Each Thursday/Friday I will post some gym rants that are less instructional/informational, nor specific to training approaches and exercise instruction/selection geared towards the wheelchair lifter. Today I will jump into Part 2 of Gym Douchebags from the perspective of the wheelchair lifter or just a normal human.
There are some people at the gym that are either completely oblivious to Gym Etiquette or just oblivious to basic human decency and consideration towards others. These people are either self-centered, selfish, inconsiderate to others or some combination of all of these. In the world of a Gym I classify these people as Gym Douchebags. These people either dress, do, say or emanate something that is annoying, distracting or inconsiderate to the normal humans at that gym.
In Part 1 I focused on the douchebags that leave their weights and equipment EVERYWHERE!! (As Elaine would say DOUBLE EXCLAMATION)
Today I will address a related category of douchebag but worthy of its own article, the people who do not un-rack their weights. This includes any free-weight bench press, squat rack, smith machine, deadlift bar, curl bar or plate loaded machine. People go to a machine, load up weight and when done leave it for the the next person to un-rack. This is a complete time-waster for other gym members and completely selfish and lazy, ideally you get In, work hard, and get Out of the gym in 50 minutes or less. Spending 10% or more of my time un-racking other peoples' weights really pisses me off.
Bench Press Disclaimer
There is one scenario I will not get too upset about and could actually argue it's fine to leave weights on. For the typical bench press, the height of the bar is fixed so there is really no adjustment to the bar that needs to be made OTHER than adding and removing weights versus a Squat Rack where nearly every person may need to adjust the height of the bar before loading. With the bench press the universal starting weight warmup for men is a 45lb plate on each side for 135lbs starting out. If anybody warms up at a weight greater than that they would still need to start at two 45s. It is also quite likely that a guy who leaves on the 45s on the bench when he is done, already had them on there when he started as well. You must at least strip down the weights to only one 45 on each side, but I will not kill people for this. If you leave any more weight than that, deal is off.
Now if your gym has a lot of women that normally use the bench press (or any "men" that look like they belong on the cast of Vanderpump Rules), you must un-rack all of the weights, no questions asked. If not, you do NOT pass GO and do NOT collect $200. Clean up your shit, don't be an ass.
100lb Plates for Calf Raises
This story occurs at the gym I use to very regularly attend and is among gym experiences that has angered me more than any other. And it didn't have ANY direct effect on me. I also must note that I live in Panama City Beach Florida, which for a long time was the Spring Break capital of the world and this incident happened during one of the Spring Breaks, so no idea where this joker was from. He could be at YOUR gym!
One day I was minding my own business working out on the Bench Press in the outside garage section of my gym and within my view is the Smith Machine where I see a guy I had never seen at the gym before getting set up. He moved the bar to about neck high on him, then went to grab some weights. I was shocked when I saw him grab a 100lb plate! It was quite a struggle for him to get that plate onto the bar, but he finally did. He then proceeded to rack the other side with a 100lb plate in a similar struggle. By the time he actually finished racking the bar I was finishing up my final set on the bench and began un-racking my own weights. At this point I was quite curious as to what he was planning on doing on the smith machine with the 100s and it turns out he was loading up for CALF RAISES!!! I witnessed this as I was just leaving the garage area to go inside and grab a new towel and couldn't help but shake my head at the effort he put forth to load up for such a minor exercise.
Taking my opinion on 100lb plates out of the argument, I have no issue with this guy if he simply puts back his weights. Doing whatever exercise you want, with whatever weight you want is fine with me, as long as you clean up your shit.
I was inside for two to three minutes tops and headed back out to the garage, fully expecting the Smith Machine was going to be taken as this Bozo had looked like he was just getting started. When I got back out to the garage there was nobody at the Smith Machine, just the two 100lb plates. I could not believe it. Not only did this jackass load up the ridiculous 100s on the Smith, he did it for Calf Raises, performed at MOST 3 sets, THEN LEFT!!!
There are just so many layers of Douche here:
- There exists a calf raise machine, right next to all of the HEAVY weighted plates and would be MUCH easier to load the ridiculous 100s as the calf machine loading bar is only a couple of feet off the ground. So right of the bat I had a feeling this guy is a bit of douchebag as why in the hell would you go to all of that trouble to do f-ing calf raises on the damn Smith Machine!
- There are A LOT of women at the gym that use the Smith Machine for various lunges, deep squats and various other leg exercises. I am not a fan of the Smith machine but I do understand why people use it for certain exercises. There are very few women that would have been able to un-rack those 100s from the bar at that height. Women from the CrossFit Games would be challenged to SAFELY un-rack those weights. I'd argue that nobody could safely un-rack those 100s from that height.
- The Smith Machine was now un-usable until somebody un-racked the weights as there was no way I could do it from my chair as the bar was set above my head.
- In a normal scenario where one leaves weight on the bar it is just inconsiderate to others and a waste of their time, in this case its that and than some.
- If you are using the 100s, they should NEVER be racked on a bar that sits above your waist. I personally hate that the 100s are even there as they have been left of bars sitting on the floor for deadlifts in the past, but that does not present the danger to others when un-racking.
The lesson is some people in this world are just douchebags we we must educate these specimens on acceptable human etiquette. This guy had completely vanished by the time I had gotten back out to the garage, and I know because I checked the parking lot. Which leads me to believe I was being too generous in stating he did 2-3 sets, he probably just did the one and took off. If you are able to catch anyone in a similar scenario CALL THEM OUT! If someone is strong enough to Rack the weights, they are strong enough to Un-Rack the weights. Make them aware of their selfishness so hopefully they become just a tad more self aware, making the gym-world a better place for all of us.