Gym accidents are not funny. They may cause serious physical injury that may
have both short and unfortunately long-term consequences. So it's with mixed
feelings that I relate another "Legend of Iron Smith Gym" incident. For one
thing, it didn't happen in my gym but it did involve two key players of my
Anvils Powerlifting Team, Kirk Bardos and myself. Kirk is my best
friend and long term lifting partner. We have been through a lot of thick and
thin times together and our loyalty to each other knows no bounds. Our wives
are good friends and they support each other in tolerating and surviving our
antics and adventures. Why they haven't divorced us two gym rats a long ago
probability says more about their deserving nomination for sainthood than any
mercy we may deserve! The incident that I'm about to share is probably a
good example only in that it demonstrates how much damage that a good
friendship can tolerate.

One evening several years ago at a local Worlds Gym, during a leg workout,
Kirk and I were really lifting some big iron. Both of us had just finishing
doing reps in the low five hundreds on box squats and we were really feeling
our oats. We were the baddest drug free powerlifters in the gym and we were
feeling a little full of ourselves. The old saying about pride going before
the fall is very appropriate here. The intensity was there. The rhythm was
there. Our pace was scorching hot. We were both in the best shape
of our lives. We moved from one exercise to another at a very rapid pace. We
were in each other's faces urging and goading each other on. We were
indestructible. Nothing could stop us.

We moved over to the Reverse Hyper Bench to put the finishing touches to our
lower backs, gluts, and hamstrings. Louie Simmons' invention was a work of
pure genius. The lifter lies on their stomach on the bench with their legs
hanging straight down. There is a strap attached to an upside down T-Bar
swing loaded with weights that goes around the lifter's ankles. As the
lifter raises up their legs to the back to bring them up in a straight line
with their upper body, the strap lifts the weights on the swinging T-bar. The
perfect exercise to both rehabilitate and build up amazing strength on your
backside that translate to big squats and deadlifts.

I went first. Because the top of the bench is about the level of my chest, I like
to step up on a plastic box placed behind the Reverse Hyper Machine to assist
myself in getting into the right position as I lay face down on my belly.
Then Kirk was to remove the box out of the way so I could swing my legs and
the weight up from the back. This is a simple procedure but again we were moving at a
fast clip. Kirk said, "Ready?" meaning was I ready to have him move the box.
I thought that he meant it was clear to begin my exercise. Up flew my legs
with explosive speed. Clunck! My heels caught Kirk right in his nose. Later
he said he felt like a mule kicked him! Down he went out cold! I
didn't know what happened as I could only see straight ahead. So I continued
my set, full of enthusiasm. I finished, and jumped off the bench. There laid
Kirk in a pool of blood, bleeding profusely from his noise. He stirred and
then sat up with a somewhat dazed look on his face. I didn't know whether to
laugh or cry. Kirk uttered a few syllables that reassembled something you
might hear coming from an old Drill Sergeant, and I knew he was OK. I told
him to sit there and I would go get him some help. I went up to the front
desk and reported that some guy was making a mess back in the legs workout
area and he should be asked to leave the gym. The young desk attendant did
just that and really riled Kirk up! I thought he was ready to spit fire.
Laughing my head off, I ask Kirk if he was going to sit there all night and
bleed or get off his butt and finish his workout. He did. With big wads of
toilet paper stuffed up his nose, we both did our Reverse Hypes finishing off
one of the best workouts we ever had. And we made sure to get our signals
straight from that point on.

Kirk later told me that I was the only person who had ever bloodied his nose.
We laugh about it now but we both take it seriously too. Weightlifting,
especially, powerlifting can be dangerous if you don't practice some common
sense rules. Always have a spotter. Don't lift more than you can handle and
have prepared for. Practice perfect form. Make sure your exercise equipment
and personal gear is in good repair. Get adequate recuperation in-between
training sessions. Eat good food and take sensible supplementation. And as
Kirk and I learned the hard way, get your signals straight especially if
doing a new exercise or one that you and your training partner have not done
together for a while!

And to tell you the truth, I was not so worried about what Kirk might do to
get even as I was worried about his wife's reaction. Kirk's wife may be a
saint but I've seen how she psyched him at a meet a few years ago. It's the
type of story you tell around the campfire when you want to scare the blue
blazes out of everyone. Not a lady you want to cross or hurt her man. But
that's another story for another time. Keep hammering!