Gym Etiquette

Yesterday, I arrived at the gym to find it a bit busier than normal.  Still, it seemed not crowded enough to really slow down my routine, so I proceeded.  I headed over to the squat racks and found that both were occupied, which was also unusual.  However, I initially had no problem waiting because I’m hugely in favor of anyone who wants to do squats.  Additionally, a delay prior to starting my routine is far more desirable to a delay once I’ve already begun because of the “activity window” that closes quite quickly, though this window is a topic for its own post.  However, my patience disappeared nearly instantly, as what I saw next horrified me.

There are only two squat racks at my gym.  One younger guy was mid-set when I got there, so I tried not to hover directly behind him or distract him.  Over on the other rack, an older gentleman had the bar loaded with 5 lb plates on each side (55 lbs total for all of you mathematicians).  Now, this is quite a light weight for squats, but as a hardgainer I am extremely sensitive to working with light weights (and the associated condescending looks from the meat heads) and I made no prejudgements.  Everyone progresses at their own rate or is overcoming an injury or is even working against genetics.  But I would never mock someone for doing a light weight.

Since the bar was on the lowest part of the rack, I assumed he might be doing bent over barbell rows or he might even be deadlifting.  Any major muscle movement would be ok with me, as that is what the squat racks are meant to accommodate.  But, when the man began his set, I instantly lost any patience or sympathy for him.  He was curling.  To make matters worse, he was thrusting his hips forward with terrible form and essentially doing lower-back curls.  Great.

There are several issues going on here, but I’ll just touch on the biggest one: he was curling in the squat rack.  There are plenty of other places open to do this activity, which was especially annoying because there are no other places to squat.  He was taking up valuable space that could have been otherwise used while he did the same horribly-executed exercise somewhere else.  Do not ever curl in the squat rack; it’s a good way to get everyone to hate you.  The cherry on top?  He left the plates loaded when he left.

Now, based on the thoughts I had, I came up with a set of rules that I think everyone should probably read before entering the gym:

  1. Do not curl in the squat racks
  2. Rack your weight
  3. Don’t take up several pieces of equipment at one time unless the gym is relatively empty (nothing better than someone doing a crossfit circuit in the middle of a crowded gym)
  4. Do not do ab exercises on the bench press

Other than that, I think I can deal with almost everything else.  Add any gym etiquette rules I missed in the comments.

When the guy eventually left, I was pretty furious, but I attempted to channel my rage for the squats.  I put Converge – Homewrecker on and had a great workout.

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