The Iron Doesn’t Lie

The iron doesn’t lie.

The Iron Doesn't Lie
The Iron

It has no self-image to protect.

It does not bluff.

You cannot negotiate with it.

There are no misunderstandings, no emotional undertones, no expectations.

The iron simply is.

It simply responds to Mr. Gravity

and whatever force you apply

and the sum of those forces

is what it is.

The iron cannot lie.

You are sufficient today

or you are not.

And if you are not sufficient today

the iron does not hate you,

the iron did not trick you,

and the only drama is in your head

not with the iron.

The iron simply is.

The iron doesn’t lie.


SMART Weightlifting Goals

I’ve had some goals in mind for my weightlifting, but nothing ever committed to. On reflection, I realized that I am in danger of making this a VAPID goal, not a SMART one.

I had the idea of a set of targets for the three major lifts. For simplicity, I think of it as “2/3/4.” That is, 200 lbs for the bench press, 300 pounds for the squat, and 400 pounds for the deadlift. This gives me a simple 1/1.5/2 multiplier (plus a fudge factor) times my bodyweight.

Let’s check this vs. the SMART criteria:

  • Specific
  • Measurable


  • Action-oriented

I know the action steps required to meet this goal. The plan is to follow the Starting Strength method, modified as required to train around injuries.

  • Realistic

Aye, there’s the rub. I think this is a realistic strength level to aim for – I won’t be doing any powerlifting competitions, but this is a good baseline for what a strong man ought to be able to do. Hopefully it is realistic given my age, physical condition, and other life commitments.

  • Time-defined

Here is the part I was missing. In my previous thinking about it, I hadn’t set any time frame for actually getting this done. Other than “sometime before I die.”

So I will modify the goal to “2/3/4/20.” That is, have a 200 lb bench press, 300 lb squat, and 400 lb deadlift before the end of 2020.

There, that’s SMARTer.

Barbell Training

“Physical strength is the most important thing in life. This is true whether we want it to be or not.”
― Mark Rippetoe, Starting Strength

Overstated? Of course. Virtue in this life and eternal life in the next are more important. (But note: “virtue” was originally just Latin for “manliness.”) Rippetoe has clearly heard this objection before:

“A weak man is not as happy as that same man would be if he were strong. This reality is offensive to some people who would like the intellectual or spiritual to take precedence. It is instructive to see what happens to these very people as their squat strength goes up.”
― Mark Rippetoe, Starting Strength

It’s working for me. As an allegedly intellectual and spiritual person, life does feel better as my squat number goes up.

Am I a great lifter? No. See this blog’s tagline. I’m happy because I passed a milestone this week, and got my squat to pass my bodyweight. Rule of thumb is that a “good” squat strength should be 1.5 times your bodyweight. As long as I can keep progressing I should get there. Eventually.