I first read Under The Bar about a decade or so ago. Maybe longer. I’ve had the pleasure of running into Dave on the powerlifting circuit a few times and have always been a fan. Under The Bar, released in 2005, is a short collection of “Twelve Lessons of Life From The World of Powerlifting”. I decided it was time to circle back around to it.
Under The Bar is not over complicated. It is not groundbreaking research. What it is, is a nice refresher on the basics of life, as applied through the metaphor of powerlifting. Dave takes 12 traits (Aim, Attitude, Integrity, Honesty, Teamwork, Criticism, Education, Risk Management, Perseverance, Flexibility, Execution and Responsibility) and discusses how he learned them in his life, how they applied to the gym and how they can be applied to the “outside” world. Each chapter collects a bevy of quotes from history about each said trait. All tucked neatly into 140ish pages.
Dave interjects his struggles and successes, and how he learned from both. Ultimately, that humanizes the lessons within.
Who is this book for? Likely lifters looking for a quick read and reminders on what they should and need to be doing with their lives. If someone is an avid “leadership book” reader, this one probably won’t blow them away. But if you come from the (under) world we do, then yes it is. Or, if you have not ready many leadership/life books, this one isn’t a bad entry point. Also, hey, January is a perfect time to brush up those life skills, right?
When I originally read this book, it was the e-edition. I found the hard copy this time. I’ll probably circle back around to it again in another decade. I also need to dig out the follow up, Raising The Bar, from my pile of TBRs.