Now, gym etiquette has been erking me since my first workout in a public gym here in San Diego. During that workout, I found myself surround by guys with sleeves cut so small that their nipples were hanging out, 25# plates on barbells at bicep curl level in the squat rack, and 45's and 25's left on benches (maybe so people can see how strong they aren't...but I digress).
Within the past 2 weeks I have seen some of the worst displays of gym etiquette of my entire life! The first occurred last week while I was completing deadlifts. Picture this scenerio, guy with chalky hands, moving decent weight with headphones in, having to stop what hes doing because the young fellow next to him decides to do this...3 sets of what looked like a standing overhead press with a 40 lb barbell immediately followed by a "drop set" with a 30lb barball. Now to most it doesnt sound like a big deal, however, after each set of 10-12 greuling loud reps the barbells were dropped from the top of his extended arms all the way down to the ground. What are you thinking!? First off, this puts yourself in danger of the bouncing weight, puts the person in standing next to you in harms way of a flying barbell, and you are destroying the barbell! If you feel like being loud and throwing weight join one of the 60 crossfit gym in san diego!
The second poor showing of gym etiquette came in the form of five guys, all sporting their fraternity t shirts cut so small their nipple are hanging out. These five men were having bonding while yelling and screaming through their 5 sets of 10 dead lifts with 185 lbs. It was clear they had been there for a while since there were a few of every plate from 2.5 to 45 lbs surrounding them. Now while watching this showing I was hoping one of the 5 of them would have enough smarts to put some of if not all the weights away, boooy way I wrong. Not only was every plate left on the ground, but they slammed the barbell down with weights still on and walked away just letting it roll wherever gravity took it. At that moment I took it upon myself to save the back of the small girl watching the gym all alone, and put the weights back. Again, no intelligence was used here. if each of the five guys deadlifting would have put away 3 plates, maybe curled them up to get a pump if that helps, it would have been clean, and nothing but the headache would be left of where they were yelling during their hour of team deadlifting.
Now I know we all have our own example of hilarious stories like these, some probably worse! You're all probably thinking this whole blog is just just rip on these individuals, but it isn't. This is to ask those of us who respect gyms to at times go out of the way to clean up after someone else's weightroom mess. It will make your gym look much more professional, and make it more enjoyable to others around you. Thinking back to when I first started to lift I was afraid to walk around a gym, I always hoped the I would have to search or ask for a weight, just so I could avoid interactions with what I considered monsters at the time!
Here are 3 of what I consider the most important guidelines to follow.
1. Spray down benches after you use them! It doesn't take much, just spray, wipe, walk away. No one wants to role in someone elses sweat or whatever might be in there. A Staph infection is no joke, please keep it to yourself!
2. Put dumbbells, barbells, and plates back where they belong, consider it as part of the workout. This will make the gym look cleaner, more accessible, decreases the chances of someone tripping or banging into a barbell, dumbbell, or weight, and I really dont think people like playing where's waldo with a 15lb dumbbell!
3. Quite down! Unless your moving a lot of weight there in no reason to drop weights, or yell. I like to tell my athletes and clients to act like they've done it before, even if they haven't.
I hope you guys find this resourceful! Take it with you to your next workout, maybe you'll start a gym etiquette revolution!