The 10 Commandments of Gym Use
Thou shalt not worry about what everyone else is doing
Try not to let what other people are doing effect your workout. Aim to arrive at the gym with a plan of what you are going to do (if you are unsure of a plan download one of our free guides here http://jdpfitness.wpengine.com). Don’t start jumping on every machine just because you see everybody else doing it. On that note leave your ego at the door. You don’t need to risk injury just to copy the weights of everybody else.
Thou shalt honour the full range of motion
A squat is only a squat if your upper thighs are parallel to the ground at the bottom, and a pull-up only counts if your chin clears the bar at the top. If you’re not doing full ROM, you’re not going to get the benefits from your workout.
Thou shalt not use thy mobile phone
Obviously it’s fine to use it for timing intervals or rest periods, but turn the ringer off. Chatting when you’re in the gym takes the focus away from your workout and makes it less effective. And taking up a workout station while you’re discussing your social life with your mates is totally unacceptable.
Thou shalt offer to let people work in
When someone politely asks, ‘Excuse me, how many sets do you have left?’, it’s not acceptable to simply grunt ‘Ten’ – you should follow it with ‘…but you can work in if you like’. Allowing someone to share the bit of kit you’re on is common courtesy and the perfect way to meet like minded people at the gym.
Thou shalt wipe up thine own sweat
Sweating is good – even encouraged – but leaving a puddle behind on the incline bench isn’t the best way to endear yourself to fellow gym-goers. Your gym ought to provide sweat towels, or even just paper towels, so you can clean up after yourself. Use them.
Thou shalt not gaze at thine own reflection
A quick glance in the mirror to check out your form is fine. A lingering appraisal of your entire physique – including a cheeky lift of the shirt to check how the six-pack’s coming along – is not. Get a full-length mirror for your house if you’re that bothered.
Thou shalt put thy weights back after use
Nothing marks you out as a gym newbie like pulling all the dumb-bells out of the rack and then leaving them scattered across the floor for other people to trip over, or leaving so much weight on the Olympic bar that smaller gym users can’t move it. Think of putting your weights back tidily as a way of warming down.
Thou shalt watch where thou art going
You’d pay attention to your surroundings on a building site, so why should your attention wander when you’re in another environment with bits of metal moving quite quickly at head height? When you’re around other gym-goers, be aware of what they’re doing – at best you might get a wedgie from an errant deadlift, at worst you’ll be concussed by a wayward power clean.
Thou shalt not curl in the squat rack
Yes, it’s a conveniently marked space with a mirror in front of it. Yes, it’s easier to rest the bar on the uprights than pick it up from the floor at the start of every set. But the squat rack is for squats – or super-heavy bent-over rows – and using it for anything else is like swearing in a church. During a wedding service. Avoid at all costs.
Thou shalt not covet thy fellow gym-goer
Admittedly, seeing members of the opposite sex in Lycra and crop-tops can be difficult to ignore. But unless you’re wearing shades to the gym (you shouldn’t be – that’s the eleventh commandment) staring at girls is still creepy, even when they’re on a treadmill. Besides which, excessive gawping is almost certainly going to distract you from what’s going on around you and cause your rest intervals to take too long.
So there you have it. Try to keep to these and you will ensure a great workout for yourself and a nicer environment for you and your fellow gym rats to enjoy.
Have a great new year and see you in 2016!