When we enter the gym we're all lifters. Regardless of our goals, we're excited to crush our training for the next few hours, but before we do so there are some ground rules.
In any setting we have to learn what is socially acceptable.
Don't yell at the television in Applebee's. Do yell at the television in your local pub when the playoffs are on.
I often joke that every gym member should have to take a gym etiquette class prior to stepping into the weight room...ok so it's not a joke. They really should.
You're now enrolled in Gym Etiquette 101. Please share this advice with people all around the world to make gyms a better place.
1. Unsolicited advice
We all know that guy. That usually not very strong nor in shape guy, yet seems to have the annedote you need to be great.
"You know I see you always squatting low reps, but did you know if you start doing some sets of 20 that will really grow your quads."
I don't care if I see someone deadlifting with a rounded back or squatting down 2 inches, I'm not gonna say anything. It's not my workout. It's not my business.
This goes for everyone - even if you're the strongest/best athlete in your gym. If someone wants your help, they will ask.
2. Respect of space
Most gyms are huge - like 5 possible routes to the destination huge. So maybe walking directly in front of someone attempting a heavy back squat isn't the best path.
It's annoying and can seriously mess with a lifter. This goes for squats, deadlifts, snatch, clean and anything where head positioning and movement can be distracting. It's not so much that things are in your vision, but that things are MOVING in your vision.
You should be focused on your training, but still be cognisant that others are around.
It's simple - you wouldn't want someone to walk in front of you during a big lift, so make an effort not to fuck with others.
The same can be applied with jump roping 6 inches from someone's squat rack or doing dumbbell flyes dangerously close to the next person on a bench. Respect the space!
3. I'm not your coach
I have no problem giving people advice when they ask it (don't forget rule 1), but there is a line between advice and asking for a training consultation.
I'm at the gym for me. It's my training time, not my time to teach you how to lift.
If you want a simple cue to keep your chest up in the front squat, that's cool. If you want me to check out a set and offer advice, still cool.
If you are wanting me to take you through the front squat from the grip setup, breathing, descent speed, rep range, programming, etc. - now's not the time.
I'm sure I speak for many personal trainers, coaches or really anyone who is strong. Yes, just because we know how to do things, doesn't mean we have a responsibility to teach everyone in the world how to train. And don't forget, this is OUR time.
If you want to learn how to do a movement that is great and I'm all for helping people, but know what's appropriate to ask from a gym member and what is means for hiring a coach.
4. I'm here to train
While I'm all up for a great training environment that includes social interaction - I'm still at the gym to train and my focus is on the weights. During the warm-up it's fine to chat about how your day was, what your workout is today and other random bullshitting, but after that first 20 minutes or so it's on to training.
I certainly don't want to be hearing about random shit between my sets. I don't care who is in the top 8 of The Bachelor. I don't care what happened last night on Scandal (ok maybe I do a little) and I don't care that your boss pissed you off today.
Socializing is cool and one of the many reasons why people love training at certain places, but just like asking for advice, know when it's appropriate and when enough is enough.
This is also why it's important to know your surroundings and the people you're training with. If you know someone is having a easy/moderate day there can be more socializing. If you know that they've been training for 12 weeks to test their 1RM, it's best to keep the chatting minimal.
5. Respect the barbell
I'll admit this one is a little far out there. Do not, ever, step over someone's barbell. Sure, they may not care, but they might. And if they care as much as I do they're gonna hate you as a human for at least 3 months. It's cool to walk over your barbell (let it know who's in control), but treat others with respect.
It's the ultimate gym disrespect. It's the equivalent of TKO'ing someone's girlfriend (or boyfriend), spitting on their face and then stepping over their body on the way into the mall. That's what you're doing when you step over someone elses barbell.
Put your damn weights/bars away
Please don't superset with 3+ pieces of equipment, especially if you're gym is limited.
Guys, try not to scare away the females with your pseudo alpha male shenanigans.
You've now passed Gym Etiquette 101