Religion

Sunday Night Follow-Up

Perhaps you recall the tale of Pat Robertson, the man with the STRONGEST THIGHS IN THE WORLD? When last we discussed this, Pat had just come out with his ludicrous claim that he leg pressed 2,000 lbs.

Skepchick readers were on the case with observations like:

phiend said,
May 29, 2006 at 1:10 am

If you watch the video you get to see pat push up what he calls, and at least appears to be 1000 pounds, you’ll notice that the machine has a locking bar which keeps the press from falling while you are not actively working out. Now if you look at the pictures of pat and the 2000 pounds, the lock bar is still up in the locked position. If you look closer you will notice that the weight hasn’t even been lifted off the lock bar.

Now, he has restated his claim, with a few qualifiers. From CBN:

When 2,000 pounds was put on the machine two men got on either side and helped push the load up, and then let it down on Mr. Robertson, who pushed it up one rep and let it go back down again.

That quote doesn’t come from a new press release — it comes from the edited web page that I had originally linked to. See, it didn’t say that when the news first came out. Instead, the page merely boasted that he can do it and linked to a video of him pressing 1,000 pounds. It wasn’t until people began questioning his veracity that they finally changed their tune.

Sadly, I can’t find that page cached anywhere. I did find the main page where CBN touts Pat’s magical smoothie that allows him to perform incredible feats of derring-do. Here’s the original:

Did you know that Pat Robertson can leg-press 2000 pounds![sic]

Did I![sic] No I didn’t did you![sic]

Here’s what it says now:

Did you know that Pat Robertson, through rigorous training, leg-pressed 2,000 pounds!

Apparently they think that adding the “through rigorous training” adds to their credibility, but proper punctuation can still just go to hell. They then link to the page that was changed to reflect CBN’s bold new stance on honesty, i.e., “we’ll be honest as soon as we’re caught lying.” That page now admits the machine is an incline machine, as many people have pointed out already.

My favorite new addition to the site is the testimony of Robertson’s trainer, Dr. Charles Warne. The good doctor gives us an overview of how Pat went about obtaining his thighs of steel. After he gives a lot of advice on how you, gentle reader, can go about accomplishing similar goals, there’s a handy disclaimer: “Consult with your physician before starting this or any new health or exercise regimen.”

I wonder, if they hadn’t added that bit, how many letters they would have received from the angry relatives of well-meaning septuagenerians hopelessly crushed by a literal ton of weights after sipping the super smoothie and saying a quick prayer? One can only dream.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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8 Comments

  1. I wondered for a while how it is possible that Pat Robertson and his people could possibly have made a claim so patently ridiculous that it couldn't be believed by any reasonable person. I have concluded that it is because they truly have no concept of large numbers. Like a child saying that being rich is having a hundred dollars, because that's the largest number he can comprehend, I think Pat's people just had no idea how outrageous their claim was. Someone said, "pick a big number. So they did.

    I also think that problem is at the heart of why these people have difficulty accepting evolution. They have no concept of number sense beyond the thousands. They cannot understand the difference between six thousand years, and six billion years. They are unable to wrap their heads around exactly how much time was available for the process to occur.

  2. When I did my Wikipedia-research after the article came out, Wikipedia _seemed_ to indicate that for the specific thing Pat Robertson appeared to be doing — that is, that particular incline, with the lock-bar in so that you are only moving the weights a short distance (and not, say, from where the weights are completely squishing you [Wikipedia termed this, 'the glutes being fully extended']) — 2000 pounds is not actually that absurd, or quite so impressive. Indeed, it claims that some men can actually move over 3000 pounds in that manner.

    Of course, that method of weight lifting is apparently frowned upon (as you aren't moving the weight over the full extension of the muscle), and the 2000/3000 lb figures are for 20-something body-builders and not 70-something television personalities…

  3. Not defending Pat or anything, but I can lift 2000 pounds too. I can use a jack to lift up a car, or a pulley system to lift 2000 pounds of weight. All I'm saying is those machines normally have some amount of mechanical advantage so that you aren't lifting the full weight. I would imagine that even if Pat "lifted" 2000 lbs, it was just that there were 2000lbs of weight on the machine, but he wasn't exerting 2000lbs of pressure on the bottom of his feet.

    So I'd agree with Jack, that how Pat lifted the 2000 lbs wouldn't be acceptable for any sort of weight lifting competition (quite different from body building competitions), and probably wouldn't be accepted by the guiness book of world records either.

  4. Uh, maybe I wasn't clear. The CBN site and press releases have been reworded to qualify exactly how he did it, verifying what you guys are saying now and what everyone guessed when last I wrote about this a few weeks ago. Check out the links in the post for more info.

  5. I still say even this "who pushed it up one rep and let it go back down again." is a lie. In every weight lifting organization and from every trainer, a rep requires full range of motion. Which in the context of an inclined leg press means going from your legs straight to your knees bent less than 90 degrees, and back to straight. If you never go past that 90 degree mark the amount of weight you can push is dramatically higher.

  6. An inclinded press machine isn't impressive at all. I want to see him free bar SQUAT 2000lbs, and not just one rep, but a full set of 10-12. THAT would be impressive!! Until then, he's just a chump, and even more so sense the trainers lowered it for him then let him "lift" it.

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