Team elitefts athlete Joe Sullivan experienced an equipment malfunction this past week at a gym in Huntington, WV that could have resulted in a devastating blow to his promising young career. As Joe was working up to a heavy squat triple at 675 pounds, the barbell decided it had reached its limit and began to unexpectedly bend during the concentric portion of the lift:

Coming up it felt horrible as the weight was not actually moving – just morphing along my back. It put A LOT of stress on my quads and I am dealing with a little patella tendinitis at the moment.

Quick thinking and incredible composure under the bar allowed Joe to walk away from this debacle without serious injury. He will slowly ease his way back into lower body movements in the upcoming week but no further setbacks are anticipated.

After watching the spectacle, elitefts CEO Dave Tate posted on Facebook,

For the 20 years elitefts has been in business, the one question I have been constantly asked the most is, why does your stuff cost more than X company (these being the cheap places not those with comparable products as elitefts isn’t the only company that sells high quality products)? I set out and continue to sell products that can be used by the strongest lifters in the world. If you build and stock for them you cover everyone else, but this isn’t easy or cheap to do… Joe and all lifters like him should take notice and double inspect what they use when it’s not there normal gym. NEVER ASSUME! Trust me, I know people in this industry buy cheap most the time… If you are close to or at his level and have to be out of town and don’t know for a fact the gym you will be at is safe for you; please skip the session. It won’t hurt you as bad as training could.

An incident such as this one could negatively impact a powerlifters mental state of mind, but Joe is not worried. He has torn muscles and tendons in the past and has always come back stronger than ever. This latest episode will not detract from his main goal.

Before you think he is loving all the attention as the latest and greatest Instagram sensation, you couldn't be farther from the truth:

I ABSOLUTELY HATE IT. I could break every world record in powerlifting and no one would care. I break one barbell and have to dance out from under it and everyone loves it. I am tired of being asked about it and I am more annoyed at the fact that I couldn't get my normal training in for that day!

So how can you avoid a situation such as this in the future? With the help of JL Holdsworth, here are some things you can do to ensure bar safety:

  1. Check the brand of the bar. When you grab the bar, you will know right away if it is a piece of shit or not from the knurling.
  2. Look at the end cap to see the brand. If it is a Texas Power Bar, Ohio Power Bar or Mastadon, you are in good hands.
  3. Stay away from real shiny silver bars because they are always the cheapest. Real steel isn’t that shiny.

Joe’s lesson is this:

I will skip my workout if the gym does not have Texas or Ohio power bars or attempt to modify the training session in order to accommodate the lack of equipment. No amount of Internet fame is worth potential injury or equipment failure.

For more information on prescribed tools of the trade, read this here.