Gym Etiquette

So the other day I was at the gym working out in the women-only work out room (it was men’s hours for the large work out space) and I saw a woman using one of the machines. It was the lateral pull down one. She was using it completely wrong and I was worried she was going to hurt herself specifically her back. I was ellipticalling away and as I worked out I pondered the best way to approach this woman.

I ended up saying nothing as she left before I had figured out what to say. But what could I have said that wouldn’t have ruffled her feathers? I could have showed her how to use it correctly – but who the heck am I to give advice? I am no trainer, I am just a scrawny sweaty wench who should mind her own business….

What would you have done? What should I have done? What should be done in the future?

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  1. Chav says:

    I have no advice for you. ( shocking, I know). I see the same thing at my gym and usually it’s a guy using the rowing machine the wring way. I am usually doing something elsecwhile I’m seeing this and I don’t say anything. I font know that a guy would appreciate it coming from me. He might. But I’m just not comfortable telling him. Idk. Maybe I should. Msybe you should Just casually. Like ” if you do it this way, your back would dwel better. ” or something like that.

  2. Chav says:

    Why can’t I edit that comment? There are so many mistakes in it!

  3. Nora says:

    Is there gym staff you could point it out to? The staffers at my gym were always willing to show someone how not to get injured.

  4. Mike S. says:

    What do you mean by using it completely wrong? Was she standing on her head and using her feet to pull it down? If she can do that, she probably knows what she is doing. Or was she just pulling it behind her neck? I know the machines warn about that but the risk is slight, especially if she was pulling less weight than the most that she can, and lots of people do that. If it was something that might lead to serious injury (like not having the pin in properly so the weights can suddenly fall jerking the bar onto her head, I’d say something at once, even though I’d expect a rude response. If the worst she will do is pull a muscle, I might quietly mention it to one of the staff.

  5. Mark says:

    It all depends (like most things in life).

    The easy thing to do is to ignore it. The next easiest is to bring it to the attention of one of the staff and ask them to show the person how to use the machine right/safely. That’s part of their job.

    The lateral pulldown can be done in front or in back of the head. I’ve seen experienced people do it both ways. I always do it in front because there is less risk of injury that way (and it just feels better to me).

    In general, if you can guide a person in a very comradely way then go for it, but the minute you sense resistance (as in “who are you to be telling me how to do it”), just back off and continue doing your thing.

  6. T says:

    pointing it out to the gym staff is usually a good, safe bet! There is no judgement or accusations involved. It remains anonomys too!

  7. kisarita says:

    try offering a big long apology before the actual advice… “I don’t really know but…. see I have a history of back problems…. excuse me for mentioning anything….”

  8. kisarita says:

    If its a member of the opposite sex it’s a lot more tricky because they’re likely to think you’re hitting on them

  9. Batya says:

    I agree with Nora and T. In those situations, the staff is supposed to be supervising. If anyone’s injured they’re up a creek, can be sued if it can be proven that they’re negligent in instructing and supervising. They should be observing everyone. If they don’t, then it’s not a good place to be. You should speak to them about it.

  10. shorty says:

    As an ex-personal trainer (i’ve worked in a few gyms), in a gym, there should be gym staff paying attention to clients to ensure safe use of the machine. That being said, i have tried to correct many people only to be ignored, people use the machines the way they want. It is not up to a another client to correct a fellow member. If they take your advice and G-d forbid hurt themselves, there’s a huge liability thing going on there. The best thing to do, would be to point it out to gym staff and hope they are nice enough to correct them.

    Most gyms require that each member go through an orientation to learn how to use the machines. That way the gym knows that each member has seen the proper way at least one time (and yes I admit, it was their way to sell training sessions, it is a business after all).

  11. lady lock and load says:

    When I joined the gym you got three (free) personal training sessions along with your membership. Now they make you pay for it. :(

  12. Ilana says:

    Say, “you know, a trainer once told me that we’re supposed to use the machine this way, because that way can lead to injury. I’m passing it on, FWIW”.

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