Tag Archives: weight rooms in Dickinson North Dakota

The Beginning Of The Ruining Of The Pit Gym In Dickinson, North Dakota

In December of 2017, I wrote a blog post about a new gym that had recently opened in Dickinson, North Dakota, called The Pit Gym.  When I looked in the window of The Pit Gym, I saw two heavy-duty squat racks, two heavy-duty bench press benches, and a long rack of complete dumbbell pairs going up to 100 lbs or more.

I was very happy and surprised to see this, because this was a weight room gym, and not a fitness center.  I had not seen a weight room like this, since I worked out in the Gainesville Gym, the Daytona Gym, and the Powerhouse Gym in Florida with power lifting and body building competitors.

Starting about twenty years ago, most gyms in the United States adopted a Fitness Center model, in order to appeal to a broader range of men and women.  In doing so, these gyms became more feminized, or emasculated, into Fitness Centers where achieving maximum size and strength was no longer the goal, but some vision of “general health and wellness”.

The West River Community Center in Dickinson, is one of the nicest fitness centers in the United States, and probably even the World.  It has an indoor Olympic lap pool, an indoor amusement park pool, an outdoor pool, hot tub, two indoor tennis courts, four indoor racketball courts, four indoor basketball courts, one indoor volleyball court, upper level 1/5 mile jogging track, outdoor skateboard park, indoor rock climbing wall, floor exercise area, aerobics rooms and classes, thirty pieces of cardiovascular equipment, bench press benches, squat racks, dead lift platforms, dumbbells, and cable machines.

The West River Community Center also has very large men’s and women’s locker rooms with many lockers, toilets, and showers.  There is also a children’s day care facility.  The cost of a membership is only about $30 per month.  Like I said, the West River Community Center is one of the nicest fitness centers in the United States.

However, one thing that the West River Community Center, and the Anytime Fitness in Dickinson do not have, is a heavy weight lifting area with the absence of women and children.

It does not matter that the West River Community Center has three heavy-duty squat racks and two dead lift platforms, when these squat racks and dead lift platforms are usually occupied by women or children who are only lifting just the 45 lb bar, without any weights, and doing many sets of exercises.

I think that women’s fitness magazines must have shown so many articles where a professional trainer is doing squats with just a bar inside of a squat rack, or lunges with just the bar on a dead lift platform, that this is what women think these things are for.

Squat racks, which are a heavy steel framework consisting of four vertical corner posts and overhead horizontal cross bracing, were invented about fifty years ago, to allow power lifters doing heavy squat exercises, to train without a spotter, and to help prevent a catastrophic injury or accident.  A squat exercise, is where you rest the bar on your upper back, and perform a knee bend and back bend, to where your upper legs become horizontal or parallel to the floor.

High School football linemen can typically squat about 350 lbs.  College football linemen can typically squat about 400 lbs.  Very good competitive power lifters can squat more than 700 lbs.  It is common when performing heavy squat exercises, for lifters of any age, to experience a problem.  The most common problems are a sudden knee weakness, loss of balance, or loss of footing.

If a power lifter is performing heavy squat exercises inside of a squat rack, there are horizontal safety bars that are set to stop the fall of the bar and the weights if there is a problem.  The horizontal safety bars inside of the squat rack, can prevent the complete and catasrophic failure of a knee or vertebrae, paralysis, death, and tremendous property damage.  Without the squat rack safety bars, 400 lb to 800 lb landing on your neck or head if you slip, can be fatal.

When the women and children at the West River Community Center are taking up the squat racks using only the 45 lb bar for multiple sets of exercises, usually they don’t even have the horizontal safety bars set to help them in a fall.  They don’t even really need the squat rack at all, and they are just tying up a strategic piece of training equipment and preventing others who really need it, from using it.

Most people do not know how much planning goes into even minimally competitive power lifting.  Most all power lifters keep a journal/log book of completed training and planned training.  They are on a very complex schedule of lift rotations, and weight levels.  Whether it is squat, dead lift, or bench press, there are weeks of training with increasing weight, leading up to one specific day, and one specific time of that day, that they have set to attempt a maximum squat, dead lift, or bench press.

Adult men who are involved in power lifting, will think all week about a lift, their maximum weight attempt scheduled for a Friday at 5:00 p.m. when they get off of work.  They will visualize a squat lift all week, and know all week that they plan on attempting 495 lb, 505 lb, the amount that they think they can achieve in a maximum effort for one repetition.  This lift will be the culmination of weeks and weeks of training.  But when they get to the West River Community Center at 5:00 p.m. on Friday to use the squat rack, there is some young lady doing squats with just the 45 lb bar, tying up the squat rack, and she doesn’t even need the squat rack.

In order to do something about this problem, Dave Clem a power lifting competitor in Dickinson, opened The Pit Gym in the Fall of 2017.  Now I already wrote two paragraphs describing everything that the West River Community Center has, from the pools, basketball courts, cardio equipment, weight training equipment, men’s and women’s locker rooms.  The only thing that the West River Community Center did not have, was a heavy weight lifting area for adult men, with no women and children around to get on dead lift platforms and squat racks that they did not need in the first place.

On this Saturday, 5/26/18, I was at The Pit Gym when two young men had brought their two young girlfriends with them.  At first, I just tried to not pay attention to these two young women, but they were talking a lot, as this appeared to be a social outing for them, like a barbeque or going to the beach.  One of the young women got on one of the bench press benches and was using just the bar with no weight.  And the other young woman was all over the place, not even lifting weight most of the time, just being a distraction.

I was very angry about this, and I felt like saying to the two young men, “Are you trying to fuck this up just like the West River Community Center?  The whole reason why this gym exists, is because women and children would go to the West River Community Center and get on the bench press benches, the squat racks, and the dead lift platforms, and use just the bar with no weight, fool around, and prevent other people from using the heavy weight equipment.”

I couldn’t fucking believe this.  The Pit Gym is small, about 35’x 50′, it doesn’t even have locker rooms or a shower.  All The Pit Gym has to offer, that is different than the West River Community Center and Anytime Fitness, are the two heavy-duty weight benches, the two heavy-duty squat racks, the dead lift platform, and the dumbbells pairs going up to 100 lbs, combined with the absence of women and children getting in the way.

If you introduce women and children into The Pit Gym, it has absolutely nothing to offer, and no reason to go there whatsoever, if all of the equipment is going to be taken up by women and children.  If the squat racks, benches, and dumbbell area are going to be occupied by women, you might as well just go to the West River Community Center as it is cheaper, has more equipment, and more amenities.

I was angry and distracted by the two young women in The Pit Gym on Saturday.  I left the gym without completing even half of my planned exercises, partly because I lost my focus, and partly because I did not want to do my exercises around these two young women because I thought that they might get hurt, or cause me to get hurt.

The behind the head curls that I was doing laying on my back on the weight bench, I thought that the one young girl using the adjacent weight bench was going to get hit with the bar because she did not know the range of motion that I was going to do.  And I could see the same thing happening with the other young woman when I tried to do dumbbell flies.

Like I said, these two young women were treating this as a social outing, and I don’t think that they were paying enough attention or had been around weight rooms enough to know what I was going to do.  Them walking into to me, the bar, or the dumbbells while I was in motion would not only have gotten them hurt, it might have gotten me hurt too.

I just left, and I was angry and disgusted.  I went home and I updated the first blog post that I wrote about The Pit Gym back in December of 2017.  I began thinking that maybe this is what Dave Clem and his wife Wendy want, to get as many people to join The Pit Gym as possible, even if this results in the exact same problems as what happened at the West River Community Center and Anytime Fitness in Dickinson.

I am going to finish this blog post by giving some complaints written by other people about gyms and fitness centers:

From Men’s Health, Lou Schuler 9/22/15

  • The gym noob who sets her water bottle and clipboard on a bench isn’t trying to piss you off. She just doesn’t know better.
  • A bit less forgivable are the five teens using a single leg press machine, but forming a cordon that blocks off three other stations.
  • Or the young woman who sits on a machine for five minutes between sets because she’s returning texts.
  • Don’t tie up equipment that you don’t need for the exercise that you are doing.  The people who tie up squat racks when they aren’t even lifting. I’ve seen it used for stretches, or to hold onto while doing single-leg calf raises with their own body weight.

From Return of Kings, Kenzie Atkins 2/28/16

  • I find nothing more frustrating than walking into the gym and finding it full of women and estrogen.
  • Working out with other men increases your competitiveness and forces you to push yourself and improve your personal best.
  • Let me set the scene—you have gone into the gym with the intention of working your legs, you have a set routine, and it’s coming up to the squat part of your workout. You go to the squat rack to find that it is being used by a woman who has a bar weighing 50 lbs.  (She is using just the bar, with no weight.)
  • We are all men, and let’s be honest we are often checking out women. There are some alright women in the gym and this can be a distraction during a time when we should be concentrating on our workout and improving ourselves.
  • Mixed gyms discourage this kind of fellowship by changing the dynamic. Instead of the positive competitiveness of sport, there is a tendency to compete for the “cute” girl.
  • Men only gyms would encourage the positive traits of brotherhood and support, while giving us a distraction free environment to improve ourselves.

I don’t know what is going to happen.  Why can’t the women just stay over at the West River Community Center with the swimming pools, hot tub, tennis, racketball, basketball, volleyball, jogging track, exercise floor, aerobics rooms,  yoga, cardio equipment, weight area, childcare, women’s locker room, women’s showers, and women’s toilets.  They have way more equipment and amenities over there.  Why the fuck can’t they stay the fuck over there?

This video shows a woman powerlifter who is serious.

This video shows a woman powerlifter who is not serious enough.

This video shows a woman getting hit with weights in the gym.

This video shows a woman taking up equipment and not using it for what it is for.

This video shows women being a distraction in the gym.


New Gym “The Pit” In Dickinson, North Dakota

Update 5/27/2018:  When I first wrote this blog post article about the Pit Gym in December of 2017, I had a very positive and favorable opinion of this gym because it was the only weight room gym in town.  I am not going to re-write my initial reaction, but I have added to the bottom of this blog post, a description of what I think is going to be a frustration for powerlifters and bodybuilders at this gym.

Approximately one month ago I was driving south on 10th Avenue East toward Villard when I saw a sign for the gym “The Pit” right next door to East End Towing.  I have lived in Dickinson for a little over five years, and in this particular neighborhood for six months, and this was the first time that I ever saw that a gym was in this building.

I turned in to the parking lot, and I got out of my vehicle to look in the windows.  The gym was mostly free weights, weight benches, and weight lifting racks.  I had not seen a gym like this in years.  Virtually all gyms in the United States have been transformed into “Fitness Centers” over the past 25 years in order to have a wider range of customers.  The “Weight Rooms” are almost all gone now.

I thought for sure that the owner must be a Power Lifter, because who else would open a gym now with mostly free weights and weight lifting racks?  I went inside, and there was a blond lady sitting at the desk, which was a surprise to me.  I said, “I was expecting to see a guy at this gym, not a lady, this is a Weight Room.”  She mostly understood what I meant, especially because her husband is a Power Lifter, but she probably didn’t like me saying it, because she is a Power Lifter too.  This was probably Step #1 of me getting kicked out of this gym.

I talked to her probably longer than I should have, but I wanted to see if she and her husband had had the same experience as me at the West River Community Center.  There are just so many people at the WRCC, and so many things going on, that it is difficult to get to the free weights and the weight racks at the WRCC.

For instance, I could plan on using one of the weight racks at the WRCC to safely do overhead press, squats, shrugs, or dead lifts, using 300 lbs or more, and all of the racks would be taken up by “Fitness People” who wanted to do multiple sets of lunges or bent over lifts using just the 45 lb bar, with no weights at all.

When I found out who her husband was, Dave Clem, I remembered seeing him at the WRCC many times.  I believed that he probably wasn’t very happy with the “circus” at the WRCC, and it was no surprise to me that this was his gym.  Dave is a Power Lifting competitor, and he currently holds several national Power Lifting records.  He routinely squats 750 lbs at meets.

Membership at “The Pit” gym is $40 per month.  If you are serious and goal oriented in Weight Training, Body Building, or Power Lifting, here are the advantages of this gym:

  1. Multiple sets of dumbbell pairs, ranging in 5 lb increments from 5 lb to 100 lb, with no gaps.  Four weight benches dedicated to the dumbbells.
  2. Two heavy duty Power Lifting bench press benches.  Adjacent weight plates to load 700 plus lbs.
  3. Two heavy duty Power Lifting squat racks, with quick release bar rests, safety bars, and safety chains.  Adjacent weight plates to load 700 plus lbs.
  4. Dedicated dead lift platform, with bar jack for loading and unloading weight plates.  Adjacent weight plates to load 700 plus lbs.
  5. The walk from your car, to the weights that you want to use, is less than 75 feet, with no one, and no thing in your way.  Going to the WRCC, is almost like going to an airport.
  6. The Pit gym has 24 hour access.  If you come during the day, or later in the evening, you will almost certainly have immediate and uninterrupted access to the weights, weight bench, or weight rack that you want to use.
  7. At certain times during the week, Dave Clem and the Power Lifting team are training for squat, bench, and dead lift, and are watching and assisting in improving each other’s lifts.

Dave and Wendy Clem have a Power Lifting team that trains at The Pit gym.  There is a large white competition board that lists each member’s weight class, competition record for squat, bench press, dead lift, totals, and personal best lifts.  They encourage high school students to become involved in Power Lifting and they provide coaching.

At this gym, it is more goal oriented and results oriented.  In Weight Training, Body Building, and Power Lifting, people are interested in increasing the weight used in lifts, increasing repetitions with weight, increasing the size and definition of muscle, and increasing strength in a measurable way.  It is not like a “Fitness Center” where people dabble on a piece of equipment until they become bored or distracted, and then wander over to another piece of equipment and watch television on a monitor, not paying attention to what they are doing.

Change in my opinion of The Pit Gym 5/27/2018:

The whole reason for The Pit Gym to even exist in my opinion, was to provide access to heavy-duty, high weight capacity squat racks, bench press benches, dead-lift platform, incline leg press, and dumbbells in a way that the West River Community Center, and Anytime Fitness in Dickinson, North Dakota do not.

The West River Community Center is one of nicest fitness centers in the United States.  It has two very large indoor swimming pools, one outdoor swimming pool, two tennis courts, four racketball courts, four basketball courts, a rock climbing wall, thirty pieces of cardiovascular equipment, and a weight room with squat racks, bench press benches, dead lift platform, and dumbbells, all for less money than The Pit Gym in Dickinson.

What the West River Community Center and the Anytime Fitness in Dickinson do not have, is an area for adult men to use heavy weight equipment, free from women and children.

At the West River Community Center in Dickinson, there are all kinds of things for women and children to do.  Swim laps, use the water slide, play tennis, play racketball, climb on the rock climbing wall, play basketball, walk the track, run the track, do yoga or floor exercises, take an aerobics class, use thirty pieces of cardiovascular equipment, and even go do squats, bench press, dead lifts, with just the bar, with no weight, for as much as they want, for as long as they want.

The West River Community Center also has a day care for kids, and a very large women’s locker room with many lockers, toilets, and showers.  The Anytime Fitness in Dickinson is also very large, with just as much cardiovascular equipment and weight lifting equipment as the West River Community Center.  The Anytime Fitness has a women’s locker room with several toilets and showers.

The Pit Gym in Dickinson is small in size, approximately 35’x 50′.  It has no women’s locker room, no women’s only bathroom, no shower, just one piece of cardiovascular equipment, no floor exercise area, and far less weight training equipment than either the West River Community Center or Anytime Fitness.  The only thing that The Pit Gym has that what appealing to me, is the heavy-duty weight benches, squat racks, dead lift platform, and dumbbells, combined with the absence of women and children.

If you add women and children to The Pit Gym, and you have either a woman or a kid on the two squat racks, the two bench press benches, and using the dumbbells, The Pit Gym in my opinion is not worth going to.

I thought that Dave Clem the owner of The Pit Gym and a power lifting competitor, went through the trouble of finding a building to rent, and moved all of his heavy-duty, high weight capacity, power lifting training, exercise, and competition equipment into this building, so that people who wanted to lift and train with heavy weight, could do so without any conflict or interruption from the women and children at the West River Community Center or Anytime Fitness.

Yesterday, I went to The Pit Gym in Dickinson, and two young men had brought their two young girlfriends with them.  The Pit Gym is very small, about 35’x 50′, there are only two squat racks, and two bench press benches.  I got to use the squat rack that I wanted to use, but one of the young men’s girlfriends was talking a lot, and playing around, like this was their garage, an afternoon barbeque, or a social occasion.  I was not as focused, or trying as hard as I should have been, I was distracted.  The space is so small, that you can’t really escape how other people want to act, or what they want to do.

Soon, there was another young man that arrived with his young girlfriend.  She was attractive, and was wearing training shorts, and a sports bras top.  I became even more distracted, not just because this girl was attractive, but because she was talking on her phone, and talking about other things.  Again, this was like a social occasion for her.  And again, this gym is only about 35’x 50′, if other people want to talk about food, and what they want to go eat, you can’t help but hear them, which takes your mind off of what you are doing.

I realized that I was stopping short of where I should have in my exercises, because I was not paying attention to what I was doing.  It was not just the distraction, it seems like there is a natural response to not completely disregard or ignore other people, as if this would be rude or impolite in a social situation.  However, I was not looking for a social situation, I had intended to focus completely on my lifts, but I was not able to.

There was one bench press bench that I needed to use next, which was available, except one of the young women had left her head phones on the weight bar.  What else would this bar be used for, other than to hang personal belongings on?  I moved her head phones to the adjacent bench press bench.  I was going to do behind the head pull over curls while laying on the bench, and this was the only bench with enough room to do this without hitting anything behind your head while laying down on the bench.

I didn’t realize that the young woman was going to use the adjacent bench press bench, to do bench presses with just the bar.  I dragged the bench press bench that I was going to use, away from her, so that when I was doing behind the head curls while laying down, I would not hit her with the bar.

Lately, I would go up to 135 lb with behind the head curls, and in the past I was able to go up to 160 lbs.  But today, I stopped at 105 lb, and left the gym before I was done with this exercise, and before I was done with the remainder of my exercises, because of these two women.

I did not want to continue with behind the head curls while laying down, for more sets with more weight, because I was worried about hitting the young woman with the bar, hurting her, and possibly losing my balance, and getting myself hurt too.  I did not think that she knew the range of motion that I was going to make in this exercise, and I did not think that she understood how difficult this is to lower 135 lb behind your head and pull it back up using just your triceps.

My next exercise was going to be dumbbell flys, but the other young man and his girlfriend were socializing by the dumbbells and the dumbbell benches.  I was concerned that I was not going to be able to make a maximum effort because of being distracted and not being able to entirely block out this couple.  I was also concerned about being bumped into by the young woman who might not have understood the range of motion that I was going to make, possibly hurting her, and possibly losing my balance and hurting myself too.

In the 30 years that I have been going to gyms, I have always sought to go to weight room gyms where everyone uses heavy weights.  At Anytime Fitness, the West River Community Center, or any gym where there are women and children, I have often had to stop what I am doing in the middle of a repetition, to avoid hitting or harming a woman or kid, that did not know the range of motion that I was going to make, or understand the amount of weight that I was moving.

For instance, in the past, I would train with 120 lb, 130 lb, and 140 lb dumbbells doing dumbbell presses.  I could not use more than 100 lbs, at the West River Community Center, because women would come walking up beside you when you were on a bench, totally not understanding that this was 100 lb in each hand, that you were going to extend your arms completely in a press, and this movement was going to hurt them if they got in the way.  And after five or six repetitions with 100 lb in each hand, they had better not be standing where a dumbbell could land on their feet.  Women and children did not know, or understand, when you were lifting heavy weight.

In my opinion, there is absolutely no point, no reason whatsoever to join The Pit Gym in Dickinson if the owners Dave and Wendy Clem want this to be another fitness center with women and children.  This gym will no longer offer anything that is any different from what the West River Community Center and the Anytime Fitness have to offer.

I have seen from my experience in going to many gyms over a 30 year period, that most women and children have no understanding or comprehension of an adult male making a maximum effort to lift the heaviest weight he can lift, for one or two repetitions, in an exercise where he can be severely injured or fail at the lift if he is distracted.  Or, the understanding that they could be severely injured if they don’t move the fuck out of the way.

Here below are some examples with photographs:

What this guy below needs, is for someone else’s girlfriend to stand at the weight bench next to him, so that her leg gets broken when he puts down one of those 200 lb dumbbells.  Maybe he should learn how to put them down gently, 200 lb each isn’t very much is it?  That’s not that much more than 10 lb, is it?


These two guys below, what they need is someone else’s girlfriend standing in front of them wearing a sports bras, and talking on her phone about where they are going to eat.  Some kind of distraction is what they need, to cause them to fail in the lift and get hurt.



All three of these guys up above need someone else’s kids running around them and bumping into them, to cause them to lose their balance so that they can fail in the lift and get hurt.

Today, in response to my updated blog posts, Wendy Clem, the wife of Dave Clem, wrote some comments.  She completely disagrees with my opinion and my wish that her gym be oriented primarily towards men.  She believes that her gym should be open to everyone.

Wendy wrote some comments saying that I was Chauvanistic.  I agree on this, as far as my opinion on having one gym in Dickinson that is primarily for men.  Wendy called me on the telephone, and said that if I came down there right now, she had two women in the gym who could kick my ass in the gym.  I said that I would be right there.

When I got to the gym about fifteen minutes later, Wendy met me outside the gym with a refund of money.  She wanted to tell me what she thought.  I said where are these two women who can out lift me?  I was introduced to a very large young woman who had just completed a 400 lb squat.

I said to the young woman, O.K., you have me beat on squat, I admit it.  Let’s go do some 100 lb dumbbells.  She wouldn’t do it.  Then, I got told to leave the gym, and never come back.