Lifting etiquette at campus gyms

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“How much you puttin’ up on bench?”

Don’t be the phe asking this question.

Whenever everyone is trying to go to the Nelson to squeeze in a solid hour of pumping, you’ll always spot your quintessential gym rats. Some may sport the look with their nipple-width stringer tank tops while others may be flaunting their tats. Regardless, here’s BlogDailyHerald’s guide to gym etiquette for a more pleasant gym experience.

  1. Don’t interrupt someone mid-set. One time, my good pal Chase wouldn’t shut up about how Marshawn Lynch should’ve run the ball in the middle of our golf game. I would have been more than glad to talk about the Seahawks’ potential back-to-back Super Bowl rings any other time, but not when I was in the zone emulating the not-so-great Tiger Woods. The same applies to you when you see someone you may or may not recognize mid-set. Don’t ask that kid you vaguely know from your econ lecture if he did the homework set yet when he’s pulling more than twice his bodyweight on deadlifts. Don’t be Chase (sorry, Chase).
  2. Don’t over-reserve equipment. People go to the gym to exercise, not to be told that all of the equipment they need will be “free in a couple of minutes.” Contrary to popular belief, hoarding dumbbells, barbells, and benches doesn’t make you bigger. It makes you silently hated. When you and another person both need a piece of equipment, offer that you two work in with each other. When one person is lifting, the other should be resting, and vice versa. If you’re super-setting, then fine: reserve the needed equipment so that you can quickly move in between exercises. However, if you’re not using the squat rack, don’t leave your belongings on it ‘til kingdom come.
  3. Offer to return a spot after receiving one. Imagine stepping aside and holding the door open for a stranger. Then, imagine having said stranger close the door before you yourself can walk through. That’s essentially the equivalent of not giving a spot back after asking and receiving one. Following that last rep on the bench and thanking your spotter, kindly ask if they need any spotting done for their lifts. If so, get your tooshie over there and help them. If not, thank them one more time and get back to pumping iron, champ.
  4. Only use weights you can re-rack. I know, decline pressing those 50-pound dumbbells looks more intimidating than doing so with 25-pound ones, but it becomes an issue when you can’t even put those same 50-pound dumbbells back onto the rack. People will have to awkwardly shuffle past you as you struggle with weights you simply can’t re-rack. If you want bigger arms from dumbbell exercises, increasing the weight of your exercises is one route. However, increasing the number of repetitions first and then gradually increasing weight with fewer repetitions will be the safer and more effective alternative.
  5. Ask, don’t tell. Brown Recreation is great in that it offers personal training. You can choose from a variety of programs either in one-on-one settings or in groups. Unless you’re a certified personal trainer in one of these programs, don’t go around instructing people that they should be seated dumbbell curling at 85 degrees instead of 90 degrees for maximum muscle growth. Firstly, people will not listen to you. Secondly, people will throw shade at you. If you genuinely think someone could improve their form on a lift, wait until they are done and then ask if they would like some of your groundbreaking advice.

There it is. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Contribute to the environment in the weight room that you want to be a part of, and I promise you’ll lift more than you did yesterday.

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1 Comment

  1. confused

    is this serious? i don’t understand why were being lectured on gym etiquette…. you could lecture about anything etiquette. this is BDH get it together

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