Monday, April 30, 2012

Gym Pet Peeves

I notice a lot of things in the gym that make me wonder what the heck people are doing, how they are not injuring themselves, and if they really expect to get fit with poor exercise choices.  Sometimes I think that we as a society have become clueless about physical culture.  Then I see a few people who look like they are training smart, and my faith in humanity is restored.  On the other hand, there are still those irritating things in the gym that annoy me.  Here are a few of them:
  • Stupid [mis]use of equipment.  You've seen it before.  You may even have been guilty of it before.  I'll admit, I've done some of stupid things in the gym before.  Stupid equipment use is forgivable once you've educated the offending party, but it still annoys me every time I got to the gym because it's so prevalent.  What am I talking about?  It's things like:
    • Curls in the squat rack.  Do your curls somewhere else.  It's far more important that I have some safety precautions when I'm loading up a heavy bar on my shoulders for squats than it is for Mr. Must-Admire-My-Biceps to do 65lb vanity curls (which he apparently is too weak to just set down on the floor when he's done but must instead drop the weight loudly on the rack while grunting).  I got so frustrated by this phenomena, I started just grabbing the Olympic bar and bumper plates and cleaning the weight off the floor to do front squats.  That way I wouldn't need to wait an eternity for a squat rack.
    • Asinine exercises on the Olympic lifting platform.  Lo and behold jackasses are out to thwart me in my attempt to get my squats done without a rack.  I sometimes have to wait for the Olympic platform because someone is doing concentration curls, dumbbell bench press, or some other equally asinine exercise better done elsewhere.
    • Using an Olympic lifting bar for bench press.  After waiting for the Olympic platform, I often have to track down the Olympic lifting bar (with the smooth rotating sleeves) because it's usually on a bench press.  There is no advantage to benching with the Oly bar since the free rotation of the weight destabilizes your wrists with pressing movements, making it more likely that you'll lose control of the bar.  Brilliant use of the Oly bar.
    • Curls and upright rows with kettlebells.  Really?  You need a kettlebell for those exercises? There's absolutely nothing else in the gym better suited to those exercises?  I mean, don't mind me while I change my swing and snatch workout to something different because you need the kettlebells for your dumbbell workout.  And please, feel free to do those exercises on the Olympic platform.  I didn't need that either.
    • Bumper plates as platforms.  Yes, I really have seen this, and on more than one occasion.  Some people apparently think that the bumper plates are the perfect tool for sticking under their heels to do squats, for adjusting their height for a lift, and even box squats.  They couldn't just use regular weights which are all over the gym, those step class platforms, or even the friggin' plyo boxes.  They must specifically grab the rubber bumper plates because there are only a few of them, so they must be special and perfectly suited for use for rack pulls, elevated heel squats and box squats.
  • Not putting weights back.  Some people seem to think that the gym is there for their private use.  They take 12 dumbbells for their curl and shoulder flye marathon, and never put the weights back.  Or they load up barbells with weights and never take the weights off.  That second inconsiderate act is sometimes mitigated by the fact that their max weight is around what I planned on warming up with.  The truly strong lifters have generally (though not always) learned enough etiquette that I don't have to put away all their weights before I can start my workout.
  • Not putting other equipment back.  This actually doesn't happen as often as the other ones since most people either head straight for the cardio machines or lift weights.  But every so often, I go looking for a foam roller, Swiss ball, etc. and I can't find it.  Why?  Because someone took it out on to the main gym floor somewhere and just left it there.  Apparently the lazy slobs think their mothers work there and will pick up after them.
There are other things that annoy me, but don't directly affect me.  These things I feel annoyed for others on their behalf.
  • Clueless trainers.  If I walk into a gym and feel like I've spent a lot more time getting educated on exercise and fitness than the trainers, my respect for the gym and the trainers takes a plunge.  I'm not certified to train clients.  Trainers are, and they are supposed to be paid professionals.  I only read about fitness for fun in my limited free time and didn't get an education about how to train people.  If I know more than the trainers, that doesn't reflect highly on their competence.
  • Weak trainers.  If a trainer doesn't have baseline level of fitness, I find it hard to take him or her seriously.  Sure, I'll accept that a trainer doesn't have to look like a shredded beast.  But let me give you a few examples.  I've run into a young male trainer who could not do a single pull up.  That's inexcusable.  Another instance, I observed a trainer practicing Turkish getups and later teaching them to a client.  That would be a positive in most situations, except for the fact that he was butchering the form and struggling with a 10 lb dumbbell.  If a supposedly fit male trainer cannot just power 10 lbs off the floor (even with no clue about proper form), that's pretty weak.  I'm pretty sure that even my 100 lb mother can get 10 lbs off the floor from a supine lying position.

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