Gym Etiquette? Gym Etiquette?

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Thread: Gym Etiquette?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Default Gym Etiquette?

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    This question is for the entire forum....(Mark your input would be appreciated if you have your 2 cents worth)

    When is it appropriate to intervene when individuals are giving out poor training advice? (If ever?)

    Case in point:
    Individuals at my YMCA are teaching squats to 14-15 year old boys only on the smith machine because "they are easier and you can add more weight" was the exact quote I heard. Another was "You do not need to go below parallel to perform a good squat."

    It makes me cringe to watch these kids be taught unbelievably poor habits. I grew up with the same problem and had to unlearn everything at age 22, which was a humbling experience.

    Any opinion would be appreciated,

    Keenan

  2. #2
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    Neither you nor I nor any other member of this forum is going to solve the problems of the world. YMCAs are famous for harboring fools on the staff. That is the Y's problem, and it is up to them to solve it. Even though you know better, it is not your job to teach anyone anything you have not been asked to teach them, any more than it is my job to teach Hillary Rodham Antichrist about economics until she hires me to do it. Walking up to the staff of a gym and inserting yourself into their business is absolutely wrong, despite the fact that they are fucking up. The client or member has entered a voluntary business relationship with the club and their staff, of which you are not a part. It is up to that member to decide who to hire for advice, and when you get hired you can give it.

    Now, you have also entered into a voluntary business relationship with the YMCA, and maybe it's time to do something about that, because YOUR relationship with the Y is very much your business. If you don't like the way their instruction is being conducted, with good reason, you should say something to the person in charge. If you are sufficiently dissatisfied with the response, then end your membership and find an Actual Gym. But interfering in staff instruction activities -- no matter how stupid, wrong, unprofessional, idiotic, unscientific, ineffective, ugly, and dangerous you think they are -- is not only bad gym etiquette, it's likely to get you in trouble. It would here. Because you might be wrong.

  3. #3
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    Coach I have a related question on etiquette.

    Is it appropriate to intervene if there are unsafe practices going on, and there is no staff in the weight room? For example, there is a group of high school kids who lift at my gym, and they clearly have little understanding of form, and often little regard for safety. I have seen them randomly walk up to heavily weighted bar in the squat rack and pull it out backwards. Or they will not use clips and end up losing weights while doing curls or triceps extensions. As an "older, wiser" guy at the gym, should I say something in these situations?

    If the above situations warrant comment, where do I draw the line? Do I say something to a kid using a thumbless grip for a bench press? Do I talk to a kid who has a very rounded back in a deadlift?

    Thanks for your comments on this.

  4. #4
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    If they are doing unsafe stupid shit, go get the gym owner or management. But no, it is not your place to give free advice in someone else's gym, no matter how badly it needs to be given. You can help if there's a wreck. You can even ask if you could point out something. But you don't walk over and make a correction unbidden.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Here is something that bothers me about this.

    non of the trainers in my gym give a shit about people that are not paying them their hourly fee.

    before Rip's book i was doing way to much weight on my squats, barely going down to 45 degrees. i could have injured myself eventually.

    the same trainer would be teaching squats to people next to me almost every week and he never once tried to tell me i was going to hurt myself proceeding the way i was.

    what gives!! aren't they supposed to know what they are doing and or care about others well being?

    as a side note. I have been seeing people use the Smith Machine to do a Squat that has their feet about 2 feet in front of them. They are squatting like their back is against a wall and they are sliding down it. Is that even a real exercise????

  6. #6
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    No, it's a real Smith Machine exercise, which is not the same thing we do.

  7. #7
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    I have run into this same problem at both of the places I lift. It's a tough one but I try to employ the rules of home ownership.

    Clean up your own backyard.

    Lead by example. Be an absolute technician with your own form. People recognize skill when see it.


    Know your neighbors

    Get to know the trainers on at least a friendly conversational basis. People are not ignorant on purpose (not usually). If you have a relationship with them it's a lot easier to ask them why they teach in a certain way. As a big plus, you may learn from them and they from you. Side benifits ensue, a trainer at my gym lets me keep my kettlebells there.

    Buy a fixer in the best neighborhood you can afford.

    Quit your gym and go lift someplace where people are smarter and stronger than you. It's profoundly unhealthy to be walking around thinking you're the only one who knows shit. Most people don't get better unless pushed. Empty your cup and go someplace where you can learn, not where you feel the need to teach.

  8. #8
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    Thanks Dave. Damn good post.

  9. #9
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    Coach Rip,

    I have a related situation with a different twist. I'm training at my school's weight-room currently... figured since I have to have a certain number of phys-ed credits anyway, might as well use that. However, I'm the one getting the bad advice instead of just witnessing it being given to someone else.

    The school coach has given me some directions which I know to be wrong. When I asked if my form was correct while squatting he said to look up from the bottom of the squat when I was working to maintain neutral head position. I didn't say anything at the time about the head angle, though I did clarify that I am aiming for a full squat depth (hip joint below the knee) when he said I didn't need to go as deep as I was going.

    So I went and bought your posters on the squat and power clean and plan to 'donate' them to my school's weight room as soon as they arrive, which I mentioned to the coach and he seemed to like the idea of getting some stuff on the walls. He seems like a reasonable guy who has just learned a few things incorrectly, but I don't have the credentials to go correcting him.

    Is that just sneaky and passive/agressive, or a decent way to approach it?

  10. #10
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    North Texas
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    starting strength coach development program
    It's sneaky. I'm proud of you. But you fucked up when you asked him for instruction. Never ask a question that you may not be prepared to have answered.

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