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Fitness Friday: How good is your (gym) etiquette?

*Every week my colleague Ron Kaspriske, Golf Digest Fitness Editor, presents Fitness Friday on the Instruction Blog. This week he reflects on how people act in the gym. Let's hope you don't see yourself below! Look for Weekend Tip tomorrow, and remember to follow me on Twitter: @RogerSchiffman**.

Roger Schiffman

Managing Editor

Golf Digest*


Here's Ron: If there's one thing every golfer knows, it's that you quickly have to learn the game's etiquette or you'll feel out of place. Unfortunately, this attitude doesn't always apply to other endeavors. Never is that more apparent than in public gyms. I recently sent out a survey to several well-respected fitness experts and asked them, under the condition of anonymity,  the most annoying thing they see people doing in the gym. I explained this could be anything from poor etiquette to performing exercises incorrectly. Here are 10 of their responses:

1. THE CELL-PHONE USER: "People doing exercises on their cell phones, what is that? I once saw a lady doing 20-pound leg presses for about 10 minutes while talking on her phone. Then she went to the leg-extension machine and proceeded to do the same."

2. THE GRUNTER: "I realize that sometimes the strain of performing that last rep might make you groan, but if you're grunting after every rep, you're not only looking for attention, you're also annoying."

3. THE DUMBBELL DROPPER: "Not only does it damage the dumbbell and/or the floor, but if the weight is so heavy that you can't put it down without dropping it, you probably shouldn't be lifting it in the first place."

4. THE TREADMILL WALKER:"Unless you're rehabilitating an injured leg or you have the treadmill jacked up on an incline, simply walking on a treadmill is such a waste of time. When flat, the treadmill actually makes you exert less energy than if you were simply walking. Why bother coming to the gym at all?"


5. THE TREADMILL BRACER: "If you have to hold onto the sides or the back of the treadmill (left), then it's moving too fast for you."

6. THE ROCKER: "I know you've seen this guy before. He's the one rocking his body forward and back to gain enough momentum to arm curl heavier weights. He's supposed to be training his biceps, forearms and shoulders, but his torso is doing all the work. The body should be still while performing arm curls."

7. THE SPACE EATER:"It's a sin when a newbie in the gym sets up in one area and stays there the entire time, especially when he or she is reviewing printed workout sheets between exercises. The same person also takes dumbbells off the rack and stands there, doing the exercise instead of moving away from the rack so others can have access to the weights."

8. THE SWEAT MONSTER:"Some people can't help how much they sweat. That's fine. But what they can do is wipe down anything their sweaty bodies touch. Bring a towel. Use it."

9. MR. and MRS. CARDIO:"I call it the death march. Some people camp out on cardio machines for way, way too long. The reason they do it is because it's easy. You'll never see long lines in the free-weights section. Not only do long cardio sessions effectuate a law of diminishing returns in terms of weight loss--the body becomes more efficient--but golf is a power sport. There's no better way to reduce power in an athlete than by breaking down the muscle with long-duration cardio. Ever see a marathon runner? It's better to do high-intensity interval training or no more than 20 minutes of cardio."

10. THE NO PAINER, NO GAINER:"If something hurts, don't do it. Plain and simple. And yet, I see so many people doing movements in the gym that will surely result in injury. Worse, many trainers aren't trained well enough to stop it from happening. Just because you saw some musclehead doing an exercise or saw someone on TV doing it, that doesn't mean it's safe. Form and technique matter, too."

*Ron Kaspriske

Fitness Editor

Golf Digest*