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Gym Etiquette - 01dragonslayer - 09-11-2023

As a reader of this article, you cannot even deny that you were not excited the second after you read the title. People that understand proper weight training, and even those who are active gym members to just maintain a healthy lifestyle, have their desired workout atmosphere. A clean, non-threatening, helpful community that brings all advocates of fitness together.
Sure, we all want to enjoy our workout environment, and there are ways to successfully make it the best it can be. Further, there are ways that we, as fitness enthusiasts, can grow the fitness population and make it a lifestyle for more people across the world. That, my friends, is what I want to try and expose today.
As the Vice President of the Fitness and Bodybuilding club here at Pitt, I took the time to discuss some of the biggest pet peeves that people have while in the gym. They ranged from exercise mistakes to cleanliness and covered all different aspects of the gym environment. I took the time to choose the ten most discussed and wrote out my thoughts on each.
10. Wasting space.
Before you jump to a conclusion, understand that I do not mean that some gym members are literally a waste of space. What I mean by saying that someone in the gym is wasting space is that he or she is doing NOTHING! Whether it be standing in front of the dumbbells, sitting on a bench, talking to other members or his/her “workout crew” or just lurking around and watching others; they are wasting space! Do these kinds of people really hurt or affect others in the gym? Not really, but they are a poor excuse of a fitness advocate and need to find a new hobby!
9. Wiping down equipment (when necessary.)
Notice that I stated, “When necessary.” Why? I’ll be honest, I do not wipe down every piece of equipment that I use, nor do I expect every bench or machine that I use to have fresh paper towel/disinfectant spray wipe marks on them. However, if someone is getting down to the grueling portion of a set and has the bench or seat coated in sweat, lets out a grunt resulting in some flying saliva or, most importantly, has a small wound that is shedding blood; I would hope and expect that he or she takes the time to clean up!  The gym may not be the most sanitary place on the planet, which is understandable, but in some situations (like the ones that I listed) I think it is absolutely necessary to make an attempt.
8. Re-racking weights.
Contrary to what I believe, coming in 8[sup]th[/sup] for the biggest gym pet peeves was a member’s lack of putting weights back. This means dumbbells, plates and even machines. I cannot tell you the amount of times that I have seen a small, young female gym employee have to come take 45 plates off of a barbell resting on the safety bars of a squat rack from someone shrugging. Not just that, there have been multiple occasions where I cannot seem to find the other 90—only to discover it resting on the opposite side of the gym with nobody in sight. Finally, many may wonder how you can fail to re-rack machine plates. It comes with supersets/working in. If another member asks to work in with me on a machine and fails to return the weight to where I had it (which I make sure I do all the time) then he or she failed to re-rack the weight. It isn’t much of a hassle for me to do it myself, but in my opinion, it is disrespectful.
7. Oversized egos.
I’m sure we could all agree that a gym-ego can cover a range of topics—amount of weight lifted, workout attire, sound and time spent in the mirror. My personal favorite that I would like to note first is straight up ego lifting. This is when a weightlifter takes far too much weight that he or she is simply not ready to handle and uses improper form to appear “big.” I’m sorry, but it does not work that way. Sound can also go along with ego-lifting—9/10 times, a lifter doing what he or she may think is big weight will let out what (I guess?) could be considered an intimidating grunt. This is nothing more than an attempt to be seen. Workout attire can be spoken of in terms of males and females—males, lacking sleeves (but covering their legs, of course) and females, lacking clothes altogether. As a male, I’m not saying that I don’t want to look good in the gym, but I do not want it to seem like I am trying to look bigger than I am. Also, girls, have some respect for yourselves and the other members—cover it up a bit. Finally, the mirror—it is for form checking. Nobody needs to see your front-double bicep or your [lack of] abs.
6. Too much equipment for super-sets/claiming equipment.
From the other side of the gym—“Dude, dude! I’m using that!” What?! This is a situation I catch myself being a part of way too often. If you would like to do a superset, make sure that either A: the two pieces of equipment are near each other, B: there are not many people in the gym or, C: you are ready for someone to jump on one of your pieces of equipment. I do supersets in the gym very frequently, but they are usually using two sets of dumbbells, the same EZ Curl bar or the same cable. If I plan on doing one with two separate machines, you better believe that I am ready for someone to hop on one when I am on the other…and I do not complain; my name was not on it.
5. Poor form.
Alas, improper form in the gym. We all see it—a man pressing before his elbows are even bent, squats that aren’t even close to 90, swinging bicep curls and my personal favorite—the barbell row that requires absolutely no lat activation and has zero range of motion. Poor form in the gym is almost a catch 22 for its viewers. One does not know whether to assist the ill informed lifter or bite their tongue in an attempt to not make an insult. This can kind of be related to #7 on the list—oversized egos, for a lot of ego lifters will use poor form when lifting too much weight. However, for the most part, this is supposed to be directed toward those who are unaware of how to do a lift properly. It is truly upsetting that a caring attempt at providing assistance nowadays is considered insulting, but regardless, using improper form in the gym is a lack of gym etiquette.
4. Cell phone use.
Is there anything worse than being around someone that, instead of doing whatever it is that they should be doing, has their face buried in their phone? To make matters worse, how much more does it suck when that person is using a valuable piece of gym equipment?! Now, I understand that a social life may be very important to people, but if it’s one to two hours that the social life can wait, I think it should be in the gym. I say this not only because it is wrong to let a text message interfere with another gym member’s potential set, but the gym is for exercise! How can someone be getting a good, intense workout in if a cell phone is constantly the priority? Put the phone away and lift some weight.
3. Misuse of equipment.
This is not to be confused with improper form. They are very alike, but a misuse of equipment goes much further than just using bad form. A misuse of equipment, in my opinion, is much more frustrating to see because it takes away the ability of someone who could use it correctly. A good example for this is…that’s right; you guessed it…curls in the squat rack! Let’s not deny the fact that nothing is worse than seeing someone use the SQUAT rack for the accessory movement of all accessory movements. It obviously goes further than that, though—a DB bench as a foot rest for dips, the decline bench for abs and the dual-cables for single cable movements. Pretty much any exercise on a piece of equipment that will inconvenience someone that wants to use it correctly.
2. Not allowing someone to work in.
Believe it or not, the votes between one and two were so close that I actually had them reversed before finishing this piece. I say that because this can be thought of as the biggest gym pet peeve of all. I am almost positive that as a reader of this article, you have had a moment where you asked another person in the gym if jumping on the same piece of equipment while he or she rested would be okay. Expecting a non-threatening, “sure” you receive something along the lines of, “Ahh I’m taking short rest”, “I’m not done” or just a plain-old, blunt, “No, sorry.” Is that not one of the most disrespectful and rude things that someone can do to you? Being members in the same gym, obviously planning on doing the same exercise, one would think that there is a common hobby and similarity but instead, there is apparently a tense conflict of interests.
1. Being the opposite of helpful.
Finally, last, but surely not least, is being the opposite of helpful in the gym. What do I mean by being the opposite of helpful? I may have it strangely worded, but putting the word “judgmental” would be too cliché. Be honest with me here—who doesn’t look at least one person in the gym and instantly arrive at some sort of thought about them? That is being judgmental. When I say being the opposite of helpful, I pretty much tie #7 (ego), #5 (form) and #3 (misuse) together and expose the people related to them all. When someone is clearly a beginner (especially around the New Years Resolution time of year), terrible form or improper use of equipment is seen that could lead to potential injury. Instead of assisting that person in the particular exercise, people (with egos) like to stare, laugh and talk to their friends about how dumb or weak that person is—red flag! Instead, go over to them and try to help. I know I said before that it could be insulting depending on the person, but it is certainly worth a try. It is only going to make you look and feel good, and if that person is rude in response, they are only going to look stupid doing the movement wrong!
Notable Mention:
Wearing gross clothes/not deodorizing.
Continuously talking to someone trying to lift.
Interrupting someone mid-set.
Disrespecting personal life/space.
Treating the gym like a bathroom (picking at skin in mirrors, wiping sweat on walls.)
Fitness is a lifestyle, yes, but it is also one of the biggest communities in the world. Young powerlifters and bodybuilders, middle-aged health enthusiasts and even old-aged try-hards are all in the same environment—the gym. Whether it takes 3 seconds to wipe down the bench or fifteen minutes to show a beginner how to deadlift without going to Snap City, a huge reestablishment of proper gym etiquette needs to take place.

RE: Gym Etiquette - MuscleMonkey - 09-12-2023

Actually, I think the concept of "working in" is totally unknown anymore. I recall using a machine and someone asked how much longer I would be, to which I replied I was on my first set of 5, but they were welcome to work in. They had no clue what I was talking about.