Looking past the veiny delts, screams of agony and concentrated eyes peeking out from beneath a sweat-covered hoody and you’ll actually find most bodybuilders and bodybuilding gyms have a friendly, welcome all atmosphere.
Those who genuinely embrace a fitness lifestyle would never look down on those who are aspiring to do the same.
The intimidation of bodybuilding gyms is often just a self-conscious, self-inflicted fear for the new or less developed gym goer or aspiring bodybuilder.
That said, there are a few industry-wide, universally frowned upon actions and scenarios you most certainly do not want to find yourself in if you want to continue to enjoy the comradery of the bodybuilder gym setting.
Wannabes and ‘gym bros’ take note and avoid the following bodybuilder gym pitfalls if you want to survive until your next set:
#1: Not Putting The Weights Back
There’s no faster way to irritate a gym full of mass monsters than to show up and disrespect their environment.
Besides, its common courtesy! For the love of God, whether you’re in a bodybuilder gym or a Virgin Active, put your weights and equipment back where you found it. Every weight, every grip, every mat has a home.
Nothing screams, “I don’t give a shit about anyone else in this place” quite like messing it up and just leaving it for someone else to deal with.
Some of these mutants around you likely near enough live at this gym, you wouldn’t go to one of these guy’s homes, mess up their living room and then walk away, would you? No, consider yourself told.
#2: Being Stuck On Your Phone
Nowadays in many gyms, I could swear virtually every day is ‘thumb day’. Every other guy is knocking out serious reps of thumb extensions on their smartphone. Texts, emails, tweets or life story Facebook updates to let the whole world know you’re at the gym.
With the exception of skipping tracks for your headphones, keep your phone in your pocket, if you’re able to tweet your ‘besty’ then you’re able to get on with your set and move on.
Chances are there’s someone patiently waiting for the bench press you’re currently taking up as a seat so you can Snapchat in comfort.
Needless to say, that is not cool and you’ll find yourself moved along with or without your consent after not too long.
Respect the time of those around you, lift your head up from your phones and make sure your thumb workout isn’t preventing someone else from actually get something productive done.
#3: Curling In The Squat Rack
It’s a typical dilemma. Many gyms don’t have more than a couple of squat racks due to the size vs space required.
Unless you’re planning on wimping out and using a smith machine, if you want to do squats, you do it in the rack.
It’s an unwritten rule that squats take preference over any other exercise when it comes to the use of the squat rack. Using it for anything else is usually down to laziness or just straight forward ignorance.
If you’re doing bent-over rows, pick the bar up off the floor for each set, you’re training your back, aren’t you? Same for the military press, unless you’re pressing over 100kg’s you have no excuse to even consider using the squat rack.
And don’t even get us started on people curling in there, I’m not even going to explain why that is wrong. If we had it our way it would be an instant ban offence.
Man up and train legs, otherwise leave the real bodybuilders to it and go back to the recumbent bikes.
#4: You Rest Too Long
How much rest do you need between sets? It depends on your goals.
Typically if you are looking at burning fat then your rest periods will be short, while those looking to build strength will have longer rest periods.
If you are resting too long between sets then your muscles can get cold and stiffen, which can increase the likelihood of injury. I would suggest doing some stretching between sets to stop this from happening.
Also, I would recommend timing your rest intervals so that you can keep them consistent and within the time range for your own needs.
#5: Avoiding The Big Lifts
Are you one of those guys that starts bicep curling as soon as you enter the gym? If you are then you are missing a trick.
While isolation exercises like the bicep curl may have a place in your training routine, I would personally recommend performing the big compound lifts such as the squat, bench press and deadlift beforehand.
These compound lifts work multiple muscle groups so will give you a better workout in a much shorter space of time. They also help release growth hormones and testosterone that will aid your muscle-building process.
I would save the isolation exercises for the end of the workout, for any muscles that are lagging behind.
#6: You Don’t Warm Up
You may think that a couple of minutes on the treadmill will suffice, but while this will get you warm you have not stretched out your muscles.
Failure to warm-up properly will increase your risk of injury, which will derail your gym efforts.
Perhaps a warm-up with dynamic stretching would be a better option.
#7: Hogging The Equipment
Most gyms will have plenty of free weights and machines available for its members, but this does not mean that you can hog them for hours at a time.
If possible you should complete your reps and sets in a reasonable time, and allow people to “work in” if you are going to be using the equipment for a long time.
#8: Chatting To Everyone
Just because you want to chat to everyone does not mean that they want to talk to you.
Believe it or not, but many people visit the gym to work out, not to socialise. So you have to respect this.
Many people will be polite and chat, but they are probably annoyed that you are stopping them from working out.
If you need any help or advice, perhaps it is best to ask a member of staff instead of bothering the other paying members.
#9: Sweating Over Everything
Yes, if you are training hard then you are going to be sweating. This is okay.
What isn’t okay is leaving this sweat all over the machines and equipment that you are using for other people to clean up after you.
Always take a towel to the gym, and make sure to wipe down after yourself. Some gyms have antibacterial sprays available too, so make you use that too.
#10: Screaming While Lifting
It is acceptable to let out a little grunt while lifting a heavy weight, but anything more than that is just being done for attention.
If you are screaming and distracting people while you are lifting then you should just stop. The same goes for throwing the weights needlessly onto the gym floor.
#11: Taking Endless Selfies
Nowadays it seems as though many gym members spend most of their time taking selfies in the gym rather than working out.
While the odd pic or video to check on your form is acceptable if you are spending the majority of your time snapping pics then perhaps it is time to reassess your priorities.
If you avoid making the above gym mistakes you won’t annoy your fellow gym-goers.
Make sure you respect both the gym and those who go there. Focus on your training and start to see the results you wish for.