Figured it was a compliment, VS!
It was always odd being the big guy skateboarding - I averaged about 235 lbs. most of the time I was skating daily (minus all the muscle I acquired over the years, so it was always a chubby 235ish all the time). But, all the years spent praticing gave me a decent sense of balance, coupled with learning to fall to do the least amount of damage for being the size I was. Still a lot of fun, but I have just as much fun watching the younger generation come up and do tricks we only dreamed of back in our day, so even if I just go to spectate it's a good time.
The axle is 54 lbs. empty, I call it 55 as I throw on some steel collars on it that are about a half pound or so to try and get it close to 55 lbs total. It's tough to use for anything with deadlifting, rowing, etc. but for pressing, it gets me into a better position and feels WAY better than a normal bar.
I was never naturally strong (naturally large, yes, but I spent my first years lifting with a friend who referred to me as either "balloon man" or "super-wuss" for not having strength to match my size
When I was just doing general bodybuilding, I never got that strong - only when got into doing other stuff like strongman and odd lift work did I finally realize that not every rep needs to be textbook, not every set needs to be done in the vein of "x reps for x sets = optimal", lots of heavy singles and doubles combined with squats, deadlifts and overheads that I'd ignored for years are what turned things around. Now it's just keeping my fingers crossed that my lower back will stay in decent shape to get my lower body strong again one day, gotta take it slow for a long time to ensure I don't make the same mistake twice. Not to mention, some strongman things like doing yoke training are off my list permanently, as that was one thing that really did make my situation even worse.
No worries, Robert, I knew what you meant!
Hopefully you'll be back this way this summer, and if so, we'll have to find more time to hang out for sure. I still feel bad that I didn't have the chance to get to train with you while you were here, but next time, it'll be good to go. The Slingshot can be seen here for how it works: http://howmuchyabench.net/
It's a great training tool for overloading on bench, it works like a partial bench shirt by giving some assistance off the chest at bottom and lets you slam your triceps harder than normal by going heavier than you can normally do for chest work. It gives me about 30 lbs. or so extra above my normal bench weights for what I can use, you feel it as the bar hits your chest, but every inch back up, it does less and less to assist and about halfway to lockout, you don't get anything out of it (which is exactly when your triceps will kick in the most). I like to use it for a while, then test my raw bench every so often to see how much it can help me add on when I ditch it for a max single. I'm hoping to hit 315 without it again soon to tie my old PR close grip bench, so we'll see in a month or so if it's helping me out as much as I hope it is!