I am my brother’s keeper. In a society of “I want this" and "gimme’ that,” the pool of moral fiber is often shallow, and the folks one can truly count on can be few and far between. That is, until you enter a powerlifting gym. A true powerlifting gym is like a temple to behold, a special place where one can bask in an atmosphere where the brotherhood of iron is still alive and well. A place where you can trust your fellow man/woman to keep you out of harm’s way with a solid lift off and a hands-of-steel spot.

The gym is where we encourage our lifting partners to become as good as they can be... and then some. The gym is where powerlifters help their training partners choose openers, max attempts, and everything in between. The gym is one place where we give selflessly to our training partner(s) and where honesty is the standard… except when we squat.  Wha-wha-what?

The gym squat is the anomaly. This is perhaps due to the fact that if you can’t lock out the bench or the deadlift, you miss the lift for the most part and your training partner knows it. But with the squat... you can pop up and rack the weight and feel like you were successful, especially if your lifting partner(s) fails to provide you with an accurate account of that lift, specifically the depth of the squat.

As powerlifters, we all get it: More is oftentimes better. (If one scoop of protein is good, three is better). But if more weight is better, so is more truth. Like the late Sam Kinison would scream, “Say it, say it!” Okay, I will say it: “Brother, that was a ton of weight, and you shot up with that weight like dry toast out of a toaster... but... you were high. Not just a little bit high, either. Like two or three inches high.”

The reality is, if your lifting partners constantly squat high in the gym, they are going to squat high at the meet.

If your job on the team is to be the “down, down, down” guy, then be the guy to tell the squatter that pops up before the last “down” that it was a solid squat, but a merely solid squat. If you would tell your pal that his fly is down, or he has food all over his elitefts™ t-shirt from his last feeding, be your gym brother’s keeper and say it loud and proud: “Dude, your squat was high!” You do your partner zero good by critiquing all of the other aspects of the squat without that vital piece of feedback.

It could be that you are training at a gym where this issue has existed for some time, and now, all of a sudden, you are telling your training partner, especially that 900-pound squatter in your gym, that he is squatting high. You can count on the fact that this new bit of information will come as an unwanted shock to your partner, but so be it. Do your training partner right and be authentic with him or her and call it like it is.

Commit to this honesty, as the gym is one of the few remaining places on this Earth where you do not need to be politically correct, and telling it like it is actually is an investment in that person’s lifting future. If he sinks the squat, outstanding. If he is high, keep it real because sparing his feelings will not turn the lights from red to white.

Be your brother’s keeper.