Gym workouts: what not to do

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From the trainer who acts too soon to the gym goer hogging kit so he can perv at women, here are some of the gym crimes that have ruined your session. If you're guilty of any of the following wrongdoings, it's time to rethink what you're doing in the gym.


via email ‘I was attempting a bench press one-rep max and asked one of the gym’s trainers to spot me. I lowered the bar to my chest, then started to push up – but the second I started to struggle and squeeze my rep out, he hauled the bar off me. Devastated!’

Vanity unfair

Rod, via email ‘There’s this guy who hogs the Smith machine and it’s not even because he particularly wants to use it – it’s because it gives him the best vantage point in the mirror while he’s sitting on the bench and banging out endless sets of biceps curls.’

Hacked off

Fred, via Twitter ‘I like a sauna after a workout to help me relax, but every time I go in there are two middle-aged women in there gassing about some nonsense health story they’ve read in the tabloids. It drives me mad! I even told them to buy a copy of MF if they want the facts!’

Slow burn

James, via Twitter ‘I was 
in the weights section of my gym surrounded by about 12 people, not one of whom was doing anything that was in any way beneficial. An example? One was on the adductor machine, another was using the elliptical trainers at a snail’s pace. What a waste of everyone’s time.’

Put it away!

Adam, via Facebook ‘This happens a lot and it drives me mad: when guys leave a load of weight plates on the bar or leg press after their set – and then just walk away and leave it. I reckon I spend more time in the gym taking other people’s weights off the bar than I do actually lifting the weights I want.’

Not a leg to stand on

Joe, former MF deputy editor ‘All right, this wasn’t actually in my gym, or any gym, but that doesn’t lessen the crime. I was getting my hair cut and happened to mention to the barber what I do for a living. He then started explaining how he used to work out a lot and have a really muscly upper body, but that he never trained his legs so he still could wear skinny jeans. I didn’t leave a tip.'

Above your station

Nick, editor 'Benching or squatting serious weight can be a nerve-wracking affair. Getting trapped under a weight, as Danny mentioned above, can be deeply embarrassing and very painful and that's just when you've your own weaknesses to contend with. If someone else messes with you during your reps, the risks increase exponentially. You'd think most guys who lift would know that, so I alway find it odd when you get a dude trying to take weights off the rack you're using as you're actually lifting. Wait 30 seconds or cause a debilitating injury – it's not a hard choice. Don't even get me started on the guy who actually tried to take weight off my bar as I was bench pressing. True story.' 

Sharing is caring

Chris, via Facebook 'I go to the gym at lunchtime and normally only have about 30 minutes to get my workout done. I assume it's the same for a lot of people so when someone approaches me to ask if they can work-in (do their sets in-between mine) I always say yes. As well as being polite it also means you've got someone to help you pile weight onto the bar when it's your turn to lift, which you means you don't waste valuable strength while getting your kit ready. A couple of weeks back I wanted to squat and there was a guy using the rack. I asked him if I could work in, he said no, then when I guilt tripped him he acquiesced but half way through his next set he stopped and walked off in a strop saying I'd ruined his session. Some people!'

What gym crime really annoys you? Let us know in the comments below.

Sam Rider

Sam Rider is an experienced freelance journalist, specialising in health, fitness and wellness. For over a decade he's reported on Olympic Games, CrossFit Games and World Cups, and quizzed luminaries of elite sport, nutrition and strength and conditioning. Sam is also a REPS level 3 qualified personal trainer, online coach and founder of Your Daily Fix. Sam is also Coach’s designated reviewer of massage guns and fitness mirrors.