This should be titled rant for the day.
I've been neglecting putting my workouts on this thread. I do have this thought watching people in the gym and especially a friend of mine. Why do so many guys look for the easiest way to perform an exercise? If you are looking to work the muscle wouldn't you find the hardest way to make the muscle work for adaptation?
Using my friend as an example. He's proud of his huge bench number. Over 400lbs at under 180lbs body weight. He uses every trick in the book. First he arches in the most ridiculous way so the top of his belly is sky high. He touches his sky high belly with the bar. He also takes a wide grip. He puts on one of those bench shirt but brags it not the good kind they use in competition. When he benches the bar barely moves. Never measured it but I bet it barely travels over 12". It's like that with all exercises. Cut the range of motion to handle the heavy ego weights.
Maybe I'm in the minority but I try to make the exercise hard to actually make the muscle stronger and not my ego. An example of this is pull ups. It means going to a dead drop in pullups and pulling all the way up till my elbows are completely down. Ten pull ups like that are worth more than 25 of these slop things I see in the gym.
Hearing what guys use as weight in bodybuilding is just about worthless unless you see the performance. How many guys say they use 405 in squats then you watch them and they barely bend their legs. They are also delusional about how deep they go. Put 225lbs on the bar and sink it like an Olympic lifter instead of doing what isn't even half squats.
Enough of the rant. It's just that bodybuilding attracts insecure people who prop up their ego by delusion-ally lying to them self about how strong they are. That's why I like Olympic lifting. Can you lift this weight over head or not? I don't want to hear a verbal explanation of why you can't. Can you do it?
There is a difference between exercising with ease and using bad form. What you are describing is mainly bad form and using crutches that can be habit forming instead of assisting them in their maximum lift. Weight belts are a great example of this. You often see folks wearing them throughout their routine. Most people don't need the assistance of a weight belt for every lift particularly not lifts that are challenging in terms of resistance.
It has not been my goal to be the strongest person in the gym. Power lifting is not my sport; bodybuilding is. It fascinates me how much you can achieve using good form and modest resistance when lifting for bodybuilding. Did you know that when doing Nautilus crunches you should keep your head straight or look slightly towards the ceiling as opposed to looking down towards your stomach? Although I never paid attention to what I did with my head position when doing crunches, I am now, since I heard this and it feels really good. What position do you think is best when doing cable triceps push downs? Is is better to bend forward at the waist, positioning yourself over the bar or is it preferable to bend your knees slightly, keeping your back relatively straight? I bend and the knees instead of at the waist. Most folks seem to bend at the waist.