Posts Tagged ‘gym’

Gym Etiquette (or Common Sense)

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Gyms can be busy places and there are generally hundreds (sometimes thousands) of people passing through the doors every day. So whilst it might be nice to feel that you are paying to be there so you can treat the facility however you like, it’s a bit selfish not to pay respect to the other people training around you.

Try to keep some blood for the brain! – When you are pushing hard it is likely that you are not thinking straight, but consider your set only finished when the weights are back on the rack or the bar stripped and the plates put away. And put them back where you got them (assuming they were in the right place to start with).

I must spend at least an hour each day just putting the plates on the plate tree back in a usable order. It’s not a difficult thing to do. Just group the 5kg plates on the same peg, the 10kg plates together, the 15kg plates back to back, you get the idea!

It seems that every day I walk into the gym and find the plates mixed up in the most bizarre order with one peg having a 1.25kg plate, with a 10kg plate in front of it, then two 15kg plates and 3 20kgs on the outside. So if you need that 1.25kg plate, you have to remove 100kg worth to get to it. If I’m honest I’d rather the plates were just left lying on the floor somewhere as, at least I could get to the one I’m looking for quickly.

Plus, the next person in might struggle to lift 20kg and will end up injured just trying to get to that small plate at the back.

The gym I use even has signage telling you which plates go where on the side of the Smith Machine and yet every day there will be 20kg plates put on the 10kg peg.

Just 2 seconds of thought for the next person and everyone’s experience and training flow would be so much better.

If you can’t put it down, don’t pick it up

I’ll keep this simple, dropping the 50kg dumbbells on the floor at the end of your set doesn’t make you the man, it makes you a prat!

No one is impressed! All it makes people round you think is, either you are a complete moron and you are annoying them or you are not as strong as you make out to be as you can’t even control those weights back to the floor.

If you drop one now and then because you are at complete failure and have given your all, then ok. But, if you are doing it every set, you are obviously not at complete failure or you wouldn’t be lifting the same weight again for another set. So if you are dropping the weights every set then go get a lighter set and learn to finish your set by putting the weights down under control and then lifting them back to the rack where they belong.

Remember, development in the gym is about doing the maximum work that you can fully recover from. So if you are training every set to a level where you are no longer in control, you have long passed your body’s training capacity and whilst you might feel ‘pumped’ at the time, your capacity to continue to work at your maximum level will be gone and your ability to recover and grow will be greatly diminished.

Stay in control and make gains not noise!

You are not at the Olympics!

If you are using chalk to improve your grip, so long as the weight justifies it, by all means go ahead (assuming your facility allows it) but don’t splat it all over the floor and every piece of equipment you use and then fail to wipe it down when you are finished. Other people have to use this stuff after you, so leave it in the condition you found it.

Be aware of your surroundings!

When you are about to start your set, check where you are setting up. If you are moving to the middle of the floor to deadlift, make sure you are not setting up right in the line of someone who is already doing waking lunges right through that area. Watch you are not about to clean & press right in the eye-line of the person behind you who is using the mirror to check their posture and form on a new movement.

If you are resting you are not using equipment!

So often I see people come in to do ‘Strength Training’ and despite the fact they are benching an almighty 70kg!!! They do their set of 3 and then take 5 or even 10mins rest between sets. But if someone comes and asks how long they will be or if they are still using the bench etc. The answer is “yeah, I’ve got 6 more sets to go”. If you are resting for that long there is plenty of time for you to strip the bar and let someone set in with you.

Also, if you are talking on your mobile, you are not using the equipment.

On a similar note, if the gym is full, it is not the time to come in and set up a 10 station weights circuit. If your gym only has one set of each weight, your circuit with all dumbbells from 10kg to 20kg and 3 barbells with various weights is not only taking up space that could probably be used by 5 people, but it is possibly stopping several people from training altogether as you have taken every weight in their training range.

If you must do a circuit either try to use bodyweight exercises, build it to incorporate one or two pieces of equipment in a variety of ways, or do it on a day when the gym isn’t so busy.

Just because that is what you programmed for that day is no reason to mess up the training of half your fellow members.

Very recently I was training myself and 3 lads came in to use the gym. For their first ‘circuit’ they were using 16 sets of dumbbells, 4 benches, a dipping belt 3 plates and the dipping bars. Fortunately the gym wasn’t too busy at that time, but it meant the only set of dumbbells available between 7kg and 25kg were the 20kg set. Meaning that there were no options for anyone training in the 10-20kg range.

Think before you act

How you use equipment can be pretty obvious for the most part, but often times a bit of improvisation is necessary to hit the right muscle groups.

A common one for this is to do a low row using a low pulley whilst sitting on the floor and using something to wedge your feet against either a step or a set of dumbbells to give leverage and distance from the stack. However, the Reebok Step in our gym has been carved to pieces from it being put the right way up (which is wrong for this movement) and then dragging the cable across it like a saw.

I even brought in my own step with a sign on it saying it was not for general members use and came in the next day to find 2 score marks had already been added (suffice to say I now keep it at home until needed). I’ve also had a member punch the core out of my foam roller because he ‘didn’t know what it was for’.

Just because you pay a membership fee, doesn’t give you the right to destroy the equipment at will.

A little thought goes a long way.

None of these points are revolutionary and none of them should seem new or strange. It is just common courtesy. If you decided to rent out your spare room, would you expect your tenant to rearrange all your CDs & books to make them difficult to access? Would you be happy if they threw talcum powder all over your furniture and carpet and just left it for you to clean?

I do realise that if you have read this far you are probably not responsible for any of these things. But perhaps you are just as frustrated with some of them and it least it is good to know that others share your pain.

If you have any of your own pet peeves, feel free to add them below and maybe, through increased awareness, we can start to limit the number of instances that occur and make our training environments a little more pleasant, focused and efficient.

Either that or we can dig out the pitch forks and start a mob!