Help at the gym?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 17, 2008 9:09 PM GMT
    I'm wondering how some of you respond to others who are using poor form when working out in your vicinity? If you see someone doing something that is either useless or potentially harmful, do you step in and offer advice or ignore it? Likewise, if someone comes to you to offer advice on form and so on, do you genuinely take the advice or tell them to mind their own? I ask because I see lots of poor form going on all the time and people seem reluctant to help each other---is this a North American thing or what?

    Any thoughts appreciated! icon_smile.gif
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    Mar 17, 2008 9:17 PM GMT
    Jackal69 saidI'm wondering how some of you respond to others who are using poor form when working out in your vicinity? If you see someone doing something that is either useless or potentially harmful, do you step in and offer advice or ignore it? Likewise, if someone comes to you to offer advice on form and so on, do you genuinely take the advice or tell them to mind their own? I ask because I see lots of poor form going on all the time and people seem reluctant to help each other---is this a North American thing or what?

    Any thoughts appreciated! icon_smile.gif


    nah its universal. It depends if you can tell they are a newbie then sometimes a frineldy chat and then say something. If they are a regular best to but out, or say something like thats an interesting style does that offer something extra? then duck icon_lol.gif
  • TexanMan82

    Posts: 893

    Mar 17, 2008 9:19 PM GMT
    Say nothing unless asked for help. No one has ever tried to offer advice to me, but I would tell them to mind their own business. Tactfully, of course.
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    Mar 17, 2008 10:47 PM GMT
    Everyone has different theories on working out and what's effective. What you think is poor form might be perfect form for them. If you do want to approach them about it, I would try from an educational point of view. Ask them why they do it that way.

    I don't think in any situation, unless it puts you or other patrons in physical harm should you say something. If you are really worried, you could talk to a trainer or gym staff and maybe they would talk to the person.

    I have only approached someone once because they were using a pec machine wrong, it was set for Deltoids and she looked fairly new to the gym. So I showed her how to set the machine for pecs.
  • drakutis

    Posts: 586

    Mar 17, 2008 10:48 PM GMT
    I love it when a well built guy gives me advice! I welcome it.
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    Mar 17, 2008 11:04 PM GMT
    Generally I don't, unless I see someone doing a power movement (like a squat or deadlift) in such a way that they could potentially injure themselves. Unfortunately, I see this quite a bit - squats and deadlifts are the most common movements that are done with poor form.

    I try not to sound like a know-it-all, but I know from experience that poorly done deadlifts or squats can sideline you. I figure maybe someone can benefit from my experience...:-)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 18, 2008 12:04 AM GMT
    Yeah, that's kind of a tough call. Like it was mentioned before, sometimes the form may seem incorrect to you, but for them it's just fine. Maybe they have an injury, limit of range of motion, whatever. If someone asks me about something, I'll gladly answer their question, but at my work it's a little tricky.

    I work at a fitness facility for the university here in Chicago at UIC (stop by if you're in town; it's really pretty!), and I know a good deal of the patrons that come in. They see me working out there, and often mistake me for a personal trainer because of my working knowledge and able to explain without the technical jargon how things are done. I have to be cautious when I give advice at work because if they injure themselves after something I told him or her how or what to do, it would be me and our facility assuming responsibility, and from a legal point of view, this is not good. I have to refer them to a personal trainer for more info, but I always follow up with the points of common sense:

    What may work for me, might not work for you. Every body is different and responds in different ways.

    Do your research. There's tons of information out there on the internet. It's just a matter of being well informed.

    Experiment. Something may look fun or good or whatever, but you won't find out until you actually....you know, do it?

    Listen to your body. It's the best judge of whether or not something is right for you. No pain does not necessarily equate to no gain.

    No one knows all the answers. There are new things developing every day, but keeping informed will let you make the right decisions for you.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 18, 2008 12:22 AM GMT
    If it's obvious the person doesn't know what they're doing, and they're skinnier then I am, I'll try to offer help.

    The few times I've offered, they've been really thankful, and actually came up a few times to get instructions on different machines.
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    Mar 18, 2008 12:37 AM GMT
    I generally wait until they aren't looking and then take the weights away from them and hide them in the yoga room.

    If they ask me about it, I pretend I only speak serbo-croatian and mumble something about "blah-nacght, ta drght" then I make a really loud high pitched keening sound, until they go away.

    That, or I just say "Hey, you're doing that wrong."
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Mar 18, 2008 2:04 AM GMT
    This is something I think you need to play by ear. I rarely say anything, but if a person looks totally out of place and is doing something clearly incorrectly, I will say something. No one's seemed annoyed yet, but I'm guessing it's because I a) only say something to complete newbies and b) have a lot of experience teaching complete beginners a number of things, so I know how to approach in a non-threatening, non-condescending way. I definitely appreciated a couple of people who took the time to give me a few tips early on, but I didn't appreciate one rather full of himself jerk who rudely told me to do something in a way that even I knew was clearly wrong. If you can manage to say something along the lines of "Excuse me, I couldn't help but notice the way you were doing (insert exercise), and I'm concerned you might hurt yourself. Would you like a few tips?" in a way that a brutally honest friend/family member says is friendly and not condescending, you're fine. Just remember to go along with their answer--if they don't want the tips, just walk away.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Mar 18, 2008 10:28 AM GMT
    MSU is right...
    you need to judge it for yourself
    I usually don't say anything because it usually falls on deaf ears
    but if somebody is obviously struggling or is having a hard time I'll step in
    ...also depends on if a guy's cute or not
    Then I'll come to his rescue icon_wink.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 18, 2008 10:41 AM GMT
    I help when a person is totally stuck (when he's realized too late that he's doing too much weight) or when someone's about to do something dangerous that might hurt them. I come in, do my thing and then move on usually without saying much if anything to the person. Makes me feel like supermanicon_biggrin.gif
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    Mar 18, 2008 10:55 AM GMT
    I'm an amatuer in the gym and I'm usually too busy trying to figure out what I'm doing in the gym to even notice others when they work out. I might sound like a prick but honestly if I saw someone doing something wrong in the gym I would probably say nothing unless it was life threatening to the person or to myself. I don't feel knowledgeable or comfortable enough to correct someone when they are working out even if I am right (or feel I am).

    If I am doing something wrong or if someone just wants to give me advice on how to do something better then I'd take it with an open-mind. If someone asked for my advice then I'd give as much help as I possibly could. If either scenerios happened I'd use the opportunity to see if the person had a work out bud and if not then I'd ask if they wanted to work out together. It's always nice to have a workout bud wwho wants to achieve the same goals as you.

    I wouldn't generalize it and say it's a North American thing. People have to be comfortable with themsleves before openly giving advice and some people don't like taking advice from others nor do they like giving it. Since you asked the question, Jackal69, do you give advice or help others out when you see something wrong and vice versa? I ask out of curiosity and not hostility.
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    Mar 18, 2008 12:39 PM GMT
    I take the same attitude at the gym that I do in life. I'm not getting involved. Its sad that there are people in the gym who are there and don't know what they are doing. There are tons of resources for people to educate themselves on how to properly lift and exercise. I taught myself!

    My favorite is when I see people doing reps at light speed! I wonder if they realize that they are probably hurting themselves!
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    Mar 18, 2008 1:01 PM GMT
    If a guy is cute enough, and let's say he's doing bench presses, then I might go over and spot him - especially if I'm working out commando that day. If the guy looks up my shorts - all to the good!
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    Mar 18, 2008 1:16 PM GMT
    Jockbod! Get out of my brain! I do the same thing, lol.
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    Mar 18, 2008 1:35 PM GMT
    Tommysguns, you can feel free to come up from Tucson and spot me any time at all, man!
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    Mar 18, 2008 4:13 PM GMT
    tommysguns2000 saidI generally wait until they aren't looking and then take the weights away from them and hide them in the yoga room.

    If they ask me about it, I pretend I only speak serbo-croatian and mumble something about "blah-nacght, ta drght" then I make a really loud high pitched keening sound, until they go away.

    That, or I just say "Hey, you're doing that wrong."


    That was funny!

    There have been many times when I've wanted to say something but I'm really not confident enough in my own knowledge of what is appropriate for others when working out. I'm very confident in what I do for myself and include input from personal trainers on what I should be doing but I really feel the advice game is best left to the professionals.

    I will however help others who ask for help if I can.
  • dfrourke

    Posts: 1062

    Mar 18, 2008 4:18 PM GMT

    ...if I am INVITED in to someone elses' workout then yes...as a former trainer I see HORRIBLE form and potentially dangerous activity at the gym...

    so, if someone asks for a spot...I always say "sure, and can I give you a tip as a former trainer"...most people find the approach non-threatening...

    if they are just working out on their own...I don't say anything...and frankly, I would never get my own work out done, if I kept correcting everyone else!

    - David
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 18, 2008 4:37 PM GMT
    Sometimes I see someone potentially harming themselves, but I feel acquard saying something. Then feel bad for not. I look around at the PTs and they notice it as well, but they ignore it. That actually pisses me off because I feel they should be the ones there offering friendly advice. Or do they only do that if you pay them?

    On the other side, I dont know everything I am doing when I am at the gym (which is another reason why I dont feel like its my place to help others) and i would openly offer friendly advice! Im always open for learning new things. If I am doing something wrong and you see me doing it, please feel free to tell me!

    There has only been one occasian when someone did come up to me. I wasnt arching my back properly and he offered me a friendly heads up because he suffered back problems from the same thing. Now I am more aware! Come to think of it, I shoulda offered him a massage.. he was cute.
  • neon4u

    Posts: 1152

    Mar 18, 2008 5:09 PM GMT
    I've seen this girl on a few occasions working her triceps. Her form was all wrong. So yesterday I gave her some pointers. She was very thankful. Now, if I saw a buff guy I probably wouldn't bother since he's conditioned himself to workout that way.
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    Mar 22, 2008 6:14 AM GMT
    I'd be forever indebted to anyone who spoke up and corrected me or gave me advice at the gym if I was unawarely doing something harmful or pointless.

    It's disheartening to read many wouldn't bother.
  • nv7_

    Posts: 1453

    Mar 22, 2008 10:39 AM GMT
    The other side of the coin is the guy who gives you advice and it's wrong. If you don't know what your doing, and someone comes along who "thinks" they're an expert, and tells you how to do it and it's wrong, then what good is that? We've all encountered the phony expert and many aren't aware, or won't admit to themselves they don't know squat.

    I've encountered so many people giving bad advice that any advice given to me would "fall on deaf ears" as someone else said because there are so many things involved in advice. Two of them being real knowledge and ego. Some folks like to think they're experts when they aren't. Now if you suggest a book I should read to improve my workouts, diet, etc, that I would listen to. icon_biggrin.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 22, 2008 5:15 PM GMT
    For being the new guy at the gym, I know everybody wants to be nice but let us know when something is wrong. I know some guys look completely hopeless at the gym, but theres a couple who just need better direction.
  • MattyC0709

    Posts: 1199

    Mar 22, 2008 5:34 PM GMT
    There shouldn't be any reason not to help someone, except if you're extremely shy (like me icon_redface.gif). Of course if the other dude looks like a professional bodybuilder next to you: DO NOT APPROACH!!!, or you'll probably be shoved into a locker! HeeHee!

    On the other I would definately appreciate any help, although I might grumble a bit after you leave, hehe! icon_biggrin.gificon_lol.gificon_razz.gificon_wink.gif