The other day I was reading through some muscle magazine's top ten gym tips. Tip number two was to have a gym partner.
I now know why.
I was trying a new routine. One that involved a standard bench press with a Smith Machine. I placed my bench next to one of the biggest dudes I've ever seen in my life. He didn't notice me. He was too busy benching plates the size of my being.
I placed my barbell onto the bench, climbed beneath it, and got to work.
First set of ten was difficult, but I did it.
The second set seemed almost impossible, but I managed it.
But in the third set, around the halfway point, I could feel my strength rapidly leaving me. My arms seemed to be getting weaker by the second. It felt like somebody had sat down on the barbell. I did my best to push up against it, but slowly and surely, the barbell worked its way down onto my chest.
So there I was, stuck.
The guy next to me was busy doing his thing - pressing his chest and making it look a little too easy.
I did the only thing I could. I wriggled out, a centimetre at a time, working my way out from underneath it. It took a good couple of minutes to get my chest through the bar, and then I had to turn my head to the side to fit my chin out from beneath it.
I made it out and stood up. I checked around to see if anybody had noticed my struggle. If they had then they didn't make it obvious.
And the guy next to me? It could have been the sweat dripping down into his eyes, but I could've sworn he winked at me, as if to say 'don't worry kid, we've all been there.'