Today, as any other workout, we entered the gym and started performing our workout. Within 10 minutes a reasonably sized guy walked over to us to try and teach us something about lifting. After first informing us that he had been watching us train for 6 weeks (which is a little creepy if we’re honest), he let us know that we hadn’t got any stronger. Obviously a “natural lifter” he then proceeded to give us a short lecture on what we should be doing in the gym.
His lecture basically followed these main points:
- There is no point having a long rest when using a heavy weight.
- Military Press should never be performed without a belt.
- You should always be chasing the “Pump”.
- In order to get stronger you should lift lighter weight for more reps.
These were his opinions. These are our facts.
- Unless somebody is taking steroids or incredibly new to lifting, you should be having long rest periods (3-5 minutes) when lifting a heavy weight so that your body has time to recover from the last set. There is no point taking a 60 second rest and failing the set.
- A belt may be advisable (depending on form and back strength) when using very heavy weight (90kg+) otherwise it is perfectly fine without. Again, just watch your form.
- The “Pump” will do very little to add mass to your frame. When trying to get strong, this is a silly thing to aim for.
- This goes against every scientific journal ever written. Just plain wrong. This will help you get better at lifting a weight 8-12 times, but won’t increase your overall strength.
- If a somebody comes up to you and tells you this. Direct them to this website.
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Something that a lot of people wonder about but never seem to ask is the question, “What is proper gym etiquette?” You may not have thought that exact phrase, but I guarantee every guy (or girl) has had the question cross their mind. You see a guy curling in the squat rack when you’re wanting to squat. Do you ask him to move or wait around? Read on to see how you should tackle this sort of situation.
What not to do
If you have been training for less than 2 years, do not try and correct somebody on their form. This even applies if they are performing the lift incorrectly. A key reason for this is that you probably haven’t yet mastered the form yourself, and you certainly aren’t going to be able to teach somebody else how to do it.
Do not spend half of your time chatting with the mates you brought with you. Chances are you’re hogging some equipment that somebody wants to use whilst not making any actual gains yourself. The gym isn’t for talking; the changing room is.
Similar to the above point, do not spend 5 minutes scrolling through Facebook whilst “using” the dumbbells that are at your feet. It stops other people using them and you might as well not be at the gym. Go hard or go home.
If you’re doing some heavy sets of bench and taking 5 minutes rest between sets, don’t tell the guy who is wanting to use the bench that he has to wait until you’ve finished with it. You can both use it.
Do not spend all of your rest period posing in the mirror: especially if you have only been lifting for a few months. It looks silly. (We’ll let you look a little though.)
What you should do
If you have been training for a couple of years and see somebody who looks new to the gym, feel free to help them out. They might not know how to perform any exercises or what they should be training.
Put your weights back. We can forgive you for leaving 60kg on the barbell after squats, but leaving 4 sets of dumbbells scattered around the weights area isn’t fair on other people.
Say hi to people you frequently see in the gym. Even the intimidating guys usually turn out to be nice. Just make sure that you still get on with your training, they’ll understand.
If you need a piece of equipment and somebody is using it, feel free to ask if you can jump in. Nine times out of ten they will say yes.
If you need some assistance with your form whilst in the gym, just ask one of the personal trainers or gym instructors. It’s not going to cost you anything and they should be able to help you.
Enjoy yourself! It’s what lifting is all about.
So next time you head to the gym you have no more excuses for bad gym etiquette. Who knows, you might just meet your new lifting partner.
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** We’d also love to hear any stories you have of bad gym etiquette!