My New Pal 10
After Tommy and I got cleaned up, I took him to the Powerhouse gym I used during the summer when I'm at my parents' beach house. I'd been coming here since high school, and Ken, the manager, told me back then that I had the genetics for bodybuilding. It was because of him that I got into it. This gym was pretty hardcore, and even in the off hours, there were always a handful of muscleheads working out. And if you came after 5 o'clock in the summer, most of the local lifeguards were there too, along with a bunch of blue collar lifters. It could be quite a scene.
I introduced Tommy to Ken, the gym manager, and as Ken signed him up, he asked Tommy what gym he'd been lifting at before.
"Nowhere," said Tommy.
Ken looked at Tommy skeptically, then at me.
"Tommy works out at home," I said.
"You got this big working out at home?" Ken said. At 5'8", 240lbs, Ken was a thickly muscled guy with tremendous strength.
"Yeah, but now I want to get bigger. And stronger. Way stronger," said Tommy.
"How old are you, kid?" Ken asked.
"Just turned 18," said Tommy.
"How much can you bench?"
"That's what we're here to find out," I said. "Tommy just entered the powerlifting competition that's coming up."
"Oh yeah? That's excellent, Tommy. I'm going to be in that meet too, so good luck to you." Ken was a super nice guy, so I knew he meant that. He'd be thrilled to have some kid from his gym do well at the competition. He shook hands with Tommy, and then someone else came into the gym to sign up. "You show him the ropes, Joe," said Ken. "You're looking bigger than ever, too. You change your workout?"
"No, not really. Just my diet."
"Well, keep it up, the muscle is looking full and solid. You might have to compete in the lightheavyweight division instead of middleweight," he said, as he turned his attention to the new member. That made me feel great, him noticing the muscle like that. I wondered if I'd really grown that much to be noticeable to him. Tommy and I went over to the scale next to the drinking fountain and I weighed myself. 208lbs. That was 15lbs heavier than I'd expected. I went over to a mirror, lifted my shirt, and check out the abs. Each segment bulged out like cobblestones. Still shredded to the bone, and even close to an 8pak showing if I clenched down hard enough. Seemed hard to believe, but it was an awesome feeling. I looked back at Tommy who was weighing himself.
"294 on this scale," he said. "I like it. Let's bench something." When he stepped off the scale, I heard it creak with relief.
Tommy and I went over to a bench, and I loaded the bar to 225. When Tommy pumped it up and down like it was a breadstick, I added another 90lbs. I showed him how to spot me, and then I did 6 reps with the 315. I'd never done more than 3 reps with that much weight, so I was pretty pleased. Then Tommy went. When he got to 20 reps, I made him stop. "Save some strength for 405lbs," I told him, and we added more weight to the bar. This was 40lbs more than I'd ever maxed out, so I told Tommy to keep a close eye on the bar. I almost had it up, but he had to help me lock it out. When he sat down on the bench, he said, "How many should I do?"
"Just try to do 8," I suggested. When he got to 10, I stopped him. "That's good," I said.
"I can do more," he said, not even sitting up on the bench, but clearly waiting for me to add more weight.
"No doubt," I said, adding another 90lbs. A couple of the other guys had stopped working out and were looking over. I saw the new member walk away from the desk and toward the locker room, giving Ken a full view of our bench. Tommy grabbed the bar and benched out 12 reps so rapidly that the 45lbs plates were clanging together loudly. Tommy sat up, and I saw that his chest was starting to swell up like never before. "Goddam, man," I said to him.
"I know. It feels amazing." He flexed his chest at me and grinned. He was already about to bust out of the string tank top I'd let him borrow. "Can you add more?"
I saw Ken coming over toward us as I loaded the bar to 585. "How much were you lifting at home, Tommy?" he asked.
"I'm not sure. How much does a refrigerator weigh?" Tommy said, as he laid back down on the bench.
"Not 585, I don't think," said Ken.
"What if it's filled with wet bags of cement?" Tommy said, as he put his hands on the bar.
Ken looked at me puzzled. "Don't ask," I said to him. Then Tommy benched the bar for 8 reps. When he sat up, his chest was engorged to the size of two beach balls.
"Jesus," said Ken.
"I know, right?" I said to him.
Ken rubbed his chin as he thought about something. "This could turn out to be real interesting," he said. "There's a guy who's going to be at the meet. He dominates every comp I've ever seen him at. He works out here once in awhile. He's a massive Turkish guy who is juicing real heavy, and has gotten himself to about 380lbs. Not all of it's muscle, but his strength is off the charts. He's a pretty major asshole, though, and I'd love to see him get shown up. From what I'm seeing here, I bet you could do it, Tommy."
"Sweet," said Tommy. "Can we add more weight?"
"Why don't we go see how much you can squat?" Ken suggested.
We went over to the squat rack. Ken and I loaded a bar with 225.
"That's it?" Tommy said.
"Let's just see what kind of form you have," said Ken.
Tommy ducked his head under the bar and rested it on his swollen traps. "Like this?" he asked, as he lifted the bar up and squatted down till his thick glutes were tapping his ankles. He did 20 reps, then racked the bar. "I need way more weight," he said.
"So you do," said Ken. He and I loaded the bar till it was at 605. Tommy did 20 more reps and slammed the bar back on the rack. His legs were swelling, pushing his shorts up his quads and deep into his butt crack. He turned toward us and shook out his thunder thighs. "That's more like it," he said. "Add more." We added 100 more pounds to each side, bringing the bar to 805. Tommy did 18 reps. He slammed the bar down and said "Oh hell yeah. That feels so good." I swear his voice was growing deeper with every set. His sweat-soaked tank top was clinging to him like wet tissue, the straps straining on his beast chest. "Get this off me," he said, leaning over and outstretching his arms. Ken and I peeled the wet tank over his head. Ken wrung out the shirt and tossed it into the corner. When Tommy stood up, he looked bigger than ever. Pumped huge and swole. "More weight," he grunted, then got under the bar again. We loaded the bar to 1005lbs, so much weight that the bar was bending downward on each end. Tommy did 8 reps. When he turned around, everyone in the gym was standing behind us, watching. Tommy's thighs had to be swollen to 36", all red and blotchy from the pump, and snaked with garden hose veins. Some of the guys had hardons, and went scurrying to the locker rooms. Everyone's jaws were agape, including Ken's. Tommy turned back to look in the mirror. There was a deep red line across the top of his back where the bar had been resting, but when Tommy arched his shoulders back and flexed, the red line was broken up by rolls of bulging muscles that created a deep valley down the middle of his massive back.
"Bring on the Turk," Tommy snarled into the mirror.
"Should we show him how to do deadlifts?" I said to Ken, feeling all proud of my freak powerhouse of a pal.
"Oh, I know that one," said Tommy. "I've seen it on youtube." He stepped up to the loaded bar, put his hands under it, and lifted it off the rack, the bar pushing into his big barrel chest. He stepped back, then bent over, lowering the weights to the floor with a heavy thud. Then he started repping out deadlifts with the 1005lbs. His back muscle bulged and rippled with power from the exertion, and veins snaked around both sides of his expanding lats. Every time he lowered the weight, thick cords of hamstring muscles swelled out on the back of his legs, and the ground shook as the plates hit the ground. Tommy was sweating so heavily that it looked like he'd been oiled up. He did ten reps, then put the bar down. Then he stood up, wiped his hand on his pants, then put his hands on his hips, and flared out his lats. "Saw this on youtube, too," he grunted, as his back spread out and out and out, like the Hulk's. I'm pretty sure a couple of guys came in their shorts.
"Jesus fuck," said a stunned Ken.
"The next couple weeks should be interesting, huh, Ken?" I said.
"I'll say," he answered, as he staggered back to lean against the leg press.