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Fun with Fan Mail

Written on August 25, 2009 at 6:13 am, by Eric Cressey

In a given month, this blog will get over 25,000 unique visitors.  So, as you can imagine, I get quite a bit of “fan mail.”  I recently received this lovely note from a loyal Swedish reader of mine; it’s posted almost exactly as it was received (including incorrect spelling, spacing, grammar, and content, but edited for cursing):

“Eric is a fony , in his book he think bridging is OK so you actually fool yourself that you are lifting big but you just lift the weight 8″.Real athletes lift the weight, in benchpress, with their backs FLAT . Take your skinny bragging as and go f**k yourself . I hope you get cancer.”

My response:

Dear Fan,

Thank you very much for your thoughtful note.  It means so much to me to hear from my readers, especially my particularly loyal Scandinavian following.  The Germans may love David Hasselhoff, but he’s got nothing on my popularity with the Swedish.

In response to your observation that the weight only travels 8″ on each rep, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that some folks will only move it 7.5 inches because of larger upper bodies. Really, you make such a strong case for your position that I couldn’t possibly come up with anything to refute your argument, so I’ll only bow to your unrelenting knowledge and contribute to your argument.

Certainly, lifting with a flat-back is the way to go.  While we’ve evolved over centuries to a posture that has our spine in a S-shaped curve, clearly bench pressing is an exception to the rule, as you so graciously observed.  I stand corrected.

Your well-wishes for my continued success are greatly appreciated.

Respectfully Yours,

Eric Cressey

Note from EC: this is a sarcastic response.  For more information on why a subtle arch on the bench is useful and safe for bench-pressing, check out this article from Craig Rasmussen.  I’d also add that flattening the back forces the thoracic spine to flatten as well, and this causes the scapulae to wing out: not what you want under a heavy load.

Oh, I still love you, Sweden.

12 Responses to “Fun with Fan Mail”

  1. Mike Says:

    A great response by you. The only tragedy is that your fan clearly does not have the mental capacity to appreciate the sarcasm. I have enjoyed it though.

  2. Ben Postone Says:

    While this guy is clearly a little off on his information, wouldn’t an exagerated curvature of the spine be detrimental to people with lordosis of the lumbar spine?

  3. Anne Says:

    Sweden sucks, Finland still loves you! 😉

  4. Jacob Says:

    Don’t judge all Swedes by the same hair (or however you say it)!

    I’ve had some great success on your Maximum Strenght program, and intend to do it all over again starting next week!
    Will report my progress when its not all newbie-gains. 😉

    /a Swede

  5. David Says:

    “I hope you get cancer”….Wow! I guess he won’t be visiting your gym anytime soon. Great response from you.

  6. Niel Says:

    Get cancer? This guy’s been watching too much Bruno.

  7. Derek Says:

    “you know who lives here? a big, fat phony!!!!”

  8. Wesley Says:

    In a sea of trainers, you’re one of the few that actually makes a real difference in people’s lives, so F**K that guy! We all appreciate the hard work you put into this site, keep it comin’!

  9. J.B. Says:

    Too funny.

    “Real athletes lift the weight, in benchpress, with their backs FLAT”

    that’s ok, I’m just pretend any way.

  10. Steve Says:

    I have to admit that I laughed at the end of his e-mail. Most people would have just ended it with “Take your skinny bragging as and go f**k yourself”, but this guy put the extra effort in and even wished cancer on you.

    You know you are doing something right when someone on a different continent sends you hate mail.

  11. Luka Hocevar Says:

    Cancer?! Damn! You are loved EC! lol

    I’m so glad that we have people like that pushing the research on training. I think you should bring him in for a seminar.

  12. Michael - The Fat Loss Authority Says:

    Awesome response. This lug nut obviously has no idea what he’s talking about. Since I made the switch a couple of years ago to arching my back on the bench press I’ve improved my strength and load considerably.

    Keep up the good work,

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