Barbell. Everyone was board pressing and the coach had taken a seat on some boxes to watch them train. Kenny Patterson throws a casual invite his way, “Hey man, you jumping in?” The coach politely declined but Kenny had something in him that day that made him feel more like bothering somebody. Starting with an empty bar he asked every time they added any more weight, “Hey man, you jumping in?” Except he found a new way to ask him every time. “Come on dude, you’re up.” “Yo dawg, it’s your time.” Every single time until they were up to 700 pounds. Clearly, because he hadn’t gotten underneath the coach's skin yet, Kenny said, “Oh I see how it is. You’re just waiting for me to finish so you can one-up whatever I do. I’ll even load the bar for you!”

Who knows what made him the designated victim that day. Maybe he walked in with a bit of an attitude. It’s probably a good idea to show some respect at a world-renowned private gym that you have been allowed to train at. They weren’t the first coach to come in and many knew how to be polite. Observe when you come in, and let them train until they're done. If these lifters feel like answering your questions, save it for the end and they’ll be much more likely to actually want to talk to you. You could probably apply this advice anywhere else in your life as well.

Text By Mason Nowak