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How To Discourage Imaginary Lat Syndrome in Gym?

November 15th, 2007 · 11 Comments ·


After lifting heavy weights, some people like to walk with armpits open wide, 6 to 12 inches on both sides, like having difficulty to close them. It is like they are holding huge invisible basketballs under armpits. I initially called it “Invisible Basketball Under Armpit Syndrome”. But, later, someone told me that it is called Imaginary Lat Syndrome (ILS) or Exaggerated Lat Syndrome (ELS). This hallucination to open arms like that explains why the name is Imaginary Lat Syndrome. Lats (latissimus) is one of our muscle groups at the back.

Yes, sometimes, when we work our back muscles hard enough, we tend to do that. But, come on, it is not necessary to open that smelly armpit so wide and don’t have to do it every minute. In fact, no excuse to do it right after every workout, be the exercise involves only legs, biceps, calves or other muscles.

Why People Have ILS

I have not done any scientific study, but here is my list of possible causes of ILS:

  • Wants Attention? I have seen the worst case which a fellow open his arms wide with his imaginary lats, then walked slowly around the gym while attempting to make eye contact with everyone. To enhance the effect, this person will usually stick his chest out as if he has a huge chest too. He normally comes with weight lifting gloves and weight lifting belt.
  • Want To Be Ronnie Coleman? Ronnie Coleman is eight-time Mr. Olympia title winner. In real life, when Ronnie relaxes his lats, he can actually bring his arms down to his side. It is only on the stage the bodybuilders will open arms wide to impress the judges and audience.
  • Looking for Mate? I believe that this posture is used primarily as a form of signal to attract or impress females. May be these fellows show it as a defense or dominance posture to appear larger to a threat or to intimidate rival males so that they can get the mates they want. But, as of why on earth they have to do it in gym, I have no idea.


Funniest Moment with ILS
One of the funniest experience in gym was these conversations I overheard at my gym some time ago.

Every now and then, sales person will bring potential customers to walk around the gym to show them the facilities.

In a beautiful afternoon, a mid thirties woman came to the free weight area with her small little pretty daughter. At that point of time, a man, without any huge lats, was walking around there too. He opened his arms wide enough to get the attention of the mother and the daughter.

He took the dumbbells. Walked in front of them. Then, without lifting the weights, he put the dumbbells back to the rack. Never in a second he has closed his arms while he doing so. He walked past the mother and the daughter again.

The little girl then asked, “Mama, why this uncle has to walk with armpit open wide wide? Is he sick?

When I heard this and I saw how embarrassed this muscle man-wanna-be was. He quickly closed his armpits and walked away pretending nothing happened.

And I had to run out…run out to laugh as loud as I could. WTF.


How To Discourage ILS in Your Gym
One of the best ways to discourage this ILS is to avoid eye contact at all costs with people like these. Remember, they want you to acknowledge them and if you do, they will do it more often and look for you every time they go to the gym.

For those who have been having ILS for some time, it is time to rest your arms casually. It won’t hurt yet it makes you behave like a normal person.

What do you think about ILS?




Category: Funny Fitness Experience

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11 responses so far ↓
  • Angie Tan // Nov 15, 2007 at 7:43 AM

    Hahaahah!!!! Good one!

    I don’t notice such stuff ‘coz I can’t stand some of those bodybuilders because they’re soooo vain. :-P

    Anyway, even if I did see it, I’ll probably think if this guy is in pain or what?

  • Elvina // Nov 15, 2007 at 9:48 AM

    Thank goodness the kid commented that… I never like to go to the free weights area in my gym cos i wanna avoid these type of people. Moreover, if a woman ever walk to tat area, all the men will be looking at you and giving you the impression that we dun belong there. To me, they are a bunch of show-offs! We women nowadays dun go for muscular men entirely .. To me, the intelligence of the man is more interesting … LoL

  • kirksman // Nov 15, 2007 at 3:35 PM

    i’m beginning to love reading your blog
    some good stuff here. this is one of the problems, many OLD men have. it’s not the younger generation that have this issue IMHO.

    just because they’ve trained for years, (and still look about the same), they just find that it’s totally necessary to do such a stupid action. And they will tell me that it’s not good to carry heavy, must carry light do more reps. Honestly, how do you tell these buffons that you don’t want their “help”?

  • Vertigo7 // Nov 16, 2007 at 8:57 PM

    OMG, I admit that I have this errr, this ummm, should I call it syndrome? I don’t think it’s a syndrome, but it sure makes me feel good about myself. That happens when I’m flexing my lats in the mirror. Hahahahaha, those of you with smaller lats, work it our first yea ;)

    P/S: Well I don’t think it’s only my lats, but my thighs too ;)

  • sylvesteR // Nov 17, 2007 at 3:05 AM

    They just wanted to spread their manly odour, hoping that you will recognise their presence when you get in contact with the stench!!

  • Vertigo7 // Nov 19, 2007 at 11:43 AM

    Hahaha that’s so hilarious, sylvesteR ;)

  • Vertigo // Mar 23, 2009 at 10:15 AM

    This whole post is a load of bull!

    There is nothing wrong with “walking tall, with chest out and arms wider than it should be.”
    There is a term for that. It’s called having “good posture.”
    Walking with chest in and shoulders forward is considered normal?

    This is a whole load of bull that you made up.

  • Nick // May 3, 2009 at 5:40 PM

    I agree 100%. I go to the gym and I see several peope do this. One in particular is a 20 year old(early 20’s) he has to weigh a measley 175 or so. He is always flexing in the mirror trying to spread his non existent lats. HE then proceds to tell the bigger guys at the gym how to do a “most muscular” pose and “lat spread”

    I have heard them laugh behind his back. When he walks around his arms are probably spread around 6 inches or so and he is always looking in the mirror to see who is looking. He tried to give me advice on how to do squats once…even though I have good development and seperation on my legs. I just simply said “does it look like I need your help and pointed to my flexed leg. He left in embarassment. I still see him and he doesnt even look my way. I would say the best way to deal with these people is to call them out.

  • kira // Oct 31, 2009 at 12:41 PM

    Honestly this thing is funny :) is also called hokuto no ken syndrome, due the posture that almost all the characters of that manga were showing :P

    seriously; i am a big guy, and i lift a decent amount of weights, and i can understand the pleasure of looking at your muscle and see them nice and full of blood after an exercise; but it doesn’t even cross my mind to go around the gym in that pose, nor to pass around girls or even boys; just because i smell horribly when i sweat and do my exercise LOL

    I am married, and thank god i go to the gym just when no one is around because i like to be in good health and can’t care less of one muscle defined more than the other, or to have a 6pack; and the nice silence of the almost empty gym is great to focus and concentrate on your exercises without smelly people walking around in strange poses, or talking about how much they are well defined ^_^

    Anyway at any time you find the funny guy with some complex,that goes to the gym and start to think that just because you lift weights you can compete with Ronnie :) the best is to ignore them; or if they do the smartass around you simply invite them to do a short weight competition, to see who makes more reps without stopping with small weights and let them explode after a bit ;) this works almost all the times ;)

    this blog is funny dude :P keep up the good work!

  • sickofdbs // Nov 5, 2009 at 8:25 PM

    haha i agree with this 100%. i have a couple friends with this devastating disorder and to treat it, i just poke them with my buck knife right in their lat, just hard enough to “pop” that ils. everyone do their part to prevent this from turning into an epidemic, soon there isnt going to be any space to move in this world because of all the “huge” lats.

    *powerlift or go home*

  • Jaytee // Dec 24, 2018 at 7:28 PM

    Lucky use ain’t in my gym. I’d bash fuk outta yas all. Nah juz clip yas wit my wings- lat pro . Make mince meet of use all

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