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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