A Resolution for Men—Quit Doing Curls in the Squat Rack
If this is you, stop it. Just stop it!
You know who you are.
An old weight-lifting buddy of mine whom I had not spoken with in some time, messaged me out of the blue with an old but not unfamiliar lament. Some doofus was doing curls in the squat rack forcing him to wait as there was only one rack. He ran his options by me and though I don’t recall them exactly, at least two of them involved punching this man in the face.
I advised restraint, assuaging anger with a modicum of concealed scorn.
Man invented the squat rack to facilitate…the squat. The squat ranks as the most valuable and functional exercise. The human body is basically a giant hinge joint around the hips; no other exercise develops whole-body strength, power, and explosiveness like the squat. It’s also one of the most taxing exercises. A proper and deep squat demands commitment, courage even.
It’s bad for the knees—stop being a sissy.
I use the Smith machine—not quite the same.
I use the leg press sled instead. Watch me do 900lbs—please.
To clarify. I hate to squat, always have. I’m not a good squatter, but every Monday morning, the very first exercise I do is the squat. There is something oddly clarifying about placing a well-loaded bar across my back first thing Monday morning. After that, the rest of my week is a breeze.
And woe to you who dare to curl in the squat rack. As valuable and functional as the squat is, the curl ranks near the top of superfluous exercises, alongside donkey calf raises. “Curls for the girls!” If you feel led to curl, go right ahead, but you can curl anywhere. You could even, gasp, set your bar on the floor and pick it up to curl. Weight-lifters need the rack to squat.
Take your do-rag, weight belt, and weight-lifting gloves elsewhere, back to the 90’s if need be.
The squat rack was designed with a very specific function in mind.
A Fleeting Gift
A new year dawns, beckoning us to the future, the blessing of time. Some of you may not see another year. Some of you may not make it out of January. Each day, every hour, each breath is a gift, undeserved of our Creator.
The Psalmist reminds us of a sobering truth. “Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!” (Psalm 39:5)
As does Isaiah, “All flesh is grass…The grass withers, the flower fades.” (Isaiah 40:6,8)
I recently received a reminder of the fleeting nature of our days as I stood before my friends and family and retired after 22 years in the military. Twenty-two long years ago, I raised my right hand and swore to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. Twenty-two years, a veritable lifetime. As I contemplate the naïve and brash young man, standing with his entire life ahead of him, I long to communicate to him, to exhort him to make the most of his days, to not spend them on idle and frivolous pursuits.
Twenty-two years in the blink of an eye.
Our time is perhaps our most precious asset, never redeemable, once spent, gone for eternity. What will you do with your time, that which remains? What will you do with this year before you?
I have resolved to no longer curl in the squat rack.
A Gift with Purpose
Paul exhorts the Ephesians,
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15)
Paul calls us to walk intentionally, deliberately, wisely, likening the Christian life to a walk. Earlier he tells them to “walk worthy of the calling to which you have been called” (4:1), to “no longer walk as Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.” (4:17)
Walk in a manner that redeems the time and is worthy of that to which you’ve been called. In other words, don’t waste your life in idle and vain pursuits. Don’t waste your life seeking fulfillment in that which will never fulfill.
Our time is the most precious and valuable of assets and as such, Paul calls us to “walk in love” (5:1) and to “walk as children of light” (5:8).
Only such a walk is worthy, wise, making the best use of our time. From the Westminster Catechism,
“What is the chief end of man?”
“To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”
God gives us life for a very specific purpose. Anything less than that is a life unrealized.
An Unredeemable Gift
And yet men seem determined to fill our lives with the mundane, the trivial. We continually invent new ways to spend our time, each seemingly more pointless than the last. My sons, if I allow them, will watch videos of people playing video games—not actually playing themselves, a pointless activity as it were—but watching other people. The existence of thousands of hours of such videos on the internet speaks to a demonic sap of our most precious resource, our time.
Do you walk worthy? Wisely?
Why are the days evil? The days are evil because time, if left unspent, will spend itself. One day you’re gonna wake up and be forty, or fifty, or sixty, or older wondering where your days went. Where did they go? Some stunning queries confront the conscience in such a manner including perhaps the most vexing of inquiries,
Did I matter?
Did I even matter at all? Had I never of existed, would anyone have cared? Would the world have been any different?
Death summons us continually, an unwavering procession to the grave. The second we’re put under the soil, the world will begin the process of forgetting all about us. Tell me, who was the richest or most popular man in your town thirty years ago? Twenty?
No man on his death bed proclaims,
“If only I’d spent more time watching t.v.”, or
“I wish I’d spent more time at the office,” or
“If only I could’ve spent more time accumulating.”
No man says these things. How many men go to the grave ashamed and regretful of a life wasted, confronted with the tragedy of unredeemed time. This is why Paul so vigorously exhorts the Ephesians to make the most of the time, advising them that the days are evil.
Perhaps you’ll not change the world. God calls some men to such a task. But this I know, you could change the world for one, maybe a few. Could you change it for your wife, your children maybe, perhaps a fatherless child?
Men, the world needs us to engage, desperately. Our wives, our children, our nation needs us to engage, to lead. They need us to get up from in front of the television, turn off football, set down the video game controller and claim that which God intended, that we would lead, that we would love our wives as Christ loved the Church, that we would bring up our children it the ways of the Lord.
Hurry! You may not have much time…the day is drawing near even now.
As for me, I resolve to no longer tarry about in life, toying with the inconsequential and trite pursuits of feckless men. I’m determined to spend whatever time I have left on that which matters.
I resolve to no longer curl in the squat rack.
Author - Founder
Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).
THE 413 REPORT
If you loved this article, and would like to learn more about foster and adoption care, and to stay up to date on our projects, missions, and programs, as well as the release of Bradford's third book, Brave Rifles, please sign up for our Newsletter. The 413 Project is made up of common people empowering and serving others to accomplish an uncommon good.