How to Tell If You’re Jerking Off at the Gym

I love going to a not-so-popular gym during off-peak hours. I’ll be standing in a squat rack for the entire workout, and no one cares about it. But since squat rack work is a classic snatch, it got me thinking: Maybe I’m a pusher at my local gym.

All of us are probably idiots in the eyes of others. Context matters too: I can still sleep at night because I only use the squat rack when there is no one else in the gym. But just in case, I’ve put together a list of the jerks that people seem to complain about the most, and what to do if you turn out to be an idiot.

You leave the dumbbells on the bar and walk away

Your excuse : someone else will just gain weight again.

Reality : A lot of people in the gym are n’t going to warm up to 135 pounds, okay? Especially small people who are new to weight lifting or people who like to start their workouts lightly. There are many people who have trouble pulling even a 45-pound plate off a barbell because they only intend to press an empty barbell, or maybe a barbell plus a couple of small plates. We all had to start somewhere.

There is another problem: when you empty the bar and walk away, it becomes clear that you have finished your workout. But if you leave while the bar is loaded, people will think you are resting a little and come back right away. Please unload your bar to clearly indicate that the station is free.

You don’t wipe sweat from things

Your excuse : no one cares. I don’t sweat that much. The napkins are too far away.

Reality : people notice. They care. Maybe not all, but enough that whenever I ask about the biggest snatch moves in the gym, this one often tops the list. Just grab some darned napkins, or at least put on a towel.

You play your music out loud

Your excuse : it’s good music!

Reality : This is literally what headphones are made for. You can listen to your music, other people can listen to theirs. Your gym is probably already playing music through a loudspeaker, so your neighbors definitely don’t want to hear a band battle from multiple metal loudspeakers.

If the problem is with the headphone cords, connect to a wireless network or run the cord under your shirt. You can figure it out. I believe in you.

Cutting equipment

Your excuse : I’m not done yet

Reality : Okay, but people are still waiting . If you need to do multiple sets on the same equipment, at least look around from time to time and be aware of who is optimistically hiding around. Offer them a job.

If you are doing a pattern workout where you use multiple elements in quick succession, do not expect to apply for everything throughout your workout. Some circuits are simply not suitable for use in a busy commercial gym. And if you’re at the gym with a friend, remember what you’re sitting on (or blocking access) as you chat between sets.


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