Physical Training Mar 2002

Gym Etiquette

by Ken Morgan © 2002 All rights reserved.Believe it or not, like the dojo, gyms have their own etiquette that need to be followed. Perhaps itís not as strictly enforced, and some of the rules may well be unwritten but there is a code of behavior that needs to be maintained. Listed below are some of the ones that have came to mind over the years, but they all come down to one thing. Common courtesy.

1. Put your weights away after use. There is nothing worse than some moron leaving a huge amount of weight on a bar and having some tiny little lady come by and want to use the equipment. It is dangerous and not good for the life of the equipment. Put your weights back were they belong. Iíve hurt my foot when someone left a 10lb weight in with the 45lb plates. When I pulled the 45 off the 10 came down on my foot.

2. Share your equipment. Most of the time when you are working out you will be in-between sets; this is the perfect time for someone else to use the equipment. Let people work in with you!

3. No cell phones on the gym floor. We really donít care to hear about your social life plans.

4. My favorite, clean up after yourself. There is nothing worse than going to use a piece of equipment and finding it covered in sweat. We are human beings not pigs. Hygiene.

5. We are all exercising in close proximity to each other and people sweat, but donít walk into the gym already carrying an offensive odour with you. Wear clean clothing, not the stuff that youíve been wearing everyday for the past week and a half.

6. In addition to number 5, donít walk in covered with perfume or cologne. This is a gym guys.
7. Use the drinking fountain as a drinking fountain not a place to spit or a place to leave your gum. Also when the fountain is lined up, donít fill your two-litre water bottle.

8. Donít drop or bang the weights around. Itís not good for the equipment and itís not good for
our hearing.

9. Donít socialize during your workout. Itís a gym, chat later. That five-minute conversation youíre having with buddy between sets extends your time on that piece of equipment a great deal. Others may be waiting to use it.

10. During the busy times, donít do supersets that require you to use two or three pieces of equipment. Donít monopolize the equipment.

11. Donít offer unsolicited advice. If you see somebody who is doing something wrong be very careful how you approach him and always be pleasant when giving advise.

12. Be attentive. Watch to see who is using what piece of equipment. There is nothing worse than going for a drink of water and having some guy clean your weights off because he didnít know someone was using the equipment.

13. Donít swear or talk too loudly. Manners please.

14. Itís to be expected that people will make some noise pushing out the last couple of reps in an exercise, but donít over do it. Iíve seen people grunt, groan and scream during their warm ups. Guys we are not impressed.

15. Offer to spot people. If you see someone doing a heavy lift and he or she doesnít have a spotter be prepared to assist if they fatigue enough to put themselves in danger. If you are going to spot people learn to do it correctly. Too often people spot too much or not enough. You should help just enough to keep the bar moving, thatís it.

Gym Terminology

  Gyms can be an intimidating place for new people. Just trying to figure out how to use the equipment properly is the biggest challenge to start. Then the etiquette, then nutrition and then what the hell are these guys talking about? Sets? Reps?

Basic Terms and what they mean:
Deuce and a half- 2-½ lb weight.
Nickel- 5 lb weight.
Dime- 10 lb weight.
Quarter- 25 lb weight.
Plate- 45 lb weight. Example, four 45 lb plates on a bar, (total weight 225 lb), would be called two plates, as there are two plates on each side of the bar. Six plates on a bar, (315 lb), would be called three plates. And so on. 
Bar- Generally a standard Olympic bar, weighing 45 lbs.
EZ bar- strangely shaped bar usually used for arm work.
Flat bench- Flat bench.
 Incline bench- A bench that angles upwards, and can be set at various angles.
Preacher bench- A bench that generally has a 90-degree side and a 45-degree side, used mostly for arm curls.
Rep- One full motion of an exercise. For example bringing a bar down and then pushing it back up in the bench press. That would be one rep.
Set- Comprised of reps. For example eight reps may make up one set. 
Gym Rat- Any one of those people who seem to live at the gym, and eat and breath weight training.

16. Donít do stupid lifts. Iíve refused to spot a guy doing a 585lb bench press. The problem was he could only do one rep at 495lbs. There was no way in the world he was going to get 585lbs. 510, maybe. I was not willing to jeopardize my well-being for a moron.

17. Donít walk in front of people using the mirror. Thatís just plain rude. Also if you are using the mirror donít stand 12' away from it during prime time and expect people to keep clear.

18.  Donít stare or hit on attractive people. They are there to work out just like you. Talk to them in the parking lot. On the other hand, if you wear only the tiniest bit of clothing to workout in, and that happens to be skin tight, expect people to look at you.

It all comes down to manners folks. Treat others better then how you would like to be treated.

Physical Training Mar 2002