Hive Health Media

To Speak Up Or Not, THAT Is The Question

Gym Rat Tank TopGym etiquette seems to be big in my world. I cross paths with all walks of life during my time. Everyone: No-neck gym rats, jazzercisers, sweat-hogs, the how-do-I-lookers, ear-piercing grunters and everything in between. People just amaze me some times. Lately I’ve been noticing the stupid-human-tricksters running rampid.

Oh c’mon. You know the type. They are normally a novice exercise goer’ who sees a great exercise on TV, or reads one of their ‘muscle’ magazines, or catches a YouTube video with their favorite professional hero/athlete doing some sort of super-human, super-tough, exercise regime that is GUARANTEED to make them bigger, stronger and faster – just like their hero. The exercise isn’t really my beef. It’s the way the exercise is performed that just slays me. For some strange reason these ‘little engine’s that could’ think they can perform an advanced movement without some sort of practice, preparation or research in to the why/what/ when/ where and how of the total movement. They pick a weight too heavy, a height too high, and attempt the impossible without any regards for personal or tertiary safety.

The movement is done half-way, the weights are slamming, the rack is rattling, and in the end I’m pretty sure they hurt some portion of their body. All because so-and-so said it works. I know, I know. The novice (and most experienced gym goer’s) think that just because so-and-so looks good, with that chiseled body, that they MUST know what they are talking about.  The same habit applies to the ‘big guy’ in the gym barking out advice to everyone because their not ‘lifting right’.


So the point of my story….

I wanted to ask a question. When do you speak up? When do you the laymen (or professional) tap the ‘dood’ or ‘doodette’ on the shoulder and intervene? Not only WHEN do you intervene, but HOW. I must admit, I lack the tact and some how always come across as an arrogant self-centered ‘know-it-all’. Every time I’ve tried to ‘help’ someone, it ends up being this uncomfortable exchange of testosterone or an eerie presence of just plain ole ‘weird’.

I have nothing but good intentions, and in the end I just want to convey the safety of their movement. The safety and the effectiveness of their actions. I mean lets be serious here. I don’t think there is anyone who attends the gym and exercises that wants to waste their time? Am I right?

So readers, at what point do you politely offer kind-hearted advice without stepping on anyone’s toes?

I am a Certified Athletic Trainer and Registered Nurse trying to stay fit on the journey. Visit my blog for more of my fitness tips, My Strong Medicine.


  1. ChrisGross

    June 10, 2012 at 4:58 am

    Seven words, join a cross fit gym

  2. Jerry

    September 11, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    I have no problem speaking up if I think something is dangerous.. Otherwise I mind my business. I’m not to concerned about dirty looks and such I just like to stay in my zone. The gyms I go to no longer have staff on the floor watching out for newbies, guess that’s what happens when they have to compete with $10 month gyms..

  3. Lance

    September 11, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    I never say anything unless asked.I don’t want to be that guy who points out flaws in the gym. Come to think about it, would never get to workout at all. My biggest annoyance is when a guy is doing curls that are way to heavy. The 150lb guy curling 45lbs dumbbells . Using his back and momentum to get the weight up. Drives me nuts.

  4. [email protected]

    September 25, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Another good reason for not going to the gym lol
    If you think someone is going to hurt themselves aren’t there personal trainiers around (we have them in gyms here in Oz) who you could speak to cos maybe it would come better from them? Unless you are the trainer and can gently speak to them yourself.

  5. Jay

    August 27, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    @Sean, I guess we didn’t get Doug’s input. I hear he’s touring with Hoobastank right now, so he’s probably busy. ;)

    @Menshealth99, Zumba seems really popular lately. Someone wrote a guest post about it on my blog a few months ago.

  6. menshealth99

    August 27, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    You can’t be afraid to speak up, as you, the other person or both can get hurt. I take Zumba a few times a week at my local YMCA. The class is so popular that they would get 8o people in a room designed for 65. Stragglers would come in 10 to 20 mins late, and crowd others space. The instructor posted signs that no one would be allowed 10 mins after the class started.

    Some lady came in late and crowded my space, which not only made it harder for me to do the class, it was rude. I asked her nicely to move a few feet over, and this b%@!? gave me a look and rude comment…luckily I haven’t seen her since. Main point here is that I spoke up for the safety of everyone in the class.

    • Sean Dent

      August 28, 2010 at 6:42 am

      Wow – I could only imagine the craziness in that room.

  7. Sean Dent

    August 26, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    @Verna Thanks for the tip. I’ll definitely keep that in mind.

    @ Jarret I’m pretty sure Doug and I have seen this just a few times (who hasn’t?!). And- uh no, not a new technique. Heh heh.

  8. Jarret Morrow

    August 26, 2010 at 11:45 am

    I have to agree with Verna that I usually won’t say anything unless I think someone’s going to hurt themselves.

    Somewhat unrelated, but maybe Sean or Doug can answer this one, since I’m not a trainer. Ever notice some guy sitting down to bench press what appears to be way too much weight for the person’s size. Then they bang out 10 reps, except the reps are maybe 2 inches in each direction. Is that a new technique, lol?

    • Dan Daly Jr, CSCS

      September 26, 2010 at 3:16 pm


      There are benching techniques like board presses, overloading the movement through a shortened range of motion, and heavy isometric holds. More than likely, if you aren’t at WestSide Barbell, you re dealing with a napoleon complex, too much weight and terrible form!

      • Jarret Morrow

        September 26, 2010 at 10:07 pm

        Dan, great to see you stop by here. Yeah, I don’t think that the people I’ve seen do this are utilizing any of the techniques that you’ve mentioned.

  9. verna

    August 26, 2010 at 8:58 am

    I usually do not step in unless I think they are actually going to hurt themselves or it seems like a really stupid and useless move. And then I attempt to ask them politely why they are doing whatever they’re doing in that manner (in case they actually have a good reason)… and then explain why it is a stupid or dangerous move.

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