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5 Unspoken Rules of The Gym

By October 16, 2018December 10th, 2018blog, Food for thought

By David Weaver B.S., CSCS, CPT

Everyone knows that gyms have rules. However, there are certain “unwritten rules” of the gym that while not explicitly stated, are very much real and if violated can result in you becoming the gym pariah. The person everyone silently hates and undoubtedly talks about behind their back. While not exhaustive, this list details my top 5 stupid gym habits that all but guarantee you will get on the nerves of everyone in the gyms in Scottsdale.

1.Not Picking up After Yourself

It’s honestly a shame that this needs to be included. In leaving weights and/or equipment out on the floor, you broadcast to the gym that you are not only incredibly lazy but also that you don’t care enough about the safety of others to put things back where they belong. Equipment left out presents a serious safety concern to others in the gym. Failing to put away equipment is disrespectful, dangerous, and just flat out lazy. DO NOT be this person.

2.Giving Unsolicited Exercise Advise

This is most commonly an issue with men approaching women and then without any invitation, proceeding to tell them ways to improve their technique to make the exercise more effective. They are hoping that by demonstrating their expansive knowledge in the areas of exercise physiology and biomechanics, that of course she will be so ensconced with their deep understanding that she will not only change her technique on the spot but give out her number and meet up later to “Netflix and chill”. This is of course not only irritating, but also quite insulting. Unless someone has explicitly asked for advice, it is safe to assume they would rather be left alone.

3.Talking to Someone With Headphones On

While closely related to #2, this is annoying enough to warrant its own spot on the list. Headphones in the gym are not only a method of enjoying your own music, but rather a signal to the rest of the gym that you are not interested in talking. Think of headphones as a proverbial “do not disturb” sign. Your fellow gym-goers will thank you.  

4.Working Out Directly in Front of the Dumbbell Rack

This refers to performing a dumbbell exercise without taking several steps back from the rack first. Common culprits include lateral raises, bent over dumbbell rows, and bicep curls. While I understand the instinct to admire your hard earned bicep pump in the mirror, working out 4.35 inches from the rack makes it impossible for anyone else to grab weights or put them away. Consider the 3 feet in front of the dumbbell rack a “no-mans land” that is to be used only for un-racking and re-racking your weights. I promise, you can still admire your “sweet bicep pump”  at a distance.

5.Shadow Boxing With Dumbbells

Truth be told, this one made the list partly as a joke. It’s not that you’re affecting anyone else by grabbing a couple 5 pound dumbbells and unleashing a Mayweather-like flurry of jabs. It’s that the exercise itself isn’t particularly useful. Put simply, you are matching a horizontal movement with a vertical force vector. In layman’s terms, the dumbbells are being pulled straight down by gravity, yet with this movement you are moving the weights parallel to the ground thus negating the use of resistance at all. This is the literal equivalent of trying to push a wheelbarrow by simply squatting up and down with the handles. So if you’re dead set on replicating Buster Douglas’ 1990 knockout of Mike Tyson, you are obviously free to do so. Just keep in mind that you are not likely to accomplish much.


So there you have it, the top 5 gym faux pas guaranteed to make you simultaneously make a fool of yourself and irritate others hoping to get in a good workout. Avoid these at all costs and you will be welcome at any gym across the country.

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