Gym Etiquette
By Ron Stone

Walk into any gym and you will find them - the clueless beginners. They think they will be competition ready in a month. (Not gonna happen guys). There are big spurts of them at various times of the year - just after New Year's Eve, just before Spring Break, just before summer, etc. I'm not saying that every beginner is annoying - I'm just talking about the clueless ones.

I thought it was about time somebody gave these guys a clue. So here you go guys, some rules to follow at the gym. It will make your lives much easier.

When I'm working out - I'm trying to concentrate. I don't need somebody coming up to me with, "Is anybody using that bench?" or whatever. It can wait until my set is done. I usually ignore them and they must think I didn't hear it the first time because they repeat the question. When I ignore them again, they get offended. I don't care. I'm not the one being rude. Get a clue guys. And another thing, I'm at the gym to make gains - not friends. I don't want to stop and chit chat. I will say hi and talk for a few seconds but that's it. If you are there to socialize, maybe you are in the wrong place. Go to the bar down the street.

If you are strong enough to load up your equipment with all those weights, you are strong enough to unload it as well. Put your weights away for crying out loud. Don't be so lazy. Also, put the weights away correctly - don't throw a 45 lb plate on the top of the rack over a 10 lb weight. I hate that. The 45s go on the bottom on one side and the 35s go on the other side of the rack on the bottom. Then the 25s and 10s belong on the pins above those, and the 5s and 2 1/2s above them. Its not that hard. Then there are the dumbbells - they have numbers - just match them up to the numbers on the dumbbell rack. So many people leave them laying around on the floor or just throw them back in any open spot.

An easy way to spot a beginner is over at the dumbbells, doing an incline press or shoulder press. At the top of the rep, they smack the weights together. There is absolutely no need to do this. When the weights are banged together like that, the metal chips and can fall into your eyes. Not a fun thing to remove. But more important, it's really distracting when I am trying to do my set and all I can hear is a "Clang Clang Clang" of the guy doing his set next to me.

If you are using a machine or bench, and you are sweating on it, wipe it off when you are done. I hate coming to a bench holding a puddle of some other guys sweat. Also - if you sweat a lot and are giving a spot (bench press for example), wipe your sweat off before the set. I have had sweat fall in my face during sets and it sucks.

Here's a good one. If you see somebody struggling with the weight (especially on bench press), go over and spot them. I have had days when I just didn't have my usual strength and I was struggling with a bench press. Some jerk was standing right behind me - literally about 3 paces away - and just watched me. He never offered to help spot me. You can bet that I will NEVER help him out either. If you do end up spotting someone, just guide them past the sticking point, don't do the set for them. I have had people spot me that just grab the weight away from me and throw it back on the rack. I'm not going to get anywhere that way.

This happens too often. I am alone at the gym and go over to the pec dec. Some guy is also alone and using it. I'll ask "Do you have many sets left?" When I get the reply "Yes, I just started" and he turns away and does his set, I want to kick his ass. The correct response would be "Yes, I just started, BUT YOU CAN WORK IN IF YOU WANT." I could see if there was already a group on the machine, or even if I was with a group wanting to use it. But 2 people sharing a machine is fine. YOU DON'T OWN THE EQUIPMENT GUYS.

Don't walk through the gym in a daze. I have had guys walk into me or my weights during sets. This can be dangerous - somebody is going to get hurt. It also doesn't help the attitude of the person doing the set.

So there you go. I hope this helps. For those of you that have a clue and have to deal with the others, don't worry - almost all of them will be gone from the gym in 2 weeks tops.


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