Weight room etiquette
Last Updated: March 17, 2009 2:44 PM
Ed McNeely Body Check
As the off season approaches many young hockey players are heading into the weight room, some for the first time.
The facility rules and code of conduct make the weight room safe for all users and supervisors but it is the unwritten rules that make the experience more enjoyable.
Many of the rules of etiquette in the weight room are based on common sense and good manners.
Pay attention to what you are doing and be aware of those around you. Treat others as you would want to be treated and act in a courteous manner and these rules will be easy to follow:
- Always ask if anyone is using a piece of equipment before moving it or taking the weights off.
- If you need a piece of equipment someone else is using ask if you can work in with them. If they say no you will just have to wait, first come first served.
- Do not stand on a platform when someone else is lifting. Not only is this dangerous to you and the lifter but it is distracting.
- Do not stand directly in someone's line of sight. During lifts like squats, deadlifts, and other weightlifting movements it is important to look straight ahead and keep your eyes focused on a spot in the distance.
If you are working near someone who is doing these lifts try not to stand directly in front of them unless you are at least 10 feet away. If you are closer than this your movement will make it difficult for them to find their focus point and could cause them to use bad technique and injure themselves.
- Use only the space you need. Weightlifting platforms and power racks are intended for lifts like squats, deadlifts, weightlifting movements, and other heavy power activities, they are not a place to do arm curls, sit-ups, etc.
You may have seen some bodybuilder in a magazine placing their bar on a power rack to do arm curls but this behaviour will inevitably annoy people who are waiting for the rack. There are lots of other places where you can do your arm curls and other single joint exercises.
- Wear clean clothes. You may be able to wear the same workout gear for a couple of sessions if you don't sweat too much but you need to change everything at least every third workout. You may not notice the smell but other will.
- Stop the screaming. There is absolutely no need to scream and yell during a training session. If you can't get yourself psyched up to do a lift without screaming you should consider picking up a good sport psychology book to help you with this problem.
Screaming during the lift doesn't help you either, in fact, yelling at the wrong time can actually cause you to expel the air from your lungs too early, destabilizing your trunk and increasing the risk of injury.
This is not to say that you can't make some noise when lifting; as you exhale near the finish of a lift there is bound to be some grunting and noise made but you shouldn't intentionally be yelling and screaming.
- Don't offer unsolicited advice. When you are in a gym doing your workout that is what you are there to do.
While there is a social component to strength training unless you are specifically asked for advice or help do not walk around the gym sharing your expertise with everyone.
While you may find a couple of people who are grateful for your input you will find just as many who are annoyed by this behaviour. In some cases you may offer advice to someone who knows a lot more about training than you do and they will make you look foolish.
If you really want to dispense training advice to people consider it as a career and become a certified personal trainer or strength coach.
- Respect the gym community. There are many different types of gyms, fitness centres where people who are interested in improving their health and fitness train, hardcore body building gyms where posing in the mirrors and loud music are the norm and hardcore lifting gyms where serious lifters go to lift very heavy weights.
Each gym attracts it's own clientele and has it's own code of behaviour.
If you are a serious lifter and find yourself in a health and fitness gym it is up to you to adapt to their standards of conduct not the other way around.
You wouldn't expect to move into a seniors community and have loud wild parties all night long and you shouldn't expect everyone else to change or accept your behaviour if it isn't part of the norm for the gym.