BodyMASS London regionals and a bit of a rant about bailing on squats

The day after the Greater Londons my alarm went off at 8am and I felt like utter, utter death. I had tried to go to bed reasonably early after the competition, but my brain wasn’t having it; I also didn’t eat a full meal after competing because I was refereeing, and as a result I don’t think I recovered properly. A couple of quickly-scoffed beigels and pastries (not to mention loads of Haribo) is no substitute for a proper meal!

But, I dragged myself back to the gym, stopping at McDonald’s for an egg & bacon McMuffin & hash browns. No, I’m sure that isn’t a “proper meal” either, but bloody hell it made me feel more human!

The event at the gym this day was the BodyMASS London regional. The BodyMASS is a new GBPF affiliate for students only, and there were about 40 students taking part from universities around London & the SE. The competition was a little different in that the competitors didn’t have to wear singlets, and we were (admittedly!) a little more lenient on refereeing the lifts.

That said, I didn’t know I was going to be refereeing, as the organiser had said the GBPF was sending referees. However, they never turned up, so myself & Neal from the gym (who also passed the referee exam at the same time as me) took over referee duties. As there was only two of us, we decided to have one person judging & one person giving the commands – if two of us were judging there was a risk we’d tie, and that’d be awkward (normally you have 3 referees).

I admit, I was pretty lenient when I was refereeing. I let everyone have at least one attempt at each lift passed, including one girl who didn’t realise you need to touch your chest on the bench press. I probably also let loads of hitching pass in the deadlifts – I was judging from one side, and it’s really hard to see proper hitching from only one side (or just the front).

Overall it was a fun day. I was exhausted, though, and pretty glad it finished by 5pm!! I have to admit, I’ve not been back to the gym since (either BGWLC or my gym near work) as I’ve needed a total break. I’m looking forward to going back on Saturday, though.

And now for a bit of a rant… On Sunday there were a couple of occasions where lifters bailed on a squat by shrugging the bar off their shoulders, hopping forward & letting the bar drop to the floor. I saw this a few times at both the men & women’s British classics as well. I’ve only just started seeing people do it in the last year, and it goes without saying that performing this move, on a platform with people spotting you (a person on either side and one behind) is SO SO DANGEROUS.

Every time i’ve seen it at a competition the competitors have been warned & pre-warned NOT to do this, and yet they still do. I was wondering where on earth it’s come from, as I’ve not seen it before a year or so ago, and never in powerlifting videos etc. Turns out it appears to be taught in Crossfit as the way to fail a squat – and I guess, therefore, that it comes from Olympic lifting too.

OK, fair enough, if you want to do this move in those sports – using bumper plates! – then fair enough. Not my gym floor you’re destroying. However, doing it when you’re surrounded by spotters, and using metal plates? NOT COOL. Stop for a millisecond and imagine what it’s like for the people to your side & behind you, when you shrug 100kg++ off your back and jump away from it. Their natural instinct is to catch it – after all, they’re there to catch YOU if you fail your squat. And even if they don’t go to catch it, there’s a very real possibility the weight will fall on their feet.

Spotters, loaders & refs at competitions are volunteers, so 1) try not to mortally wound them by throwing tends of kilos at them; and 2) if you get told off for doing it, don’t chat back at the referees saying you don’t know what else you’re meant to do (I have seen this!). The referees don’t care if the swole dude you love did it on the YouTube video you watched last week. Listen to the officials and respect them!

When I’m King of the World (which is totally going to happen, BTW) I will ban people who repeatedly dump squats in competition; along with anyone who puts talcum powder on their legs in high-traffic areas (I saw this at the British, too, and it turned the platform into a virtual ice-rink, gah)

For a fun reference, here’s a 585lb squat dump (even though the rack he’s using has safety rails). Notice how he very nearly breaks his spotter’s arms. Nice one, brah! I hope you at least bought him a beer afterwards.

OK, rant over. Phew.


2 thoughts on “BodyMASS London regionals and a bit of a rant about bailing on squats

  1. G

    Yikes! I would dump that way in a squat rack with safety bars up and no one around… but why would you do that with a spotter? The whole point of having a spotter is so that they can help you bail safely. They are not for throwing loaded bars at…

    1. lozette Post author

      It’s not as if there’s an unlimited supply of spotters, so if you take one out with a bar there’s another waiting in the wings! Honestly, some people.

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