Everyone has their breaking point; that one moment in time when you say, okay, that’s it. I can’t pinpoint what did it for me at the commercial fitness center I’ve been training in, so I’m chalking it up to the cumulative effects it had on my psyche. After 6 short weeks, I’ve moved on. I searched the interwebs for a local powerlifting friendly gym and I came across the Big Work Fitness Factory in downtown Charleston. Imagining I would dread the drive to and fro each day, I decided I’d give myself a tour and see if it suited my particular needs. I wasn’t more than a few minutes into the tour provided by the gym’s owner before I knew I had found a new home.
Big Work is a strength training facility. The average commercial gym attendee would likely not recognize any of the pieces of equipment at Big Work. There are Squat Stands and Rigs lining both sides of the length of the gym. I think I counted 7 of them. There’s even more outside, along with Atlas Stones, a large tire for flipping or hitting with a sledgehammer, sleds to drag, and all manner of specialty bars. There’s no air conditioning on the main floor, although upstairs, where there are bench presses, incline benches, rowing equipment and a whole section for boxing-type activities, there are small wall units which drop the otherwise toasty temperatures a tad.
The music is loud, the fans are loud, some dudes train shirtless, people are doing cleans, squats, deadlifts and just generally doing things designed to make one a stronger version of one’s current self. I joined immediately and then promptly had to wait through my scheduled off day, but today was the day. I had some anxiety because, well, I’m an anxious person, but it dissipated as soon as I arrived and had 5 of the 7 available platforms to choose from for my first lift of the day: Squats. I didn’t need to bring my own microplates because they have a plethora of them available, so my gym bag just got a lot lighter. I had no need for my iPod because the music was good and it was loud enough in there with the tunes and the fans that I would have to likely burst my eardrums to hear my own music anyway.
After Squats, I moved to Bench Press but found that I preferred pressing in one of the Squat Stands than the actual Bench Press on the main floor. I was able to use the safety bars and it reminded me of when I had my home gym and always benched inside my power rack. Once completed, I chose a different platform to Deadlift on, so I used three different platforms today! There were never more than 4 or 5 people in the gym while I was there, and no one was balancing on a Bosu Ball or throwing a beach ball at a small trampoline. No one was doing a Spin Class and I didn’t see any signs advertising an upcoming Zumba class.
Today’s Top Sets:
- Low Bar Squats w/Belt, Knee Sleeves & Wrist Wraps: 260 x 4
- Paused Competition Bench with Wrist Wraps: 177 x 3
- Sumo Deadlifts with Belt and Wrist Wraps: 283.5 x 4 (yes, 283.5)