One of the main reasons why i get up so early in the morning to go to the gym, is because the weight room is not over crowded at 6:30am. There are usually only 3 or 4 people in the weight room at this time, and that's how i like it. This way, i get to go in, do my work out quickly with minimal interference and be out of there. Secondly, i realized that here in Malaysia, a lot of people are unfamiliar with what i like to call weight room ethics. These are just simple unwritten rules that everyone should know when stepping into a weight room. Now i know these are unwritten rules and not legally binding. But at the same time, i think following these rules (if you want to call it that) is just plain courtesy to the others. But sadly not many people are aware of this and don't follow it and it really irks me sometimes. So here are some of the things that should be followed when you are in a weight room.
1) Re-Racking your weights
If you are done with the weights you are using, please put them back. The reason for this is, 1) it keeps the weight room looking neat and not to mention safer so no one trips on your dumbbell 2) it lets people know that you are done with it. Just this morning i saw a guy jump from the decline bench press, to the incline bench press and then the bench press. As he went a long, he just left the weights there and moved on. Come on buddy... you can recycle the weights. Meaning that you can transfer the weights you were using on your decline for your incline and so on. This is one method of clearing of the weights while re-racking your new bench. It takes the same amount of effort and time as pulling new weights from weight rack. So please... the next time you are done with something, put it back. I have seen incidences where i walk into the weight room at 6:30 am (i am the first use of the weight room for that day) and i see all the dumbbells scattered all over the floor and all over the weight room. It makes it difficult to walk around and a chore to find the dumbbell you are looking for. Situations like these should not be happening
2) Sharing your bench
Now it is OK to share your bench with someone else between sets. After all, you are not doing 3 sets of bench press back to back without any rest. So while you are resting, whats wrong with sharing it someone else. I usually get 2 responses when i walk up to someone and say "Hey buddy, you mind if i work in with you?". 1) some of them just say OK and then take everything and run away. This has happened to me many times. I am not kidding. 2) OH i still got 5 more sets. YES, i know you have 5 more sets, but can i jump in for a few sets between your sets. I don't understand why people just can't share it. What irks me the most, is he tells you he has 5 more sets and then he is busy chatting with his friend who is hogging the incline bench press. Jeez dude... if you want to chat, why don't you let someone else use it while you are chatting. You get this a lot when you go in the evenings when the gym is crowded. I have experienced this so many times when i attempted going to the gym in the evening after work. This is one of my main motivation factors to stay away from overcrowded weight rooms in Malaysia. When i was in the States, it was a general understanding that people jump in between sets. In fact, that's how i made so many friends. It just makes everything better. Plus, you now have a spot.
3) PT's can't share equipment with normal folk.
Personally, this has never happened to me. The PTs that train their clients in the morning are really cool and i have loads of respect for them. They usually ask me if they can share the bench with me and similarly i have also asked them if i could jump in for sets while their client is resting between sets and they are OK with it. But i know friends who have experienced snobbish PTs who won't share and worst still, being shoo-ed away by the PT, because they want to use the bench you are using. Well they don't literally shoo you away with words, but they ask you in a nasty way and then just stand about and look at you hoping to intimidate you. This should not be happening. As a PT, you should not be setting the wrong example in the weight room. Or maybe PTs are resorting to this because of reason number 2. Hmmm.... makes me wonder.
4) Don't stand in fron of the mirror and block someone else
If a guy is using the power rack to do squats, please don't stand right in front of him and do bicep curls and block the mirror. This is just plain rude. Whenever you are doing an exercise, take a look and see if someone else is using the mirror first. If there is someone else behind is using the mirror, find another spot to do it. Don't plant yourself right in front and block that person. Its just rude. This has happened to me enough times and i really feel disgusted with this.
5) Spotting someone correctly
Maybe i should write a post on how to spot someone properly, because generally, most people don't know how to spot properly. Over and over again, i have seen one person doing bench press, while his spotter is doing bicep curls at the same time. Group workout???? When you spot someone, you are not supposed to lift as much weight as you can so that the other person doesn't have to do much. I understand when you are helping someone move houses, you would like to help as much as you can, but when it comes to lifting weights, its not the same.
You are supposed to stand by just in case of an emergency and offer minimal help to get them through their sticking point. That's it. Please don't attempt to do bicep curls while i am doing my bench press. When you are spotting someone, ask them how many reps they are going for and ask them how many reps they think they can get on their own. This way you have a better picture of how much help to offer and when to offer it. If i am aiming for 8 reps and say i can do 6 on my own, try not to touch the bar before 6 reps... unless i really get stuck, then yes, do jump in. But otherwise, please don't start your bicep curls from the first rep.
So here are just some weight room ethics which is at the top of my list. What about you guys? Have you experienced any other "irk-ing" scenarios that you wish to share? Or did i miss out any other weight room ethics worth sharing. Do share your thoughts and as usual, look forward to hearing your comments.