Don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with attempting to do curls with a 40lb weight in each hand, if you can pull it. For all I care, be my guest. Except in this case, I could see that he did not have yet the upper body strenght to pull that move. And let me tell you: There are few things more painful to watch than a guy huffing, puffing, rocking back and forth, turning red in the face, and generally hurting himself in an attempt to look Ubermacho.
Mr. 40lb dumbell is not the first guy I see doing something stupid, not will he be the last. Do people think that women are going to fall at their feet because they are grunting harder than anyone else? Are they trying to keep up with the other male specimens around? Do they have the same self-preservation instinct as a drunken lemming?
Me, I have learned my lesson long ago. If you go and tell someone "Please don't do that, you're going to injure yourself," you will most likely be served with a nasty rebuke. So at this point, all I can do is do my running commentary inside my head, using my inner voice.
"Dude! That hurts!" and "I do hope your insurance covers your physical therapist. Really."
And yes, my inner editor is fully engaged at this point.
There is a very funny video that they show at my Gym. It shows a really beefed up man, wearing a little Speedo, all oiled and ready to impress the ladies, posing in front of a mirror. Next thing you know, he emerges from a room in the gym labeled "Posing Room," and eyes meaningfully two ladies who are running on a threadmill. Then he tries to walk, but slips (presumably due to the excess oil that he has rubbed onto his body), and falls on his butt in front of everyone. At that point, the two ladies look at each other, laugh, and mutter "Poser."
Oh, so appropriate!
Nevertheless, there is a point to my snarkiness. Quite often, people will think that by lifting more than they can safely do, they will get better results. Sadly, the only results they will get is injury.
Now, I can understand this in a beginner (like Mr. 40lb dumbell), but I have seen the same stunt pulled by what appear to be seasoned weightlifters.
I would not like to be in their skin when they get tendinitis, or worse, spine injuries.
The lessons to be learned are:
a) Push yourself, but not to the point of stupidity,
b) Form is better than excessive weight, and
c) Nobody really cares how much weight you are lifting. Really. And if someone thinks that you look silly because you are not lifting the 100lb dumbell, that someone is probably a poser.
So do yourself a favor, go on and have fun, push yourself safely, keep your form, and don't injure yourself.
Your body will appreciate it, and you may need it later.