You’re standing over the bar preparing to pull your heaviest set. You scroll through my playlist for that one song to really get ya going. Dead-lifts are hard enough as it is, more so without getting psyched up first. The intro. to “Bat Country” by Avenged Sevenfold works every time. You snug up my right lifting strap first, press play and quickly tighten your left hand to the bar. As the music builds, you roll the bar into position. The lyrical rage, revving of an engine and the sound of burning rubber combine to light a fire within you. The weight becomes unglued from the floor, climaxes, and crashes furiously.
He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man
-Dr. Samuel L. Johnson
The quote above is used as the intro to the song. It first appeared in an exchange between Dr. Johnson and Mrs. Williams about why men make “beasts of themselves”.
I called on Dr. Johnson one morning, when Mrs. Williams, the blind lady, was conversing with him. She was telling him where she had dined the day before. “There were several gentlemen there,” said she, “and when some of them came to the tea-table, I found that there had been a good deal of hard drinking.” She closed this observation with a common and trite moral reflection; which, indeed, is very ill-founded, and does great injustice to animals — “I wonder what pleasure men can take in making beasts of themselves.” “I wonder, Madam,” replied the Doctor, “that you have not penetration to see the strong inducement to this excess; for he who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.” (collected in “Johnsonian Miscellanies”)
The rest of the song speaks kindly to the rage and frustrations we all experience. I, along with many others, resonate with those words and it sits high on my workout playlist. When moving a lot of weight or digging deep for that extra bit of endurance, upping the adrenaline is sure to help. Get angry and the weights seem a whole lot lighter. Makes sense.
From “Careless Whisper” and “Forever Young” to “X Gon’ Give it to Ya.” Professional athletes of all sports and walks of life have odd walk-up songs. Some make sense, some don’t. One thing they all have in common: they get people into whatever zone they need to be in for the task at…